Those following Marvel Studios closely know that The Avengers ended what the studio calls Phase I. Essentially, that was a slow build toward The Avengers using solo films for each Avenger. As you might imagine, Phase II is now in the works, and it will culminate in The Avengers 2, a movie that will almost certainly be released on May 1, 2015.
So what builds to Phase II? Well, we knowIron Man 3 arrives next summer, Thor 2 has long been in the works for the following November and Captain America 2 was recently announced for the following April in 2014. Oh, and then there's this "Unannounced Marvel Studios Film" due May 16, 2014.
We've heard rumors about Edgar Wright's Ant-Man being as close as its ever been, and that actors have been courted to star in The Black Panther. Even Dr. Strange has a script in the works. Well, Latino Review, which tends to have some reliable connections at Marvel, says Guardians of the Galaxy has won the unannounced date. Marvel is expected to keep mum on the news until Comic-Con next month.
The rumor (we still have to consider it such) comes just a couple days after Bleeding Cool noticed Marvel was snatching up several trademarks related to Guardians of the Galaxy consumer products and the like.
The Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in 1969 but did not receive their own self-titled comic until the '90s. "Guardians" was then reinvented in 2008 with a new/modified team of heroes. When the film was first announced, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said it would be based on the 2008 lineup, which makes sense given that the film would need to appeal to modern audiences, specifically kids.
So what makes Latino Review so sure? Well, there are a lot of convincing points to note. The biggest, however, is Thanos, the menacing face that appeared at the end of The Avengers. The Guardians fought Thanos in a series of issues called The Thanos Imperative. This snippet from the wikipedia page says it all:
Star-Lord, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, and Bug later reform the Guardians to aid the Avengers in a battle against Thanos.
As the last film in Phase II prior to The Avengers 2, "Guardians" would help connect the Marvel universe as we know it to the one that includes the Guardians of the Galaxy. LR says Thanos will indeed appear in the film and suggests that so will Nova, a popular, long-running Marvel hero that assists the Guardians in the recent comics.
Although it makes sense as LR parses it out, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax and all the other Guardians aren't exactly on anyone's radar except serious comic fans. Plus, their universe is completely off-Earth, and part of what audiences love about superhero films these days is that they are more grounded. Green Lantern didn't turn out so hot for DC Comics.
In order to make Guardians of the Galaxy a hit, Marvel will have to spend a long time building a consumer base. The comics (including an appareance in Avengers Assemble #4 just this month), toys and other merchandise will be imperative to the film's success.
If this holds true come Comic-Con, which seems the best time for such a comics-intensive announcement, The Avengers 2 will have so much going on your eyes will want to leave your skull. At this point, however, I say bring it on.