Who Will Star in Guardians of the Galaxy?

Leading men from Zero Dark Thirty, Tron: Legacy, X-Men and more are lining up to play Star-Lord. Find out who's in the running.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

The great thing about Marvel Studios' increasingly full slate of superhero movies is that we'll never, ever have to stop posting all these casting rumors. (Ahem.) With Iron Man 3 in the can, Thor: The Dark World already in production and Captain America: The Winter Soldier almost ready to go, it's time to start focusing on The Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's second superhero team franchise, which will lead into the 2015 motion picture even that is The Avengers 2. The film is slated for release on August 1, 2014, and director James Gunn is already lining up leading men to take on the role of Star-Lord, expected to be the main character in the sci-fi spectacle.

Star-Lord, born Peter Quill, is a NASA astronaut who becomes an intergalactic police officer, embroiled in one cosmic conflict after the other. Marvel Studios has assembled a short list of actors to play the character that, according to Deadline, includes Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), James Marsden (X-Men), Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas), Lee Pace (Lincoln), Jack Huston ("Boardwalk Empire") and Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables). Each of these actors is expected to test for the role in the near future.

As usual, these sorts of casting calls cast a wide net, particularly for a starring role like Star-Lord, a largely unknown quantity to audiences who will require a highly charismatic presence to sell as a blockbuster hero. Fittingly, for a potential franchise with a large ensemble cast, none of the actors being considered are considered big enough to carry a mainstream Hollywood production on their own. Joel Edgerton is probably the most critically-acclaimed name on Marvel's list, and we expect he's one of their top picks. Marsden, Sturgess and Pace have all been on the periphery of major stardom for a while now, and could also be excellent choices for the studio. Jack Huston and Eddie Redmayne are relative unknowns in this company, but it's Garrett Hedlund whom we imagine will try the hardest to knock Marvel's socks off. His last outing as a sci-fi leading man, Tron: Legacy, failed to jumpstart the franchise that Disney was hoping for, and his first major starring role in an action movie, Eragon, didn't make many waves either. 

We expect similar casting calls on the horizon for Guardians of the Galaxy's many other cast members. In particular, every action-capable actress in Hollywood seems likely to test for Gamora, the deadliest woman in the galaxy and the adopted daughter of Thanos, who is expected to be the main villain in The Avengers 2


William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani