by Brett White
In a move that absolutely no one saw coming, Deadline is reporting that "The Walking Dead's" Michael Rooker has been cast as Centauri IV native Yondu Udonta in Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy." This casting comes as a surprise because not only is Yondu not one of the five Guardians depicted in the concept art, but he's a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy team from 1969. This casting throws pretty much everything we know about "Guardians of the Galaxy" into question.
Based on the film's concept art, everyone assumed 2014's "Guardians" film would star the most recent incarnation of the team. Chris Pratt has been cast as Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax and Zoe Saldana as Gamora. It's even been rumored that the Controller will pop up as the film's adversary. I think it was pretty much expected that the two CGI characters, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, were the only two Guardians left to cast.
And then hello Yondu.
Yondu's membership in the Guardians is a bit confusing. See, the original Guardians from 1969 are actually from the future (3006 A.D., give or take) and the current Guardians, the ones forming the presumed majority of the 2014 film's cast, exist in the modern day Marvel Universe. So yes, the newest iteration of the Guardians are actually the predecessors of their predecessors.
Yondu's involvement means that it's entirely possible that time travel will play a part in the film (maybe a trip to 2045?). It means that it's entirely possible that other original, 1960s Guardians could pop up in the film (Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex). It means it's entirely possible that the 1990s Jim Valentino-era Guardians could have cameos (Starhawk, Nikki, Talon). It even means that other members of the modern Guardians (Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, Jack Flag) could show up alongside their already-cast teammates.
What I'm getting at is that this news just expanded the scope of "Guardians of the Galaxy" exponentially. Who knows what could happen next?
Rooker had previously campaigned for the part of Rocket Raccoon. Now instead of just offering his voice to the film, Rooker will offer his entire presence (and one gnarly head fin). Rooker has become a fan-favorite actor since portraying the gruff Merle Dixon on "The Walking Dead."
"Guardians of the Galaxy" opens on August 1st, 2014. I expect a lot more mind-blowing announcements between now and then.
What do you think of Michael Rooker as Yondu? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!