How Guardians of the Galaxy Proved You Should Never Say Never
I am constantly reading columns listing comic book characters that would never make it to the silver screen. But, by now, we should know that Marvel, especially though its Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, has proven that even the most obscure characters can become a household name.
The most notable were Rocket Raccoon and Groot. While DC was still struggling to put out a Wonder Woman film (for the record, I am VERY excited about this movie coming out), Marvel not only introduced the world to a talking raccoon and tree, but made the household names. These characters that have been around for years in relative obscurity are now on toys, t-shirts and other merchandise. Who doesn't wander around saying "I Am Groot?" And who didn't cry when the words "We Are Groot" were muttered?
And, let's not forget, albeit as a cameo in both Guardians movies, the appearance of Howard the Duck who, after the disastrous 1986 George Lucas film, nobody thought would ever be seen in the movies ever again.
Now, this time around, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, the world was introduced to even more obscure characters. Most notably in Mantis and Ego. If you asked me a few years ago if I ever thought these characters would make it to the screen, I would have laughed. They had to change the origins of these characters mainly because their backstories are so out there and convoluted over time. For example, Mantis, in the comics, was raised by Kree priests in the jungles of Vietnam and later became the Celestial Madonna. She had power over plants, but then became an empath and precog. She started as a regular looking Asian American and then became a green looking humanoid bug. How much convoluted can that get? But, for the most part, they retain the spirit of their comic book counterparts. When I look at Mantis on the screen, she still reminds me of how she was in the famed Andy Lanning/Dan Abnett run of Guardians of the Galaxy of which this team is based. She has the kooky etherealness that I always read into the that character.
And, the original Guardians of the Galaxy! As a comic book fan, I was so excited to see a version of the team that first appeared in comics in 1969. This was the team I grew up with! If you were not familiar with them, they appeared as ravagers with Sylvester Stallone as Starhawk, Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex, Ving Rhames as Charlie-27, and Michelle Yeoh as Aleta. And most people don't know that Yondu played by Michael Rooker was also a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics.
But, I remember seeing the film and just thinking, "Wow! Marvel has done it again. They've brought to life characters I thought I'd never see.
I look forward to seeing where Marvel takes us next, not just in terms of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, but beyond. Doctor Strange, in particular, has the potential for some really trippy character.
So, the point is that, while you think a character like the Living Tribunal (mentioned in Doctor Strange) or the Grandmaster (coming soon in Thor: Ragnarok) could never come to be. Think again.