For anyone skeptical about whether Marvel can successfully translate the Guardians of the Galaxy -- a cosmic super-team that includes a talking raccoon and an extraterrestrial tree monster -- to the big screen, Joss Whedon has two words for you: James Gunn.
"James is what makes me think it will work," The Avengers director told MTV News at the Toronto International Film Festival. "I myself was sort of like, 'Well, I liked Rocket Raccoon as a kid, but I'm not sure how that plays [to a wider audience].' And then they said, 'Well, we're thinking about using James Gunn.' And I said, 'Oh, then no, you're fine.' He is so off the wall, and so crazy, but so smart, such a craftsman and he builds from his heart. He loves the raccoon. Needs the raccoon."
Gunn, who wrote and directed the superhero comedy Super and the horror comedy Slither, reportedly attracted the studio's attention because of his ability to blend comedy with action and horror, much like Whedon. Hired just last month, he'll work with screenwriter Chris McCoy to rewrite the script for the space adventure.
"He has a very twisted take on it, but it all comes from a real love for the material," Whedon said. "It's going to be hard for the humans to keep up. I know he's going to come from left field and I'm going to go, 'What?' And then, 'Of course, why didn't I think of that?' And then I'm going to beat him!"
Officially announced in July at Comic-Con International, Guardians of the Galaxy is reportedly“about a U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.” Although the Guardians have boasted a large and changing roster over the past four decades, the concept art Marvel debuted at Comic-Con features Drax the Destroyer, the human resurrected in the body of an alien to combat Thanos; Groot, the extraterrestrial tree monster; Star-Lord, the interplanetary police officer; Rocket Raccoon, the fearless genetically altered raccoon; and Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the universe.
Part of Marvel’s second wave of films, Guardians of the Galaxy is set to open Aug. 1, 2014.