This shouldn’t really come as a massive surprise, but actor Michael Rooker has now joined the cast of Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Rooker has a close working relationship with Guardians writer/director James Gunn, having appeared in Gunn’s previous films Slither and Super. He’s probably best known to the general public for playing Merle on AMC’s The Walking Dead, and while most pegged Rooker for the role of Rocket Raccooon in the space-set Marvel film, he’ll actually be tackling the role of Yondu. Hit the jump for more.
Per Deadline, Rooker will be playing the character Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy. In the comics, Yondu was a founding member of the Guardians and belongs to the Zatoan tribe, a group of primitive beings native to Centauri IV. He possesses no superhuman physical powers, but he’s a hunter and a natural mystic, with the ability to develop empathetic relationships with other lifeforms.
When Marvel first announced a Guardians of the Galaxy film, it was revealed that the Guardians characters would include Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot the anthropomorphic tree. Thusly, Yondu is a suprising addition and I’m interested to see what kind of story Gunn is cooking up here. The only roles left to fill (that we know of) are the likely performance-capture characters Rocket Raccoon and Groot, as Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and David Bautista are already set to play Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax, respectively. There’s also the matter of the film’s villain(s), which will likely include Thanos and reportedly The Controller.
Guardians of the Galaxy begins production this summer in London in anticipation of an August 1, 2014 release date.