Marvel is in talks with Slither/Super James Gunn to direct their superhero intergalactic space opera Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel is confident that Gunn will sign on for the project, but if he doesn’t, they have also been talking with Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man) and the directing duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson).

Heat Vision, who broke the story, claim that Marvel is attracted to Gunn’s sensibility and his ability to mix comedy elements with action and horror. The Guardians comic books have always balanced both comedy and more serious sci-fi/dramatic components. Gunn’s production style have always leaned more towards low-budget/sometimes-guerrilla filmmaking, making him an odd choice for a big budget science fiction epic — although the heavier visual story moments in Slither impressed those who saw the film.

The movie will reportedly follow a “U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.” As Russ noted, it seems likely that the astronaut in question is Peter Quill, aka the character Star-Lord pictured in the Guardians concept art released at Comic Con. (He’s the one in the middle, described recently as “a gun-toting half-human/half-alien inter-galactic vigilante.”) And is the “something everyone wants” is probably the Infinity Guantlet, or the gems that go on the gauntlet.

Nicole Perlman, who came up in Marvels’ writer’s program, scripted and black list screenwriter Chris McCoy is rewriting. Guardians of the Galaxy is set for release on August 1, 2014.

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