Guardians of the Galaxy (retroactively referred to as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1) is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 10th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Directed by James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman, the film features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper as the titular Guardians, along with Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. In the film, Peter Quill and a group of extraterrestrial criminals go on the run after stealing a powerful artifact.
Perlman began working on the screenplay in 2009. Producer Kevin Feige first publicly mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film in 2010 and Marvel Studios announced it was in active development at the July 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. Gunn was hired to write and direct the film that September. In February 2013, Pratt was hired to play Peter Quill / Star-Lord, and the supporting cast members were subsequently confirmed. Principal photography began in July 2013 at Shepperton Studios in England, with filming continuing in London before wrapping up in October 2013. In addition to an original score by Tyler Bates, the film's soundtrack includes several popular songs from the 1960s and 1970s chosen by Gunn. Post-production was completed on July 7, 2014.
Guardians of the Galaxy premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on July 21, 2014, and was theatrically released in the United States on August 1, as part of Phase Two of the MCU. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing $772.8 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing superhero film of 2014, as well as the third-highest-grossing film of 2014. The film was praised for its screenplay, direction, acting, humor, soundtrack, visual effects, and action sequences. At the 87th Academy Awards, the film received nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and also won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 2015. The sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, was released in 2017. The third film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, will be released in 2023.
In 1988, following his mother's death, a young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers led by Yondu Udonta. Twenty-six years later on the abandoned planet Morag, Quill steals a mysterious orb, but is attacked by forces, led by Korath, of the fanatical Kree renegade, Ronan the Accuser. Although Quill escapes with the orb, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture, while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after the orb.
When Quill attempts to sell the orb on Xandar, capital of the Nova Empire, Gamora ambushes him and steals it. A fight ensues, drawing in a pair of bounty hunters: the genetically and cybernetically modified raccoon Rocket, and the tree-like humanoid Groot. Nova Corps officers capture the four, detaining them in the Kyln prison. An inmate there, Drax the Destroyer, attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with the powerful intergalactic warlord, Thanos, and Ronan, who killed his family. Quill convinces Drax that Gamora can bring Ronan to him, though Gamora reveals that she has betrayed Ronan, unwilling to let him use the orb's power. Learning that Gamora intends to sell the orb to the Collector Taneleer Tivan, Quill, Rocket, Groot, and Drax work with her to escape the Kyln in Quill's ship, the Milano.
Ronan meets with Gamora's adoptive father, Thanos, to discuss her betrayal. Quill's group flees to Knowhere, a remote lawless outpost in space built in the giant severed head of a Celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan while the rest of the group meets Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing the Power Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Tivan's slave Carina grabs the Stone, triggering an explosion that engulfs Tivan's archive. Ronan arrives and easily defeats Drax, while the others flee by ship, pursued by Ronan's followers and Gamora's adoptive sister Nebula. Nebula destroys Gamora's ship, leaving her floating in space, and Ronan's fighters capture the orb.
Quill contacts Yondu before following Gamora into space, giving her his helmet to survive; Yondu arrives and retrieves the pair. Rocket, Drax, and Groot threaten to attack Yondu's ship to rescue them, but Quill negotiates a truce, promising the orb to Yondu. Quill's group agrees that facing Ronan means certain death, but that they cannot let him use the Infinity Stone to destroy the galaxy. On Ronan's flagship, the Dark Aster, Ronan embeds the Stone in his warhammer, taking its power for himself. He contacts Thanos, threatening to kill him after first destroying Xandar. Hateful of her adoptive father, Nebula allies with Ronan.
The Ravagers and Quill's group join with the Nova Corps to confront the Dark Aster at Xandar, with Quill's group breaching the Dark Aster with the Milano. Ronan uses his empowered warhammer to destroy the Nova Corps fleet. Drax kills Korath and Gamora defeats Nebula, who escapes, but the group finds themselves outmatched by Ronan's power until Rocket crashes a Ravager ship through the Dark Aster. The damaged Dark Aster crash-lands on Xandar, with Groot sacrificing himself to shield the group. Ronan emerges from the wreck and prepares to destroy Xandar, but Quill distracts him, allowing Drax and Rocket to destroy Ronan's warhammer. Quill grabs the freed Stone, and with Gamora, Drax, and Rocket sharing its burden, uses it to vaporize Ronan.
In the aftermath, Quill tricks Yondu into taking a container supposedly containing the Stone, and gives the real Stone to the Nova Corps. As the Ravagers leave Xandar, Yondu remarks that it turned out well that they did not deliver Quill to his father per their contract. Quill's group, now known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, has their criminal records expunged, and Quill learns that he is only half-human, his father being part of an ancient, unknown species. Quill finally opens the last present he received from his mother, a cassette tape filled with her favorite songs. The Guardians leave in the rebuilt Milano along with a potted sapling cut from Groot, which grows into a baby version of him.
In a post-credits scene, Tivan sits in his destroyed archive with two of his living exhibits: a canine cosmonaut and an anthropomorphic duck.
- Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord: The half-human, half-alien leader of the Guardians who was abducted from Missouri as a child in 1988 and raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers. About his character, Pratt said, "He had a hard time as a kid, and now he goes around space, making out with hot alien girls and just being a rogue and a bit of a jerk, and through teaming up with these guys, finds a higher purpose for himself."He also added that the character is a mix of Han Solo and Marty McFly. Pratt, who was mostly known for playing supporting characters, including Andy Dwyer on the television series Parks and Recreation, initially turned down the role. Pratt had lost weight to portray fit characters in films such as Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty, and had given up ambitions to play the lead role in action films after humbling auditions for Star Trek and Avatar. Casting director Sarah Finn suggested Pratt to Gunn, who dismissed the idea despite struggling to cast that role. Despite this, Finn arranged for a meeting between the two, at which point Gunn was immediately convinced that Pratt was perfect for the role. Pratt also won over Feige, despite having gained weight again for Delivery Man. Prior to filming, Pratt underwent a strict diet and training regimen to lose 60 pounds (27 kg) in six months. Pratt signed a multi-film contract with Marvel, and was granted a temporary leave from his work on Parks and Recreation to accommodate his participation in the film. Wyatt Oleff portrays a young Quill.
- Zoe Saldana as Gamora: An orphan from an alien world who seeks redemption for her past crimes. She was trained by Thanos to be his personal assassin. Saldana said that she would become Gamora through make-up rather than CGI or performance capture. On taking the role, Saldana said, "I was just excited to be asked to join by James Gunn and to also play someone green. I've been blue before [in Avatar]." Saldana described Gamora as "... a warrior, she's an assassin and she's very lethal, but what saves her is the same thing that can doom her. She has a sense of righteousness. She's a very righteous individual."
- Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer: A warrior who seeks to avenge his family's death at the hands of Ronan. On relating to the character, Bautista said, "I can just relate to Drax so much it's not even funny. Just the simple things that we have in common. Simple things like the tattoos, the tragedy—because, you know, I had a bit of tragedy in my life, as well. So it's really easy for me to pull from that." Bautista also said that there was "a lot of comic relief to Drax", but the character was not aware of it. Bautista stated that he did not do much preparation for the role, because "Luckily, for me, I'm a lifelong athlete and I adapted real quick."
- Vin Diesel as Groot: A tree-like humanoid, he is the accomplice of Rocket. Diesel stated that he provided the voice and motion capture for Groot, after originally being in talks to star in a new Phase Three Marvel film. Diesel also provided Groot's voice for several foreign-language releases of the film. Krystian Godlewski portrayed the character on set, though his acting was not used in the final character CGI. On the character, which Gunn based on his dog, Gunn said, "All the Guardians start out the movie as bastards—except Groot. He's an innocent. He's a hundred percent deadly and a hundred percent sweet. He's caught up in Rocket's life, really." Gunn added that the design and movement of Groot took "the better part of a year" to create. Gunn added, "The ways in which Vin Diesel says, 'I am Groot,' I am astounded. All of the 'I am Groots' that were earlier voices didn't sound very good at all ... Vin came in and in one day, laid down all these 'I am Groot' tracks, and he's a perfectionist. He made me explain to him with ever [sic] 'I am Groot,' exactly what he was saying ... It was amazing when we first put that voice in there how much the character changed and how much he influenced the character."Regarding the limited words used by Groot, Diesel said in many ways this was, "... the most challenging thing to ask an actor to do." Diesel found an emotional note in his performance, invoking the death of his friend and Fast & Furious co-star Paul Walker, saying, "This was in December , and the first time I came back to dealing with human beings after dealing with death, so playing a character who celebrates life in the way Groot does was very nice." Groot's form and size-changing abilities are seen, with Gunn stating that he has the ability to grow in the film.
- Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon: A genetically-engineered raccoon-based bounty hunter, mercenary, and master of weapons and battle tactics. Gunn worked with live raccoons to get the correct feel for the character, and to make sure it was "not a cartoon character", saying, "It's not Bugs Bunny in the middle of the Avengers, it's a real, little, somewhat mangled beast that's alone. There's no one else in the universe quite like him, he's been created by these guys to be a mean-ass fighting machine." Gunn also based the character on himself. Describing Rocket in relation to the rest of the Guardians, Cooper said, "I think Rocket is dynamic. He's the sort of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas guy." Cooper voiced Rocket, while Sean Gunn (James' younger brother) stood in for the character during filming. James Gunn said that for the role of Rocket, some physical movements from Cooper, including facial expressions and hand movements, were recorded as potential references for the animators, though much of Sean Gunn's acting is used throughout the film. Sean noted they "kind of stumbled" into the process of him performing on set since they "weren't sure how we were going to create that character". The same process continued to be used for all subsequent appearances of Rocket. Before Cooper was cast, James Gunn said that it was a challenge finding a voice for Rocket, that he was looking for someone who could balance "the fast-talking speech patterns that Rocket has, but also can be funny, because he is really funny. But also has the heart that Rocket has. Because there are actually some pretty dramatic scenes with Rocket."
- Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser: A Kree zealot and war criminal who agrees to retrieve an artifact for Thanos in exchange for the annihilation of his mortal enemies, the Xandarians. Ronan and his Sakaaran army hunt down the Guardians when they interfere with his goals. Describing Ronan, Gunn said, "He is the primary villain, and he is a really twisted guy, he has a really religious bent in this film. He has a very sick and twisted view of what morality is; strength is virtue and weakness is sin and that is what he lives by, and I think he is very scary because of his beliefs, which are real to him." Pace, who originally auditioned for Peter Quill, described Ronan as a "psycho" and a "monster".
- Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta: A blue-skinned bandit who is the leader of the Ravagers and a paternal figure to Quill. Yondu helps Quill to steal the orb before Quill betrays him, leaving Yondu and the Ravagers to chase the Guardians. On the character, Rooker said, he has "some interesting issues—not a good guy, not a bad guy. There's hope and there's a heart inside Yondu." Gunn created the film's version of the character specifically with Rooker in mind, while borrowing the character's mohawk and use of a whistle-controlled arrow from the comics. Rooker fully committed to the role once he knew his role on the TV series The Walking Dead would be ending. Rooker's makeup took approximately four hours to apply.
- Karen Gillan as Nebula: An adopted daughter of Thanos who was raised with Gamora as siblings and is a loyal lieutenant in the employ of Ronan and Thanos. About the character, Gillan said, "She is the female villain of the film ... She is very sadistic and evil, but I like to think for a very valid reason." She also added, "I think she's a really interesting character. What I like to play around with is how jealous she is. She's Gamora's sister, and there's a lot of sibling rivalry. That's the most interesting aspect to me, because jealousy can consume you and turn you bitter, and ugly. And she's a total sadist, so that's fun too." Gillan researched the ancient Spartans, shaved off her hair, and trained for two months for the role. The character's makeup took approximately four-and-a-half hours to be applied.
- Djimon Hounsou as Korath: A Kree ally of Ronan who is a feared intergalactic hunter. As to why he took the role, Hounsou said, "I have a four-year old son who loves superheroes from Spider-Man to Iron Man to Batman. He's got all the costumes. One day he looks at me and says 'Dad, I want to be light-skinned so I could be Spider-Man. Spider-Man has light skin.' That was sort of a shock. This is why I am excited to be a part of the Marvel Universe, so I could hopefully provide that diversity in the role of the superhero."
- John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey: A corpsman in the Nova Corps, the Nova Empire's military and police force.
- Glenn Close as Irani Rael: The leader of the Nova Corps, known as Nova Prime, whose mission is to protect the citizens of the Nova Empire and keep peace. Close stated that she "had always wanted to be in a movie like this", and that it would be "the most fun to play something like the Judi Dench [as M] or Samuel L. Jackson [as Nick Fury] role". She said that she took the role because she "love[s] to do stuff that's different" and wanted to show that she "[has] always been up for anything." She also stated that her contract has "several" films on it, and that she would be open to working on other Marvel Studios films in addition to returning for Guardians sequels.
- Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan / The Collector: An obsessive keeper of the largest collection of interstellar fauna, relics, and species in the galaxy who operates out of a place in space named Knowhere. Describing del Toro's performance, Gunn said, "He's like an outer-space Liberace. That's what it says in the script, which he's kind of doing." On bringing the character to life, del Toro said, "What James [Gunn] wanted, that I found out little by little as I was doing it, is that he wanted me to explore and just keep pushing the character and keep creating [him] as I was in front of the camera."
Additionally, Josh Brolin appears, uncredited, as Thanos through voice acting and performance capture, taking over the role from Damion Poitier. Sean Gunn stood in for Thanos during filming and portrays Kraglin Obfonteri, Yondu's first mate in the Ravagers. Alexis Denisof reprises his role as Thanos' vizier, "the Other", from The Avengers. Ophelia Lovibond plays Carina, the Collector's slave; Peter Serafinowicz plays Denarian Garthan Saal, a Nova Corps officer; Gregg Henry plays Quill's grandfather; Laura Haddock plays Quill's mother, Meredith; Melia Kreiling plays Bereet; Christopher Fairbank plays The Broker; Mikaela Hoover plays Nova Prime's assistant; Marama Corlett plays a pit boss at the bar, The Boot; Emmett J. Scanlan plays a Nova riot guard; Alexis Rodney plays Moloka Dar; Tom Proctor plays Horuz, a Ravager; and Spencer Wilding plays a prison guard who confiscates Quill's Walkman. Canine actor Fred appears as Cosmo. Stephen Blackehart had a supporting role. Naomi Ryan also had a supporting role in the film, though it was cut in the final version. Cameos in the film include: James Gunn as a Sakaaran; Stan Lee as a Xandarian Ladies' Man; Lloyd Kaufman as an inmate; Nathan Fillion as the voice of an inmate; Rob Zombie as the voice of the Ravager Navigator; composer Tyler Bates as a Ravager pilot; and Seth Green as the voice of Howard the Duck.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige first mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film during an interview at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, stating, "There are some obscure titles, too, like Guardians of the Galaxy. I think they've been revamped recently in a fun way in the book." In a September 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Feige reiterated that sentiment, going on to say, "There's an opportunity to do a big space epic, which Thor sort of hints at, in the cosmic side of the [Marvel] universe." In June 2012 Marvel filed eleven trademark applications for Guardians of the Galaxy, covering a variety of consumer products, from video games to cosmetics. This was shortly followed by rumours that the film had been greenlit, and would involve the supervillain Thanos as a potential lead-in to an Avengers sequel. Variety chimed in, stating that a script for the film, which the studio was high on, had been written by Nicole Perlman.
The film was officially announced as being in active development at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International Marvel Studios panel by Feige, with an intended release date of August 1, 2014. He stated that the film's titular team would consist of the characters Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon; while two pieces of concept art were displayed, one of Rocket Raccoon, and one featuring the full team. In August 2012 Marvel Studios hired writer Chris McCoy to rewrite Perlman's script. Later that month James Gunn entered talks to direct the film, beating out other contenders, including Peyton Reed and the duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. The Avengers director Joss Whedon, who signed a deal to creatively consult on all of the films leading into The Avengers sequel, including Guardians of the Galaxy, was enthusiastic about the selection of Gunn to direct, saying "James [Gunn] is what makes me think it will work... He is so off the wall, and so crazy, but so smart, such a craftsman and he builds from his heart. He loves the raccoon. Needs the raccoon... He has a very twisted take on it, but it all comes from a real love for the material. It's going to be hard for [the human characters] to keep up."
On September 18, 2012, Gunn confirmed in a post on his official Facebook page that he had signed on to direct the film and rewrite the script. In November, it was reported that Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace and Eddie Redmayne signed deals to test for the role of Peter Quill / Star-Lord. A week later Pace confirmed that he was auditioning for the role. Other actors who were reportedly considered for the role including Thor: The Dark World's Zachary Levi, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Rosenbaum. In February 2013, Chris Pratt was cast in the role.
In January 2013, it was reported that filming would take place at Shepperton Studios in London, England, and Marvel Studios announced that the film would be released in 3D. Victoria Alonso, an executive producer on the film, said that filming would begin in June. She also said that both Rocket Raccoon and Groot would be created through a combination of CGI and motion capture, going on to say that "You can’t do any motion capture with a raccoon – they won’t let you put the suit on [laughs]. But we will do rotomation, probably, for some of the behavior... we definitely will have performers to emulate what James Gunn will lead to be, the behavior and the performance. He’s very clear on where he wants to take the characters." In an interview published in a March 2013 issue of SFX, Kevin Feige discussed Guardians of the Galaxy in relation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "It’s much more of a standalone film," said Feige. "It takes place in the same universe. And when we’ve been on the other side of that universe in other movies, you might see those characteristics in Guardians, but the Avengers are not involved with what’s happening out there at this time." Feige also stated that 95% of the film would take place in space. In mid-March, Dave Bautista was signed to play Drax the Destroyer. Other actors who had been considered for the role included Isaiah Mustafa, Brian Patrick Wade and Jason Momoa. A week later it was reported that sculptor Brian Muir, who sculpted Darth Vader's mask for the Star Wars films, was working on the film.
In April 2013, Zoe Saldana entered into negotiations to star as Gamora in the film. A few weeks later, Michael Rooker joined the film's cast, as Yondu. Later in the month, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Saldana would star in the film, and reported that Ophelia Lovibond had been cast in a supporting role. The next day, it was reported that Lee Pace was in final negotiations to play the villain of the film. In May, HitFix reported that Marvel had offered John C. Reilly the role of Rhomann Dey, a character who the site described as a "human agent who serves as a go-between, keeping the Guardians in line and reporting to S.H.I.E.L.D. about their activities." The site also reported that the filmmakers were looking at actors, including Hugh Laurie, Alan Rickman, and Ken Watanabe, for another role, and that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were polishing the script. A few days later, Glenn Close was cast as the head of the Nova Corps in the film, followed shortly after by the casting of Karen Gillan as the film's lead female villain. In June 2013, it was reported that Benicio del Toro was cast in the film. Later in the month, Deadline.com confirmed that Reilly had been cast as Rhomann Dey.
Filming began on July 6, 2013 under the supposed working title of "Full Tilt".(citation needed) On July 20, 2013, James Gunn and the film's cast flew from London to attend the San Diego Comic-Con International, where it was revealed that Lee Pace would play Ronan the Accuser, Karen Gillan would be Nebula, Benicio del Toro as The Collector, and that Djimon Hounsou had been cast as Korath the Pursuer. It was later revealed that Glenn Close would play Nova Prime. Also at San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige stated that Thanos would be a part of the film as the "mastermind". On August 11 2013, filming began at London's Millennium Bridge. On the same day, Deadline.com reported that Vin Diesel is in talks to voice Groot, after being approached in early July by Marvel for a role in one of their films. On August 22, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Marvel Studios is in talks with Bradley Cooper to voice Rocket Raccoon. On August 27, 2013, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Diesel stated that he was originally in talks to star in a new Phase 3 Marvel film, but after hearing fan reaction at Comic-Con, Marvel presented him with the opportunity to voice Groot, as well as provide the motion capture for the character. On August 30, 2013, Marvel officially confirmed Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon. On September 3, Gunn tweeted that 66.3% of filming has been completed. On September 5, 2013, Diesel confirmed in a interview with Maria Menounos on her YouTube channel that he's voicing Groot.
In November 2013, Gunn stated that he attempted to use as many practical effects as possible when filming to aid in the use of CGI, saying, "Our sets are enormous. We have a prison that is 350,000 pounds of steel. Anybody who knows me knows I love the mix of practical and CGI effects... I can't wait for people to see it, because it's astonishingly beautiful." After it was revealed in Thor: The Dark World that the Tesseract and Aether were Infinity Stones, Feige stated that the Stones would be a focus in the film, as well as going forward into Phase Three. In a separate interview for The Dark World, Feige added that a third, unknown Infinity Stone would be revealed in the film.
In August 2013, Gunn posted on this Facebook page that Tyler Bates would be composing the film's score. Gunn stated that Bates will write some of the score first so that he can film to the music, opposed to scoring to the film.
In July 2013, producer Kevin Feige, director James Gunn, and cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Dave Bautista, Benicio Del Toro, Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou held a panel at 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International and presented footage from the film. In August, Feige presented the same footage at Disney's D23 Expo. Also in August, Disney partnered with Mad Engine, C-Life and New Era to produce merchandise for the film. Mad Engine and C-Life were partnered as the core apparel outfitters, producing a line of t-shirts and fleece jackets, while New Era will produce headwear and hats. The companies were joined by Hasbro, Disguise, and Sideshow Collectibles, who will produce toys, costumes and collectibles for the film.
Guardians of the Galaxy earned $333.7 million in North America and an estimated $439.6 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $773.3 million. The film became the third-highest-grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, behind The Avengers and Iron Man 3. It was the third-highest-grossing 2014 film (behind Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies) and the highest-grossing superhero film of 2014. It had a worldwide opening weekend of $160.7 million. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit for the film to be $204.2 million, when factoring together "production budgets, P&A, talent participations, and other costs, with box office grosses, and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV," placing it fifth on their list of 2014's "Most Valuable Blockbusters".
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported a 92% approval rating with an average rating of 7.82/10, based on 328 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Guardians of the Galaxy is just as irreverent as fans of the frequently zany Marvel comic would expect — as well as funny, thrilling, full of heart, and packed with visual splendor." Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while earning an "A+" among under-18 and 25- to 34-year-old viewers.
In 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy was featured as one of the 100 greatest films of all time in Empire magazine's poll of The 100 Greatest Movies, as the highest MCU film on the list.
- The first non-Avengers Marvel property developed by Walt Disney Pictures.
- Although the Guardians of the Galaxy were created way back in 1969 by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, the movie will be primarily focused on the 2008 reinvention of the team by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
- Joel Edgerton, Eddie Redmayne, Jensen Ackles, Lee Pace, Wes Bentley, Jack Huston, Cam Gigandet, Sullivan Stapleton, Logan Marshall-Green, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Lowell, James Marsden, Jim Sturgess, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aaron Paul, Michael Rosenbaum and John Krasinski auditioned and screen tested for the role of Peter Quill/ Star Lord. Pace was cast as Ronan the Accuser.
- The Guardians of the Galaxy is primarily based on the 2008 comic team (Star-Lord, Gamora, Nova, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and Groot), but features Yondu, a member of the original 1969 comic team.
- Olivia Wilde turned down the role of Gamora, while Gina Carano, Rachel Nichols and Adrianne Palicki auditioned before the role went to Zoe Saldana.
- According to producer Victoria Alonso, Rocket Raccoon and Groot will be created through a mix of motion-capture and rotomation VFX.
- Iron Man was planned to have a cameo role in this film (in homage to his being the Guardians' latest member in the comics), but this was scrapped when Robert Downey Jr. said he may not reprise his role as Tony Stark in any non-Avengers film.
- To prepare for the role of Nebula, Karen Gillan shaved her head.
- According to the filmmakers, Rocket Raccoon in this film is a unique product of experimentation: "He's a little animal that was taken and experimented on and pulled apart and put back together again and implanted with cybernetics and he's half-machine and half-raccoon. And he's a gnarled, miserable, angry creature because there's nothing else like him. And that's something not easy to be."
- Director James Gunn cites "Iron Man" as an influence on the film: "we are starting Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is Marvel Cosmic. And we're doing exactly what they did with the first Iron Man film."
- When attending the 18th Nantucket Film Festival, Glenn Close stated that she only agreed to star in the film since "it will then afford me to go do the other kind of movies that I really love". However, she followed it up by saying; "And hopefully I will have a great time. It'll be a new experience for me, but practically speaking it will mean that I can do those smaller movies and it'll be okay."
- According to Kevin Feige, Peter Quill left earth in the mid-80's but by the beginning of the film he's "very much a citizen of the universe", Gamora is initially introduced as a villain working with Ronan and Nebula whilst being associated with Thanos and has a reputation as the deadliest woman in the galaxy, Drax is on a hunt to kill Ronan because of a past tragedy, Rocket Raccoon has been genetically and mechanically altered due to being an experiment from one part of the galaxy and Groot is a species that happens to look like trees and is somewhat communicative if one can understand the different inflections in the way he says "I am Groot".
- Regarding the villains, Kevin Feige stated that Ronan the Accuser is intended to be the main villain of the film yet Thanos is lurking above it all, also revealing that the audience will learn more of him beyond his brief appearance/smirk at the end of The Avengers.
- Kevin stated the movie won't exactly reveal what year or month it takes place in relation to the other Phase Two films but it is definitely taking place around the same time.
- James Gunn has stated on his Facebook page that unlike most films, Tyler Bates would write some of the score so the director could film to the music.
- Adam Sandler, David Tennant, Sharlto Copley, Jim Carrey and H. Jon Benjamin were amongst the actors considered to voice Rocket Raccoon.
- Glenn Howerton auditioned for the role of Star-Lord.
- When Karen Gillan was announced to star in the film, it was rumored that was she was going to play Angela, a sword wielding bounty hunter from the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books. But the Scottish actress was cast in the role of the brutal space pirate Nebula and shaved off her hair for the role.
- All characters are new in the cinematic universe except for The Collector (Marvel) who first appeared in Thor: The Dark World.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was released on May 5, 2017, again written and directed by James Gunn. Pratt, Saldana, Bautista, Diesel, Cooper, Rooker, Gillan, and Sean Gunn all reprise their roles in the film, and are joined by Pom Klementieff as Mantis,Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, and Kurt Russell as Quill's father Ego.
In April 2017, Gunn announced he would return to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. However, in July 2018, Disney and Marvel severed ties with Gunn following the resurfacing of old controversial tweets where Gunn joked about topics such as rape and pedophilia. Production was put on hold a month later. In March 2019, Disney and Marvel Studios reversed course and reinstated Gunn as director. In November 2020, Gunn confirmed that the script was finished. Principal photography is expected to begin in 2021, after Gunn has completed work on the film The Suicide Squad (2021) and its spin-off television series Peacemaker. Vol. 3 will be released in May 2023.