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First things first: as soon as tonight's panel was over, Marvel released new concept art from Guardians of the Galaxy, which allowed us to see the entire cast of the movie actually in character-- it's still a drawing, and we still don't know who's voicing Rocket Raccoon, but this the Avengers Assemble moment for Guardians to be sure. Check it out below, and click to expand it even larger.
Now, on to the news. One major rumor got confirmed tonight, as Benicio del Toro took the Comic-Con stage alongside the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy and confirmed what many of us has long suspected: he'll be playing The Collector in the film, which is due out August 1, 2014.
Del Toro joined the sprawling cast back in early June, but there was a pretty thick veil of secrecy over the role, with only the word that he would play a "very key" character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. When word got out that he might have a cameo in the upcoming Thor: The Dark World, it confirmed not only that the role was major, but that it might serve as a bridge between Thor and the outer-space set Guardians of the Galaxy, which still looks like a pretty major departure from the Marvel Universe we've seen so far.
Who is The Collector? Oh, just an enormously powerful, billions-of-years-old being who can see the future and has a giant collection of priceless artifacts from across the galaxy-- hence the name. He also tends to tangle with the Avengers, at one point in the comics even forcing Iron Man to work on his side. So when they say this guy could be major, he could be villain-in-Avengers 3 major. Though that's probably still Thanos ... given the fact that Ultron was just confirmed as the villain in The Avengers 2. Even with del Toro out there on stage for the world to see, this is still a whole lot of speculation. And the acltor confirmed that he hasn't even started filming with the cast yet. He came down to San Diego from London, but admitted that a phone call from James Gunn lured him into Guardians, and he loved the story they are trying to tell.
In other Guardians news, co-star Karen Gillan-- famous for her stint on Doctor Who-- not only revealed that she'll be playing Nebula, the space pirate and super-villainess. She also revealed that she shaved her head, pulling off a wig that she wore at the start of the panel. Way to be a badass! Check out her sleek new look in this photo snapped from inside Hall H:
In other casting news, it was confirmed that Lee Pace is playing Ronan the Accuser. And Djimon Hounsou is playing Koranth, a character with connections to Thanos (according to the actor), but someone I'm sadly unfamiliar with. Guardians kicked off production earlier this summer, as evidenced by star Chris Pratt's incredible abs and the reveal of more concept art. You can catch up on all the night's Marvel news in Eric's liveblog. There was a TON of news tonight.
As for the footage, it's staggering what Guardians was able to show, given that they've been in production for about two weeks. The clip starts with Star Lord (Pratt) breaking into a non-descript but definitely alien room. He's holding a glowing blue orb, and he appears to trade it for another when suddenly, men with guns demand he puts the ball down. They ask Pratt who he is. "I'm Star Lord." "Who?" Hounsou's character asks. "Aw, c'mon guys. Star Lord?!" Pratt says, incredulously.
That sets the tone for the rest of Guardians which has a very casual, slacker vibe, and anti-hero tone that works very well. The clip plays out with Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) going through a police-line-up type of description of each character. We start with Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), move to Gamora (whom Zoe Saldana describes as "an assassin"), fit in Rocket Raccoon and Groot before ending on Star Lord (Pratt). "They call themselves The Guardians of the Galaxy," Dey says, with disdain. "What a bunch of a__holes," his second in command says.
Yep, this is a James Gunn movie! When Star-Lord is introduced, he's doing this down-with-authority pose that ends with him flipping his middle finger at the camera. This isn't Family Marvel, that's for sure. The CGI for Rocket looked fantastic. (His intro ends with him spitting on the floor like a bad ass.) There were fight scenes and fully produced sequences that rattled by in a montage. And the clip ended with "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede, which continued the party atmosphere tone of the footage. Guardians had the best clip of a jam-packed Marvel panel.
We'll have plenty more information about these Marvel movies as they roll through production. For now, we're still coming down off the high that was that Hall H panel. Amazing stuff.