Vin Diesel Groot

Marvel’s "worst-kept secret" has been confirmed. Vin Diesel, gravel-voiced star of the Fast & Furious franchise, will lend his signature pipes to the character of Groot in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

We’ve been telling you this since August, but apparently the news hadn’t been confirmed until now. Marvel posted the item on its official site along with the accompanying image of Diesel and his tree-like hero, one of the more unusual members of the Guardians team.

In making the announcement. Marvel revealed a bit more about Gunn’s movie, stating:
In the far reaches of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an unlikely cast of characters including Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket Raccoon must join forces to defeat a cosmic force of epic proportions."

The other high-profile cast member lending a voice to Guardians is American Hustle star Bradley Cooper, who’ll voice Rocket Raccoon in the Marvel adventure. They will be joined by an eclectic cast, including Chris Pratt (in arguably the largest role of his career), Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Honsou, Lee Pace, John C. Reilly and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.

If you stayed through the end credits of Thor: The Dark World, you caught a glimpse of Del Toro’s character collecting an important item… something that is going to dictate the direction of the next phase of Marvel movies, including Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Diesel’s role in Guardians has been confirmed. At the same time, his other major motion-picture franchise received a jolt of stability over the weekend, when Universal announced a new release date for James Wan’s Fast & Furious 7. Of course, the production rested in limbo following the death of leading man Paul Walker. Now, Wan and his team have time to finish their sequel AND pay tribute to the fallen action star, who the studio says will remain a major focus of the story, and likely receive a proper sendoff from the Furious crew.

Before that, Guardians of the Galaxy will roar into theaters on Aug. 1, 2014. It will continue Marvel’s Phase Two, building up to the second Avengers movie, and setting the stage for some interstellar Marvel adventures, possibly starring Doctor Strange? We shall see.

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