Michael Rooker, whose career has most recently seen him portray the less-than-affable racist Merle Dixon onThe Walking Dead, has joined the cast of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but he’s not playing who you may think…
Rooker, who some had thought may voice Rocket Raccoon, will be taking on the role of Yondu Udonta, instead. The Guardians of the Galaxy are ostensibly the Avengers of space, and that’s precisely how Marvel should market the film. Yondu is, basically, these Space Avengers’ Hawkeye; he doesn’t have many “powers” to speak of, but he’s a damn fine archer—which means ol’ Merle will get to horn in on his brother Daryl’s territory.
What’s telling about Yondu’s presence in the film is that it changes the direction the comic adaptation is seemingly going; up until now, it was presumed the film would use the plotline of the comic series’ 2008 relaunch. Yondu isn’t a part of that relaunch, so this means the film will also be drawing inspiration from the series’ roots in the 1960s and will likely attempt to meld the two versions together (similarly to how X-Men Days of Future Past will attempt to do the same).
Following the success of their Phase 1, which obviously culminated with The Avengers becoming the third-largest film of all time, Marvel can do anything and have it be successful. Anything. That’s why I love that they realize that and decided to jump head-first into, by-far, their biggest risk to-date. Casual comics fans don’t really know the Guardians of the Galaxy (many less-casual fans don’t even know them), yet Marvel is still taking the challenge head-on. The film is being directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super), which is another chance Marvel is taking (Gunn was also one of the many directors of the mess that is Movie 43), and the cast already includes Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Zoe Saldana. If nothing else, this movie is going to be an experiment in the unknown.