John C Reilly

In contrast to the all-star lineup of The Avengers, the heroes and villains that populate Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy are to be played by a more diverse collection of actors. Not all of them are household names. It’s a good thing, then, that director James Gunn has some excellent talent to help introduce these oddball characters to the wider audience.

Among his top-shelf lineup is John C. Reilly, who’s just been confirmed after being rumored last month. There’s been a bit of confusion recently over whom he might be playing in the intergalactic saga, but we’ve now learned that the initial reports were correct — he’ll star as Rhomann Dey, essentially the Agent Coulson of the Guardians universe. Hit the jump to learn more about him.

A rep for Reilly has verified his casting in Guardians, weeks after word of an offer first began to circulate. Deadline initially named his role as Ronan Day — an unrelated character with an unfortunately similar name — but has since clarified that Reilly will, in fact, play Rhomann Dey a.k.a. Nova Prime.

In the comics, Rhomann is the leader of “intergalactic space patrol” Nova Corps. He is not human, but HitFix describes the film version of him as one. That could suggest that the filmmakers have combined him with Richard Rider, a human who inherits Rhomann’s powers, or just that they’ve decided to rework the character entirely. At any rate, his function in the film will be to serve as a go-between between the Guardians in space and S.H.I.E.L.D. on Earth.

Reilly’s Rhomann is one of two characters described as liaisons in the movie. Glenn Close is the other, though it’s not clear right now if she’s also part of Nova Corp. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista make up the titular superhero team, while Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, and Michael Rooker will be the villains. Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014.

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