When it was announced earlier this month that Vin Diesel would be voicing Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy it was met with some mixed reactions. While many agree that Diesel's deep voice is likely perfect for an alien that is essentially a walking tree, many of the star's biggest fans were disappointed that the actor wouldn't be playing a larger role in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Groot can literally only say the phrase, "I am Groot"). It was also a rather underwhelming announcement given that Diesel had been teasing a big deal at Marvel Studios for about two months prior to the announcement.
As it turns out, the reason why the actor hyped the news so much was because he was actually initially meeting with the studio about a different project all together.
The actor is currently doing the press rounds for the upcoming sci-fi action film Riddick and while talking with The Hollywood Reporter he revealed that when he first met with the folks over at Marvel they were discussing what he describes as "a fresh IP (intellectual property)" that would come out in 2016 or 2017. The pressures of the San Diego Comic-Con crowd ended up getting to them, however, and the two sides started pushing for something more immediate... which resulted in the actor being cast as Groot. You can watch the interview with Diesel below:
There are some interesting things to take away from this interview. The first thing I picked up was Diesel saying that the project they were considering was going to "potentially launch the third phase." While Marvel does indeed have some dates carved out for their Phase Three films - with May 6, 2016, Jul 18, 2016 and May 5, 2017 already marked on the calendar - none of those films will be launching Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, launching duties actually belong to Edgar Wright's Ant-Man, which is currently dated for November 6, 2015. It's entirely possible that the actor just misspoke, but is it also possible that Diesel was meeting with the studio about playing Ant-Man?
The other interesting tidbit is just the way Diesel seems to be talking about the "fresh IP" in the past tense. While voicing Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy will establish the actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you wouldn't think that would be enough to prevent him from potentially playing a live-action character as well. Diesel makes it sound like talks about the original project they were discussing fell through. This could this explain why Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said there was nothing to announce about the star last month during Comic-Con. It would seem that the Groot deal was only made after the event in San Deigo, which would actually verify Feige's comments.
Regardless of what could have been or what could be, being in Guardians of the Galaxy means that Diesel is a part of one of the best casts that Marvel has assembled yet, the actor set to work alongside the likes of Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Peter Serafinowicz. The film is currently in production and will be in theaters on August 1st.