Is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ More ‘Star Wars’ than ‘Avengers’?

Considered by some to be one of the riskiest movies to date based on Marvel Comics characters, Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel Studios recently unveiled the first trailer for this summer's Guardians of the Galaxy. Premiering during ABC's "Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel" (which makes sense, as ABC is owned by Disney), the trailer gave us our first official look at the outer-space adventure in action.

Featuring a rag-tag group of adventurers fighting against a powerful adversary on distant worlds, the film takes place in the same shared universe as the other Marvel films, but has very little direct connection to them (other than the primary villain working for the same Big Bad that was behind the invasion in The Avengers.) In fact, comparisons might be easier to draw against another Disney property that will be hitting theaters again in 2015: the "Star Wars" saga.

They call themselves the 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Unlike Iron Man, Captain America, and some of the other headliners from The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy aren't exactly household names. While the team was originally created in 1968, the film focuses on the modern lineup that was introduced in 2008. With two green people, a walking tree, a talking raccoon, and Chris Pratt, Guardians is quite a departure from almost everything else that moviegoers have been exposed to in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.

Hooked on a feeling
Though only so much information about a film can be conveyed in a 2 1/2 minute trailer, the scenes used in this first look at the setting and characters did a lot to express a certain tone. Chris Pratt's Peter Quill character at times seems to evoke hints of Harrison Ford's Han Solo (and one scene seems to have a bit of an "Indiana Jones" vibe to it as well.) It makes sense that the film would have a different feel than those that came before, not only because it has a vastly different setting but also because each individual franchise within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe so far has done a good job establishing its own identity. It wouldn't make sense for Peter Quill to essentially be Tony Stark with a talking raccoon sidekick.

One thing that really sets Guardians of the Galaxy apart from the other Marvel films to date is the alien creatures in the cast. Similar to how the original Star Wars gave us a glimpse of a galaxy teeming with non-human life, Guardians features a wide range of alien species ranging from Rocket (the raccoon) and Groot (a sentient tree) to Ronan the Accuser (the blue-skinned primary antagonist of the film.) While Chris Pratt isn't the only actor in the film to appear without makeup, prosthetics, or CGI, humans are clearly not the most common species in the Guardians' galaxy.

Is Guardians of the Galaxy the new Star Wars?
If Guardians of the Galaxy is successful, not only will it show that Marvel Studios can succeed with riskier films (which could be a good thing, since it would encourage the studio to take more chances in the future), it will also give audiences a fun deep-space adventure to tide them over until the next "Star Wars" film arrives in 2015. That said, a similar setting doesn't guarantee a similar film.

Guardians of the Galaxy is likely part of a larger plan for the Marvel cinematic universe, one that may not see its culmination until well into "Phase 3" of the universe initiative. The Guardians team is confirmed not to appear in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, so the upcoming film (and the likely Phase 3 sequel) are likely setting the stage for an upcoming showdown with Thanos (the aforementioned Big Bad) in the third "Avengers" film. This would make sense, since the comic miniseries that the Thanos plot is hinting at featured a battle against the villain in space.

What about the box office?
At the end of the day, Guardians of the Galaxy is being released not just to build on this cinematic universe, but to make money for the studio. It seems like a risk because these aren't standard A-list characters, and it lacks a direct connection to the current slate of Marvel films. But there's a good chance that it will be profitable for Disney.

Association with the Marvel Studios name will draw in some fans, and fans of the comic (which has been prominently positioned in Marvel Comics' "Marvel Now!" and "All New Marvel Now!" initiatives) will also be likely to show up. Add in a marketing campaign that's just starting and the ability to attract genre fans who are hoping for a fun film with deep space action and there's a good chance that the film will end up being another Marvel hit.

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Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (1)

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  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 9:58 AM, JustAGuyNamedJoe wrote:

    Are you kidding? GotG is going to be more Star Wars than the last 3 Star Wars movies than Lucas hurled up on us! Action, adventure and a sense of humor not seen in a space epic since, well, the original Star Wars. August 1st cannot get here soon enough.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 10:32 AM, tslghtr wrote:

    There is an old saying: "familiarity breed contempt". I applaud Marvel for taking a risk with Guardians, the DC franchise, has really only had success with Batman and Superman, thusly limited to venture beyond those titles. With the intense story lines of the Marvel movie titles, it is good to have a Marvel movie, that appears to have a major fun factor.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 12:10 PM, 69camaross wrote:

    This looked good. Kinda reminds me of the tone in Firefly/Serenity. . . That should make it a hit, and it's got Zoe Saldana in it, who looks amazing in any color. I'd watch it just for that.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 1:15 PM, trueLuminus wrote:

    "Billboard is reporting that the numbers for 'Hooked on a Feeling' (Blue Swede) have went up because of the Guardians Of The Galaxy Trailer that aired on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Feb 18 and the song has sold more than 2,000 downloads on Feb 19 Wednesday.It went up to 700% in daily sales, industry sources say. In the week before they said the song sold a negligible figures."

    Source: comicbookmovie.com

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 2:22 PM, LAB43 wrote:

    I'm so ready for something a little weird from Marvel. Can't wait to see how they do Ronan the Accuser. Machine gun-totin' raccoon - bring it on and the tie-in to Thanos!

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 3:20 PM, samilcare wrote:

    The trailer does look like scenes from Jabba's layer and that bar in Tattoine.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 3:58 PM, msorrentino wrote:

    This is what I've suspected all along, GotG will be more Star Wars than any other movie to date. Personally, I think that after people see this movie Disney/Lucasfilm will be wishing they had put James Gunn in the directors seat for Star Wars Episode VII. As for J.J. Abrams, I have some advice for him if he really wants to make a good Star Wars movie don't have Luke, Leia, Han, etc. (or anyone named Skywalker or Solo for that matter) in the movie unless it adds significant value to the story. Otherwise it's just pandering to a small group of Star Wars fans who think that you can't have a Star Wars story without someone named Skywalker or Solo. I would personally like to see all new characters for SWVII new Jedi, Sith, Mandolorians, etc.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2014, at 6:54 PM, alexubel989 wrote:

    @msorrentino

    Well since its long since been confirmed that Mark, Carey, and Harrison have all signed on, then you're out of luck.

    Though my understanding is that they are going to focus on Han & Leia's twins as well as Luke's daughter. So we'll have to see how it turns out.

    I think JJ will do the Star Wars franchise justice, unlike its creator George Lucas who just wanted to continue tweaking the movies until he changed the very history of the original trilogy.

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2014, at 1:05 AM, JCWilkerson wrote:

    @alexubel989

    Actually, no one has been signed on officially yet, not even Hamill, Fisher, and Ford. All casting has so far is speculation and rumor.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 10:51 PM, ToddPolt wrote:

    I got the vibe that this is GHOSTBUSTERS and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA in outer space.

    Me likey!

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