The Guardians Of The Galaxy Were Almost Introduced Through Marvel One-Shots

Today, audiences around the world are very much familiar with "Guardians of the Galaxy." As one of Marvel's big franchise that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the ragtag team of space misfits have become some of the most popular characters from the movies of Marvel Studios. But back when the film was just beginning development, only the most hardcore Marvel Comics fans knew about Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. In fact, Marvel Studios was so worried about audiences being interested in this obscure superhero team that they almost introduced them in a series of Marvel One-Shot short films leading up to the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Guardians of the Galaxy One-Shot Plans

Remember Marvel One-Shots? They were a series of short films that Marvel Studios produced to tell little stories in between Marvel Studios movies, sometimes filling in certain narrative gaps or explaining what seemed like plot holes. Marvel hasn't made any new One-Shots in awhile, with the exception of "Thor: Ragnarok" director Taika Waititi chronicling Thor's time on Earth with a roommate named Daryl, a character who we might catch up with before "Thor: Love & Thunder." But there was a time when Marvel One-Shots were considered a viable way to introduce audiences to the then-obscure characters of "Guardians of the Galaxy."

In the recently released book "The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe," Kevin Feige revealed the initial plan to pave the way for the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy," which would have resulted in four short films. Feige explained, "We toyed with the idea of doing short films on Drax, on Rocket and Groot, and on Gamora, leading up to Guardians." The fourth film would have seemed like a self-contained short film about "a mysterious kid who loved fantasy things." But when "Guardians of the Galaxy" came around, audiences would realize that the kid in question was actually Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord." Feige added, "We thought that would be clever, but it was too much."

The short films would have played on the preceding Marvel movies that were arriving in theaters before "Guardians of the Galaxy," acting as a slow roll leading up to the film's release. Een though Marvel had been successful at the box office up to that point, it's quite an assumption that general audiences would see three other Marvel movies before the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy." That might have worked for the fans who showed up for every movie, but not the more casual fans. But there's another reason this idea didn't pan out.

James Gunn Didn't Have Time to Direct Four Short Films

Director James Gunn noticed this tidbit from "The Story of Marvel Studios" going around online and reflected on the development plans in a series of posts to Twitter. Gunn recalled, "Not only did we plan it, we shot footage for one of the scripts (Rocket & Groot) – part of which was the first shot of Rocket shooting a machine gun on Groot's back that we showed at San Diego Comic Con."

This seemed like an interesting way to introduce the "Guardians of the Galaxy" since, as Gunn says, "Everyone was telling us these unknown characters were going to be 'Marvel's first bomb.'" But Gunn quickly realized he would be biting off more than he could chew by tackling four short films at the same time he was planning the "Guardians of the Galaxy" shoot. Gunn said, "I realized it was ridiculous for me to be writing and directing four short films at the same time as I was prepping an enormous world-building movie."

Even though the short films never shot, Gunn still considers the Rocket & Groot short to be canon, at least for his own purposes. The filmmaker said, "Only the Rocket & Groot script was fully finished, but it was also completely storyboarded. It was the story of how they met, and I still think it's true in my headcanon." There was even a role for Alan Tudyk ("Rogue One: A Star Wars Story") to play in the short.

But Gunn has left the door open to maybe revisit these origin story shorts one day. The director wrote on Twitter, "I was sad deciding I couldn't do them (especially Rocket & Groot). But, you know, maybe someday!" Could he be hinting at something in the works at Marvel Studios? There's probably nothing officially in the works, but let's keep those fingers crossed.