"Who are you?" — Korrath the Punisher (Djimon Hounsou)
That's probably the question a lot of people are asking when they watch the first trailer for Marvel Studios' next adventure "Guardians of the Galaxy," followed closely by "How did the guy from 'Parks and Rec' get those abs?" and "Does that raccoon really have a machine gun?"
Star Chris Pratt stopped by "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Tuesday night to introduce the first official look at the new crop of heroes in action. Pratt plays Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, the half-human/half-alien leader of a group of extraterrestrial misfits being hunted through space by a powerful supervillain. Their team includes the green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana from "Star Trek" and "Avatar"), oversized, vengeance-seeking Drax the Destroyer (former WWE champ Dave Bautista), towering tree creature Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and the furry and ferocious Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper). We meet each as they are brought in front of a line-up, "Usual Suspects"-style, for the intergalactic police force called the Nova Corps.
The movie also has a suitably eclectic supporting cast, including an Academy Award winner (Benicio Del Toro), and multiple Oscar nominees (Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Djimon Hounsou, and current nominee Cooper). Plus, there are some familiar faces from TV: Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies") as the evil Ronan, Karen Gillan ("Doctor Who") as the sadistic and bald Nebula, and Michael Rooker ("The Walking Dead") as the Mohawk-sporting hunter Yorbu.
As Marvel's first full-bore sci-fi flick, "Guardians" features the newest characters of theirs to make the leap from the pages of the comics to the big screen. The original team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in 1969, but the movie is based on the current incarnation created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning which started only six years ago. It's a sharp contrast from Marvel's previous films which were taken from more established comic-book characters like Iron Man (created in 1963), Thor (1962), and Captain America (1941). This is also the last film of Marvel's "Phase Two" series before next year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but it's still unclear how or if the Guardians will tie in to the next big team-up.
Of course, "Guardians" will also have it's own distinct brand of humor, courtesy of writer/director James Gunn, who previously created the twisted comic-book spoofs "The Specials" and "Super." And if Star-Lord flipping the bird didn't give it away, the "ooga chucka" chorus from Blue Swede's 1974 version of "Hooked on a Feeling" certainly did.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" opens nationwide on Aug. 1.