The first trailer for Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" has pretty much the entire Internet talking about what looks like the strangest comic book movie ever. The cosmic team of antiheroes is the Marvel's least known headliners for a movie so far, but who could really say "no" to a talking, gun-toting raccoon?
If you've seen the trailer but are a little fuzzy about who everyone is and what they're all doing together, I've compiled this rundown of the characters we see in the trailer, along with brief explanations of what they're best known for in the comics.
"Parks and Recreation" scene stealer Chris Pratt makes his much deserved jump to leading man in a role that plays more to his comedic strengths than the character source material. In the comic books, Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord is the son of a human woman and an alien (albeit human-looking) father, and the formation of the Guardians of the Galaxy team is his idea after blaming himself for the near-universal takeover by upcoming "Avengers" villain Ultron in the storyline "Annihilation: Conquest."
You can't really blame someone for daddy issues when her adoptive father is Thanos, a cosmically powered madman who has romantic obsession with the physical embodiment of death. You'd be a little messed up too. But Gamora has channeled her contempt for dear old dad into an outlet of swordsmanship and murder. In the film version, she's played by experienced alien thespian Zoe Saldana.
First of all, don't call him a raccoon. That's probably the easiest way to tick off one of Marvel's most bizarre creations. Originally dreamt up during a more psychedelic era of Marvel Comics, Rocket is the result of a cruel lab experiment that imbued the furry creature with a hyper-intelligent mind finely tuned for militaristic strategy and a penchant for firepower. Director James Gunn has often expressed his personal love for Rocket and claims that the character, as voiced by Bradley Cooper, is the heart of "Guardians of the Galaxy."
Drax the Destroyer
Gamora isn't the only member of the Guardians who has some issues with Thanos. Before he was called Drax the Destroyer, the muscly green fighting machine you saw in the lineup was a human named Arthur Douglas, who was killed by Thanos alongside his wife and daughter in the villain's very first appearance in Marvel Comics. Eventually, Thanos' granddaddy, the eternal Kronos, brought Douglas back to life, equipping him with a strong, green body and the sole purpose of killing the madman.
There's a lot to say about the walking, talking tree, but he won't be the person to tell you. That's because Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel in the film, can only say "I am Groot," but some, including Rocket, can understand the nuances of his speech. Groot claims to be a monarch belonging to a species of which he is the only remaining member. His special abilities include being able to grow at will and regenerate from even the smallest sliver of himself.
The world met this eternal obsessive hoarder back during the mid-credits tease in "Thor: The Dark World." As we learned in that movie, the Collector is now in possession of the Aether, one of five Infinity Stones, powerful artifacts that give the wielder the power of a god. During Benecio del Toro's cameo, the Collector intimates that he's looking to gather the remaining stones, suggesting that they will be at at the heart of the story in "Guardians of the Galaxy."
Ronan the Accuser
The main villain of "Guardians of the Galaxy," played by Lee Pace, doesn't factor into the trailer in any big way, but I'd wager that's him holding up Drax during one of the trailer's quick cuts. (Notice the hammer.) Ronan is an official of the Kree alien race who has a brutal understanding of crime and punishment. In the film, he's after the powerful blue orb that Star-Lord has in the trailer.
The baddie we do get to see is the granddaughter of Thanos, the space pirate Nebula, played by Karen Gillan. She aligns herself with Ronan in the quest to take the orb from Star-Lord. In the trailer, she's seen taking a Nova Corps member hostage and generally being a badass.
The tough guy from the beginning of the trailer (who doesn't know who Star-Lord is) is Korath, another member of the Kree, played by Djimon Hounsou. In the comics, he is an ally of Ronan and is a pretty tough dude who knows his way around some serious weaponry.
These guys are the police of the Marvel cosmic universe. In "Annihilation," they were wiped out, except for one corpsman, known only as Nova, one of Marvel's best-known outerspace heroes.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" opens in theaters on August 1.