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Marvel Casts Walking Dead Star As Yondu In The Guardians Of The Galaxy

Just when I was starting to believe Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy couldn’t get any stranger…

Michael Rooker, a veteran character actor whose credits range from a recent stint on The Walking Dead to a memorable role in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (“Would you like a chocolate-covered pretzel?”), has been cast as Yondu Udonta in GotG, according to Deadline. A founding member of the Guardians, the hunter/hero is a member of the Zatoan tribe and lives on the first planet to be colonized outside of Earth. Like most members of his native tribe, Yondu is a natural mystic. And when you look at him (below), he looks a lot like Rooker.


This, believe it or not, makes complete sense. This already is a comic book property that features a gun-wielding raccoon in a major role. It’s a property that’s hanging its fortunes on James Gunn, the director of Super (which, if you saw it, stands out for its unconventional approach to the good-guy genre). It's a series that reportedly met with Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey for possible roles. And it has been rolling the dice on Chris Pratt, a sitcom star (Parks & Recreation) with a handful of feature-film credits but who isn’t as proven as past Marvel actors like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans or Mark Ruffalo.

But Guardians, which is scheduled to be a part of Marvel’s Phase Two, is setting itself up to be that upcoming title that audiences are going to have to enter relatively blind because they trust the Marvel brand. It’s not a household-name comic. Rooker, who previously worked with Gunn on the horror comedy Slighter, isn’t pulling unfamiliar audiences into theaters. Neither is Pratt. But Gunn did something to impress Marvel, and the work he produces will have to be the hook that gets people to sample this standalone feature that eventually will feed crowds into The Avengers 2.

As for this fresh bit of casting, how does it make you feel about GotG? Are you willing to put complete faith in Marvel that they’re going to do whatever’s right by their franchises? Does the casting of Rooker seem too offbeat for a tentpole superhero franchise? Or is GotG news supposed to be offbeat? Weigh in below.

Sean O'Connell

Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.