Marvel Studios originally planned to introduce the Guardians of the Galaxy to the MCU by way of four short films leading into the first proper Guardians movie in 2014.
The studio’s alternative plans for the ragtag cosmic crew’s debut were revealed in a new Marvel book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry, that chronicles the entire production history of The Infinity War Saga’s 23 movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 directed by James Gunn.
One excerpt in the 512-page book, transcribed by Screen Rant, details Marvel’s early plans to introduce the Guardians of the Galaxy to the MCU through a series of Marvel One-Shots that would have been released before the characters made their big-screen debut. However, MCU boss Kevin Feige said they decided to scrap the idea because it seemed excessive.
“This One-Shot series would have led into the Guardians movie proper – which would have also been directly preceded by a fourth self-contained short film about a mysterious kid who loved fantasy things,” Feige said. “Halfway through [Guardians], we would reveal that big space hero is the kid from the short. We thought that would be clever, but it was too much.”
Marvel One-Shots are a series of direct-to-video short films produced by Marvel Studios, set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They are included as special features on Blu-ray and digital releases of MCU movies and are designed to be self-contained stories that provide more backstory for characters or events introduced in Marvel’s blockbuster releases.
The studio’s last One-Shot short, titled All Hail the King, told the story of Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) following the events of Iron Man 3. It was released on Thor: The Dark World’s home release in 2014, the same year that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 hit theaters, with its motley crew of characters teaming up to defeat a cosmic force of epic proportions.
The movie’s ensemble cast features Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, and Dave Bautista as Drax. They returned for the 2017 sequel but their days might be numbered, as James Gunn has said Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will “probably be the last with the current team.”
It remains to be seen whether the franchise’s space-faring heroes will part ways in the future, however, there’s one more guaranteed group adventure in the pipeline. We don’t know much about Guardians Vol. 3 yet, besides that Rocket’s backstory will be a big part of the story, and that a What If…? storyline was rejected because it was too similar to the film’s plot.
Adele Ankers is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.