How Marvel built the perfect Guardians of the Galaxy team (Wired UK)

Guardians of the
Guardians of the

The newest Marvel heroes are good at being

© 2014 Marvel Studios

In part one of’s epic length Q&A with Marvel
Studios’ President Kevin Feige, the shepherd of the Marvel
Cinematic Universe talked on bringing CGI characters to life
and utilising IMAX to its fullest for Guardians of the
. Here, Feige discusses which hero team he’d be part of,
television’s Agents of SHIELD and the
upcoming Marvel series for Netflix, and bringing Chris Pratt and
Karen Gillen into the Guardians of the Galaxy

Which Marvel’s superhero teams would you personally

Kevin Feige: That’s a tough one. I
think it really depends on the mood you’re in. Someone described at
one point, I can’t remember if it was James [Gunn, director of
Guardians of the Galaxy] or Zoe [Saldana, who plays Gamora
in the film], that if the Avengers are the Beatles then the
Guardians are the Rolling Stones. I don’t know who the
X-Men would be. The Who? It depends on your mood. I’ve
been spending a lot of time with the Guardians over the last year,
so I think it would be a lot of fun to ride around on the Milano
with them. The Avengers have a lot of responsibility — a LOT –
the Guardians less so. I think it would be a lighter, more fun time
with them. At least for now!

How might the Agents of
 TV series connect to
Guardians of the Galaxy? 

I’m not sure. They’re working on the second season right now,
they’re cracking the episodes for that, so I’m not exactly sure
what their plans are. But I know that everyone’s very happy about
the connectivity between Captain America: The Winter
and Agents of SHIELD. They’re constantly
aware of what we’re doing in the movies and take their lead from
the feature films. I think they’ve already tied in a couple of blue
aliens in the first season that might may or may not relate to blue
aliens in Guardians — I’m not being coy, by the way, I’m
really not sure if it does or not. There’s always that chance for
connectivity but I’m not exactly sure what they’ve got in store for
episode-by-episode for season two.

How do upcoming Netflix series — Daredevil, Iron Fist,
Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and The Defenders — contribute to
the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

I think they’re being very smart about that, approaching the shows
the way we approach movies, which is to focus on the core project,
make sure it’s as great as it can be, beginning, middle, and end.
Then they see if there are places where it makes sense for some
interweaving of continuity. Right now, their goal, and they’re in
production on the Daredevil series, is focusing on making
it the best incarnation of Daredevil that has ever

How challenging was the casting for this movie?

We knew that the movie was going to succeed or fail
based on the casting of Peter Quill, Star Lord. He’s in a film with
talking raccoons and talking trees and green women and greyish-red
hulking maniacs and blue, pink or yellow people on various planets.
What was going to link, ground and anchor the movie for our
(primarily!) human audience that is going to see it was the
character of Peter Quill. Also, by extension, the music and
soundtrack Quill listens to. What sets this movie apart and makes
it Marvel is that it isn’t just taking place on the other side of
the universe without any connection at all to Earth or humanity.
The movie has a little bit of Earth to introduce Peter. He’s our
human entry point into this world so we needed to be entertained by
him, moved by him, and connect to him.

What made you settle on Chris Pratt as Star

It was a long process to cast him. We auditioned a lot of people
and did quite elaborate screen tests, more elaborate and more of
them than we had ever done before in search of a star for one of
our films. We saw close to a dozen very, very good, well-known
actors for his part. Then Chris came in, and initially he didn’t
want to. I think he felt a little self-conscious because his body
was in Parks and Recreation shape, which is much closer to
the shape I’m in than the shape he’s in now! And the audition
required a lot — the costume didn’t exist yet but we knew roughly
what it was going to be so put the actors in all these long trench
coats. We gave them these guns and in addition to the acting scenes
we made them do some posing with the guns, all gunslinger style
towards the camera. I think he was self-conscious of doing that
too, and when he came in to do that move — it wasn’t based on that
move why he cast him, let’s put it that way! Now, it’s his
signature move and it’s in the movie and it’s awesome.

How do you know when you’ve found the right hero for a
Marvel movie?
Chris was by the far the most dynamic, the most
charismatic of any of the actors we’d seen. We have this barometer
now when we’re casting — it’s Hemsworth, it’s Evans, it’s Ruffalo,
it’s Renner, it’s Scarlett Johansson. So when we’re bringing
somebody into the universe, that’s a high bar they have to match.
Sometimes, you find yourself going “OK well, I guess this could
work, this person could be good” but what you really want to feel
is “That’s the guy! No question! Get him!” We weren’t feeling that
until Chris came in.

How did you cast the character of Drax?

Chris is also the reason we cast Dave Bautista [as Drax]. James
was very smart and did these chemistry tests between Chris, once
we’d decided to hire him and thankfully he agreed to do it, and
Dave, and that was really what brought out Dave. He’d done a number
of good auditions by himself up to that point, but it was really
when we put the two of them together that they both came to life
even more so.

Chris Pratt seems to be a rising star. Did that influence the

The fact that the Lego Movie came out and is tied — or
just below! — Winter Soldier for one of the biggest
movies of the year is great, and the fact that he’s getting a lot
of heat for Jurassic World is a bonus. The best thing for
us though is that he’s the perfect Peter Quill and will take his
rightful place alongside all those other iconic Marvel actors.

What made you choose Doctor Who star Karen Gillen
to play space pirate Nebula?
We were looking at people in the States and the UK.
Karen had two things going for her. One, she had a great audition.
It was a great bonus that she had a fanbase from Doctor
, but that wasn’t the driving factor. And two, she was
willing to shave her head! She ended up not only shaving her head,
but last year at San Diego Comic Con, you may remember she came out
in a wig and dramatically revealed her shaven head. It was so
ballsy and so awesome. She did all her interviews, and the
behind-the-scenes footage that you’ll start to see rolling out of
the movie, completely bald, out of makeup. She’s beautiful with and
without hair, and it was really, really cool that she was willing
to do that. Nebula, the character she’s playing, is a conflicted
character who needs to have a number of different layers and a
performance that comes through her rather striking, dramatic

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