Thanks to their appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy are now household names. Today, everyone loves Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and, of course, Groot. Before the first film, though, Marvel Studios had an idea to introduce those then-largely unknown characters to fans in a rather unconventional way.
Prompted by a story from the new The Story of Marvel Studios book, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn explained on Twitter that back before 2014’s first Guardians, Marvel was considering making four Guardians short films (called “One-Shots” in the MCU) that would introduce each of the core characters. Marvel would then slot three of them in front of the three Marvel movies coming out leading up to Guardians (almost in a Pixar/Pixar short kind of way), with the fourth one placed before Guardians itself. The first three were Rocket/Groot, Drax, and Gamora, while the fourth one was Star-Lord. Gunn says only the Rocket/Groot short, which told the story of how they met, was ever written though. It was also fully storyboarded and Alan Tudyk had a role. The Star-Lord one was basically just the now opening of Guardians of the Galaxy, in which Peter loses his mum and then goes into space with Yondu.
“We didn’t end up doing it because I realised it was ridiculous for me to be writing & directing 4 short films at the same time as I was prepping an enormous world-building movie,” Gunn tweeted. “It was really hard for me to admit it was too much for me & I was sad deciding I couldn’t do them (especially Rocket & Groot). But, you know, maybe someday!”
Since then, though, Gunn has directed two Guardians movies, with a third on the way, helped oversee a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park ride (with a second on the way), and helmed an upcoming holiday special, not to mention always having input when the characters show up in movies like Avengers: Infinity War or Thor: Love and Thunder.
We’ll next see all of the Guardians in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which begins filming soon and is out May 5, 2023. Star-Lord (at least) will also appear in Thor: Love and Thunder, out July 8, 2022.
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Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.