With the launch of the 'Guardians' just around the corner I thought it apt to take a look into what the existence of this galactic team of misfits means for the MCU at large. Come take a look!

Over the last few years Marvel has crafted an intricate, entertaining and generally adored universe by weaving together seemingly unrelated properties culminating in the global phenomenon “Marvel’s The Avengers”. What started with Iron Man and the Hulk has grown to include other notable heroes Captain America and the god of thunder, Thor himself. Even lesser known characters like the Black Widow or Falcon are getting on screen incarnations. Thus far phase 2 of Marvel’s cinematic universe has opted to play it safe, offering us follow-ups to its established franchises. But that is all about to change with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Guardians are a little known commodity even in the realm of the comic aficionados marking this film venture as possibly the riskiest move Marvel Studios have made to date. Yet if numbers are anything to go by, any doubts people had about Marvel’s future after GotG should be long gone. The initial trailer for the summer blockbuster hit recently to an overwhelmingly positive response. People are ready for some Rocket Raccoon!

With the introduction of the Guardians this summer, the MCU is going to get a lot bigger. But not only does it open up the entire cosmic side of the universe it allows Marvel to take more risks and try new things. If the trailer is anything to go by fans will be subject to a tone not yet tapped by a prior MCU film. Audiences seem to be getting a darker, more “in your face” sense of humor than previously seen. Here are a few things GotG will bring to the table aside from a gun toting raccoon and a sentient tree man.

- The cosmic side of the universe will be bust wide open!
- Seemingly niche or outlandish properties all get a second look
- Proves that not all heroes in the MCU have to members of the Avengers

With Guardians of the Galaxy we don’t only get Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket and Groot (played by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively), we get an entire cosmos of opportunities along with them. GotG ventures to open up the literal Marvel universe. Aliens and other extraterrestrial life were hinted at in “The Avengers” but Guardians plans to bring them to the forefront. Races such as the Kree, Skrulls or Sakaaran are all ripe for adaptation and if Guardians can make its money back (I’m betting it does) I’m sure they won’t be far behind.

We will already be getting our first look at cosmic heavy weight. Ronan the Accuser in the upcoming august release and his appearance implies more to come. Usually with the Kree judge is the Supreme Intelligence, a giant disembodied head that holds all of the collective knowledge of the Kree people throughout their existence. Ronan’s presence could also be a precursor to the original Captain Mar-Vell, a Kree scientist sent to earth to gather secrets for the Kree Empire. He did eventually side with humanity and even gave Carol Danvers (Ms/Capt. Marvel) her eventual power set. The point here is that the settings, characters and themes brought up in this film carry further implication into the cosmic side of the MCU. We already have Thanos. We already have Ronan. Who’s to say we won’t be seeing other big names in the near future. I’m holding out for Gladiator of the Shi’ar myself and everyone is waiting on Adam Warlock to show up. There is also one more character audiences have been waiting to make a return…

Fans have been clamoring for a Hulk sequel ever since he stole the show in “The Avengers”. Assuming the success of GotG, one of the most beloved Hulk/Avengers story lines may be on the table; Planet Hulk. While rumors were going around earlier last year that this was the direction Marvel was headed Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon (the mind behind said Avengers) quickly debunked the speculation. They claimed that the film would be too CGI heavy and “out there” for audiences to sink into. Well, if people can accept a walking tree and maniacal raccoon I think they can suspend belief a little longer for a giant green gladiator (though I can understand the CGI argument). Properties that were considered too niche or “out there” will immediately be put back on the table. “Guardians of the Galaxy” not only gives us a new, fresh take on the superhero genre but opens up possibilities for even further risk taking.

If Marvel truly has been hesitant to get a female led hero off the ground the success of Guardians will be the push they need to kick it in to high gear. Black Panther not white enough? Well neither were Drax, Gamora, Rocket or Groot! You can bet Marvel will be willing to take the risk after they find a place in the public’s heart.

Finally, “Guardians of the Galaxy” proves what I always thought to be true but many have questioned, not all heroes in the MCU have to be a part of the Avengers. Some people were already worried at the number of heroes crammed into the first Avengers (6), and with more properties getting a shot at stardom those worries are only growing. What GotG shows us is that there is a place for these heroes outsider of the massive crossover. If the Guardians can stand on their own it will pave the way for lesser know characters to not only make the jump to the big screen but stand on their own without having to rely on Iron Man or Thor.

Apparently Marvel has been having trouble finding a place for Dr. Strange on the team, I say give him a solo film and keep him off the Avengers until the time is right. Not every hero should be a member, which will quickly lead to over crowding and just make things more complicated for the fan base. Let some characters breathe on their own. Also, not all characters fit with the direction Marvel seems to be headed. Thanos, a murderous alien psychopath obsessed with death, seems to be the big bad at the end of the rainbow. A character like Strange that is steeped in magic and monsters hardly meshes well with an intergalactic serial killer.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” invites audiences to a whole new world, as well as open the door for other obscure properties. The Marvel Studios film hits theatres August 1st, 2014.

Check back for all things Guardians!
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