Marvel is aiming for the stars with Guardians of the Galaxy. A movie directed by James Gunn is in development. The publisher has recruited three superstars for a brand new Marvel Now series. At New York Comic Con Marvel announced Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven will create a new Guardians of the Galaxy series premiering in February 2013. The third superstar? Iron Man.
Guardians of the Galaxy will spin out of Avengers Assemble with a team of Star-Lord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, Gamora and Iron Man. Bendis tells Marvel.com he’s been digging into the book’s history as he prepares to blast them into the Marvel Now.
We were talking about the characters, what they want and their reliability. I dug up some of their origin stories, particularly Peter Quill’s origin story, which as I tweeted recently I had come across, and decided that it was, for my money, as good as Superman or Spider-man’s origin—it was just no one knew it! It was literally a two-page story in MARVEL PREMIERE about 34 years ago, and I just really really liked it. As the movie was getting closer, and more drafts were coming in, they called me and said “Listen, you were so excited during the Guardians movie calls, we need to get this book back in the public eye. We really want to make it more a part of the Marvel Universe.”
Sometimes the cosmic books are in their own little corner—and sometimes that’s charming, but it’s a lot of the reason that they don’t have a bigger audience. I had voiced how cool it would be, and how easy it would be, to guide them closer to the center of the Marvel universe, to be almost part of the Avengers franchise instead of off on their own. I was talking about it as a fan, more just like what I’d like to see, and then they called and said that they really want to do this book, how about you and someone like Steve McNiven? Steve and I worked together years ago on NEW AVENGERS, and I was just waiting patiently for my turn to work with him again. And I said, “I’ll tell you what, if you get Steve McNiven, I’ll do it.”
In terms of the cinematic Marvel Universe – Tony Stark is the biggest gun. Bendis is the guy who recruited Wolverine and Spider-Man for the Avengers. Bendis explains why Stark is joining this team.
“It’s more about that he’s a futurist, and he’s an explorer, and he’s a scientist, and an adventurer. You could certainty see Tony getting to a place in his mind where number one, he needs a vacation more than anyone on the planet. But number two, more like a working vacation, and thinking, you know what, I kind of hit a ceiling with my technology. I want to go out and explore some new stuff and see things from a new perspective, and really look at the Earth from a new perspective, and come back and see if that doesn’t help him break past whatever ceiling he’s hit with his work.
And plus, we’re going to have some fun with Tony trying to live out his William Shatner/Captain Kirk space-girl fantasies. So Tony will come out here to be part of the Guardians, to explore the ideas that the Guardians had put in his head during AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, that the Earth is a very important part of the cosmic civilization for the next generation. So Tony literally needs to go out and look at it from their point of view to see what he can do to help. And so he gets to have space adventures, he gets to live the William Shatner/Captain Kirk, he gets to explore, he gets to invent, and Tony gets to see the world from a different perspective.
When Tony’s with the Avengers, he’s always top dog, alpha male, he’s always kind of in charge. Here, he’s going to be a fish way out of water. Even though he’s been to outer space a few times, this is living in outer space, which is a completely different thing. And basically living on a pirate ship!”
In The Avengers movie Earth now has its Mightiest Heroes but it has become a target to alien races. That awareness is part of the premise of this upcoming series Bendis explains.
“As far as what the premise of the book is, we hinted at it a little bit in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, that it’s very clear to the cosmic civilizations of the Marvel universe—which is the Kree, the Skrulls, the Badoon, and the Chitauri—they all are looking at Earth. Earth seems to be a very important element; it’s literally the center of the universe. Here we have this one-of-a-kind amalgam of super heroes and Guardians and alien technologies and mutants, and it’s just this smorgasbord of powers and choices.
Look at it from a distance, say from the Kree’s point of view. Earth is very scary because it’s got all these things and it almost looks like a cauldron of craziness. It’s only one generation away from being able to join the cosmic civilization. From this point, it looks like they’re either going to be this warring tribe of barbarians with laser guns, or they’re going to be able to join us.
And it becomes clear to the leaders of the other civilizations that Earth isn’t being left alone to develop itself. Every five minutes, there’s some kind of alien interaction on Earth that is damaging to Earth’s development. Like the Skrull attack, the Kree experiments on us—there [are] all these things going around and Earth isn’t being allowed to be just Earth. If this continues, if people keep poking at it or attacking it, when Earth is able to join the cosmic civilizations, they’re going to come at us as a war tribe.
We have two choices: We can either blow the Earth up and put ourselves at war with Asgard; or we can make a new rule, and the new rule is that no one is allowed to touch Earth. You’re not allowed to touch it. You’re not allowed anywhere near it, and if you do, you’re breaking the number one cosmic law.
Peter’s father, who is the King of Spartax, asks Peter to lead the Spartax army to guard Earth, because Peter is half-Earthling. Peter doesn’t trust his father, and he’s right not to trust his father, so instead he takes the Guardians and makes them in charge of protecting Earth without him touching it. Tony is going to be involved in a very large terrorist attack on Earth that happens in the very first issue, and from that will decide to join the Guardians in this endeavor.”
Bendis confirmed S.W.O.R.D. (SHIELD of outer space) will appear in the first issue.
For more of his interview and Steve McNiven here’s the Marvel.com link.