Serving as an important litmus test regarding the limits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy was a risky project whose success ultimately paid off tremendously. Now, as production for its upcoming 2017 sequel gets underway, a curious tidbit has surfaced surrounding its title.

It is being reported that the sequel production is currently working under the rather provocative name, Guardians 3000. A rather curious listing in the trade magazine Production Weekly provides a list of titles for currently-in-production projects. Curiously enough, when it gets to Guardians of the Galaxy 2, it further supplements its title with "aka Guardians 3000." While that secondary title might evoke imagery of some cheesy spinoff set in the far-future, it’s actually quite germane to the Guardians comic book mythos. As it so happens, Guardians 3000 is a current Marvel Comics series separate from the main Guardians franchise, showcasing "the original" members of the interstellar super-group.

At this point, it may be unproductive to read too much into the title in question, since it is conventional practice for productions to film under different titles, either out of discretion, or just in the name of some random inside joke. However, the 3000 reference could be seen as corroborating rumors that point to the sequel adding more members to the first film’s "bunch of a-holes." The comic series showcases a lineup of characters that consist of Yondu (who is played by Michael Rooker in the first film), Vance Astro (a.k.a Major Victory), Martinex, Charlie 27 and Starhawk. In the original comic book canon, established back in 1969, this original team lineup were actively saving the universe in the 31st century.

With that said it's possible that the futuristic 3000 continuity won’t be acknowledged. However, the reference in the production title could indicate that more heavy hitters from that lineup, besides just Michael Rooker’s Yondu, may be set to join the team of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. In fact, the heaviest of all these hitters in Vance Astro, or "Major Victory" (wearing the black mask in the below pic), who might be someone destined to add to the cinematic team’s dynamic. Depicted in the future-set comic series as essentially an unfrozen contemporary U.S. Air Force pilot-turned-intergalactic hero of the future, Astro is often the default leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Armed with psychokinetic powers, his storyline parallels to Captain America are rather apparent, even to the point that he eventually inherits Cap’s shield.



Of course, this is serious grain-of-salt type intel that could very easily lead to a great big helping of jack squat. However, if there’s one major takeaway from last year’s cinematic success of Guardians of the Galaxy, it's that the interpersonal dynamic between the characters played a huge part in making the broader "cosmic" theater of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into something accessible and unintimidating for the average moviegoing audiences. That habit will undoubtedly continue, and director James Gunn will likely want to mix up that aspect into something fresh. "Guardians 3000" might just be a not-so-subliminal message in that respect.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (whatever it will ultimately be called) is set to hold another dance-off against it competitors at theaters on May 5, 2017.

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