Phase Two of the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins with Iron Man 3, which shot this summer, and continues with Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Solider.

But while the first phase led to the blockbuster team-up movie The Avengers, this second wave heads out into space for something a little more strange. Guardians of the Galaxy, oft-mentioned by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige as a project the company hoped to tackle, will be released in 2014, and the company is moving forward with a rewrite of the existing script.

THR announces that three-time Black List screenwriter Chris McCoy is
going to rewrite the ”space adventure movie” for Marvel. The three scripts of McCoy’s that landed on the annual list of popular unproduced screenplays are: Get Back (200); Good Looking (2009); and Good Kids (2011). The trade cites McCoy’s “quirky comedic bent,” which will almost certainly be an asset when trying to adapt the story of a patched-together team of characters that includes a talking raccoon and a sentient tree.

The previous script was by Nicole Perlman, who came up in Marvels’ writer’s program, and wrote two real-life space-themed films, about Neil Armstrong and the Space Shuttle Challenger.

THR also clarifies just which team we’ll see, for those who couldn’t visually ID the characters (above) when concept art was released at Comic Con:

Drax The Destroyer, a human resurrected as a green warrior with the sole purpose of killing Thanos (the villain in the Avengers final scene tease); Groot, a giant tree-man; Star-Lord, a gun-toting half-human/half-alien inter-galactic vigilante; Rocket Raccoon, a genetically engineered animal with a knack for guns and explosives; and Gamora, the last survivor of her species who was saved by Thanos to be his assassin but now battles him.

The Avengers succeeded in part because the team was made up of characters that Marvel had intriduced to audiences over a period of a couple years — even those who don’t know much about the source material were able to go into the film with an idea of how the heroes were going to interact, and how they might clash.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a different beast altogether, or so it seems at this point. While we might get a few more clues to the characters in Marvel’s upcoming films, the studio is now looking like it will attempt to create a very unusual team lineup with characters few audiences know, fighting a villain who has to date been seen only in a couple brief shots, and who most people would also be at a loss to identify.

Risky stuff, but that’s also what makes it interesting and potentially exciting. I have no idea what to expect from this one, and I can understand those who are already projecting doom for the film, saying it sounds too much like Green Lantern. But many people thought The Avengers was going to fail, too, and it did exactly the opposite, in spectacular fashion. For reasons mentioned above it’s too early to assume the same fate for Guardians, but I like seeing Marvel take another huge leap.

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