How is Marvel going to sell its weirdest property to date to an audience of which a good chunk is made up of people who really just come for Robert Downey Jr.? By assembling the weirdest cast possible.
Benicio Del Toro is the latest seemingly random addition to the cast of "Guardians of the Galaxy," the film that features a talking raccoon, a talking tree, Andy Dwyer from "Parks and Recreation," and the woman who boiled a rabbit in "Fatal Attraction" protecting the universe from some unknown cosmic threat.
Yes, this is the film that Marvel felt would be an easier sell than "Black Panther." And it just might be, with such a completely bizarre dramatis personae that turns it into the studio's first true curiosity piece.
For the record, "Guardians of the Galaxy" follows the adventures of American astronaut Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), the son of an alien father and human mother who is reinvented as 'Star-Lord' when he joins up with a team of strange superheroes from another dimension: Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a slain human resurrected as a green warrior with the sole purpose of killing Thanos; Groot, a giant walking, talking tree; Rocket Raccoon, a genetically engineered animal with a love for guns n' bombs; and Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the sole surviving member of a race of peace-loving humanoid aliens whose seemingly contradictory assassin abilities have earned her the title of The Deadliest Woman in the Universe.
Benicio Del Toro's role is being kept under wraps, though apparently it's a character that's designed to be part of future Marvel films, according to Deadline. This has many speculating that the "Traffic" star could be playing the villainous Thanos, the mysterious, evil-loving character in the post-credits scene before the shawarma bit in "The Avengers".
Could this be Del Toro's way of making up for turning down the bad guy role in another sci-fi adventure franchise, "Star Trek"? (Del Toro is certainly more traditionally Khan-ish than, say, Benedict Cumberbatch.)
Besides Pratt, Bautista and "Star Trek" alum Saldana, the eclectic cast of "Guardians of the Galaxy" also includes Glenn Close, who will be playing a high-ranking officer in the intergalactic space patrol organization known as Nova Corp; Michael Rooker, who will go blue as Yondu Udonta, the Zatoan hunter and founding member of the Guardians (although some reports say he's been re-imagined as a bad guy for the film); "Lincoln" rabble-rouser Lee Pace, who will be playing an unknown villain character; and "Doctor Who" alum Karen Gillan, also playing an unrevealed antagonist.
The casting directors on "Guardians" are still hard at work, as John C. Reilly is rumored to have been offered the role of Rhomann Dey, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and handler for the Guardians (kind of their own Agent Coulson, if you will).
And who's going to play the talking tree and talking raccoon? The best parts have yet to be cast! (Please let us know in the comments below who you'd like to see in those roles.)
Stay tuned, as the strange casting journey of "Guardians of the Galaxy" is only getting started. The film opens August 1, 2014.