GALAXY GUIDE #2: Who Should Direct The ‘Guardians’ Movie?

Last week in Galaxy Guide, we introduced you to the Guardians of the Galaxy, the cosmic superhero team that’s next on the slate of Marvel Studios’ big screen franchises.

We’ve gotten some information about the film — a title, a potential cast of characters, and concept art. But one key aspect of any film has yet to be revealed — who will direct this outer space epic? The director is a crucial part of any filmed endeavor; the choice can make or break a project, playing a big role in the film’s overall quality and ultimately, its success at the box office.

With that in mind, we’re going to examine five possibilities — directors who could take the concept of the Guardians from the printed page and turn it into a movie even those uninitiated to the comic can enjoy.

Luc Besson
If you’ve seen “The Fifth Element” (and what self-respecting space opera fan hasn’t?) you know that Luc Besson can do outer space adventure with a touch of comedy. Reports say that’s just what Marvel Studios is looking for — not surprising, given that the Guardians consist of everything from deadly intergalactic assassins to characters that at first glance might seem more at home in a Saturday morning cartoon. You need a deft touch and a certain amount of range to handle that material, and Besson has proven he has just that, with his skills also extending to the more serious, action-intensive side in his cult classic, “The Professional.”

Barry Sonnenfeld
Sonnenfeld has the distinction of already having experience directing a Marvel Comics movie — okay, technically it’s a movie based on a comic property bought by Marvel Comics, but when that movie is “Men In Black,” it has direct relevance in talking about a team charged with fighting threats to the galaxy. Like Besson, Sonnenfeld brings the comedic touch as well, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has plenty of experience directing films with computer-generated creatures. Would Marvel be willing to meet Sonnenfeld’s asking price? If they’re looking to build a lasting franchise, they may be willing to shell out for top-flight, proven talent.

Brad Bird
Most people know Brad Bird from his animated features, such “The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant,” both of which exhibit a grasp of key elements that will be necessary to making a “Guardians” movie work, not the least of which is the computer animation that will be necessary for the Guardians’ less human characters. “The Incredibles,” of course, was a critically and commercially successful tale of a family of superheroes not dissimilar to the Fantastic Four, Marvel’s first cosmic family. “The Iron Giant,” on the other hand, shows Bird’s grasp of the wider science fiction genre, and the ability to make it connect with people on an emotional level, a key concern for a concept like the Guardians, which can be expected to spend much if not all of its time away from Earth. There could be some concern, after fellow animation vet Andrew Stanton’s poorly received live action debut with “John Carter,” in letting another animation director try their hand at a live action franchise. However, Bird has already proved he can handle himself in the live action arena with last year’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” which also demonstrated that he can bring the hardcore action fans will expect from characters such as Starlord, Drax, and Gamora. If he’s available, this would be a great get for Marvel Studios.

Robert Zemeckis
Zemeckis has long since established himself in film history with classics like the “Back To The Future” trilogy and “Forrest Gump.” More down-to-Earth films like these might not have much bearing on a cosmic adventure, but it’s his more recent experience with performance capture technology that makes him an intriguing possibility for a Guardians movie, where it could be put to use in portraying characters like Rocket Raccoon and Groot in a more realistic manner. The one caveat is that as compelling as such technology may be, Zemeckis has to date employed it to mixed results, having produced the critically and commercially unsuccessful “Mars Needs Moms,” which led to Disney shutting down their jointly run animation facility, ImageMovers Digital. Still, “Guardians” is a film which could make use of that technology more selectively, if Disney is willing to give it another shot.

James Cameron
Hey, we’re entitled to at least one fantasy pick, right? As unlikely as this choice may be given Cameron’s busy schedule and undoubtedly staggering asking price, who wouldn’t want to see the director of “Aliens” and “Avatar” put his visual magic to work at creating an environment for the debut Marvel cosmic film? The man behind the Na’vi could certainly make an anthropomorphic raccoon and giant tree person credible on-screen, and if the team were to run into some trouble from the monstrous hordes of Annihilus, we’re pretty sure Cameron’s rendition of those aliens would scare the bejeezus out of us. Alas, this is a matchup unlikely ever to happen, but still, fans can dream.

Who would you like to see direct the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!