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One Guardians Of The Galaxy Actor James Gunn Had To Fight Marvel For

Guardians of the Galaxy Michael Rooker Yondu

Guardians of the Galaxy has easily become one of the most fully-realized Marvel properties in its short existence. Much of this has to do with the perfect depictions and chemistry between the characters -- all of whom bring something different and exciting to the table. One such character who has become a total fan-favorite in recent years is Yondu, but as it turns out: it took a little work for Michael Rooker to get the job as Peter Quill's surrogate father. The actor recently opened up while promoting the upcoming release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and explained how James Gunn went to bat for him with Marvel Studios, saying:

I don't think I was Marvel's first choice. I'm sure there are many other stars and actors that would have brought in more money. I wasn't in the room when he was convincing them, but I would bet you my right arm that he had my back in a big way.

In his recent chat with USA Today, Michael Rooker opened up and admitted that his role as Yondu likely wouldn't have happened if James Gunn hadn't fought for him to be in the first film. Rooker is the definition of a B-movie actor -- having established his status as a cult icon with roles in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Cliffhanger, and Slither. Mainstream audiences do not necessarily know him very well compared to other Marvel performers, and he doesn't have a long resume of A-list blockbuster work. From Marvel's perspective, it would be easy to see why someone like Michael Rooker would not immediately be the first choice when, by 2014, Phase 2 had firmly placed the Marvel Cinematic Universe in A-list franchise territory.

Directors fighting to get fan-favorite actors into their Marvel films seems to be a fairly common phenomenon. It's no secret that Marvel Studios likes to keep a relatively short leash on its directors to maintain a stronger sense of style and continuity between films, which means producer oversight plays a major part in the development of these superhero movies. In the same way that James Gunn had to fight to get Michael Rooker into the role of Yondu, Jon Favreau similarly had to fight Marvel just to get Robert Downey Jr. cast as Tony Stark for the first Iron Man movie back in 2008.

Robert Downey jr as Tony Stark Iron Man

Can you imagine being one of the people who argued against hiring Robert Downey Jr. to play Iron Man? That's the definition of ending up on the wrong side of history. Michael Rooker may not have seemed like the right choice for Yondu from a business perspective when James Gunn pitched him to Marvel studios, but like Iron Man, the entertainment giant eventually saw reason and made the right decision.

James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will debut in theaters this weekend on May 5. Make sure to take a look at our handy Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 guide to get yourself up to speed on everything you need to know before the film finally premieres.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.