EXCLUSIVE: As Marvel Studios does each time it looks to land a lead for a superhero franchise, Kevin Feige’s hit-making studio has put together a short list for the lead in its next major project, Guardians Of The Galaxy. Marvel, after reportedly hiring James Gunn as director, has begun the effort to cast Peter Quill, the Guardians leader who is the offspring of a human mother and an alien father. I’m hearing that Marvel is making test deals with a small group of leading men. Here are the names: Zero Dark Thirty‘s Joel Edgerton, Boardwalk Empire‘s Jack Huston, Cloud Atlas‘ Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace (who has roles in both Lincoln and The Hobbit), and Eddie Redmayne from Les Miserables.
I’ve confirmed all of them are in contention but can’t say definitively that this list is all-inclusive as I’ve also heard of interest from or in Garrett Hedlund, James Marsden (he already played Cyclops in X-Men, but then again Chris Evans played Fantastic Four‘s Human Torch before landing Captain America) and Edgerton’s Animal Kingdom co-star Sullivan Stapleton. We’ll stay tuned, but this certainly means that Marvel and Disney are serious about launching new superhero franchises.
Guardians Of The Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Comics way back in 1969 but didn’t get its own series until the 1990s. Quill leads a group of alien superheros who team to protect the solar system from an evil alien race. The good guys are from the future, and another dimension. In the comics, the Guardians worked with The Avengers, so there should be opportunities to use Marvel’s big franchises to help launch the new one. That gives Disney a deep space companion to its plans to resuscitate Star Wars.