Last, but certainly not least, in our character profiles for Marvel’s new film Guardians of the Galaxy, we look into the life and times of Rocket Raccoon. Voiced by Bradley Cooper, Rocket is by far the strangest of the Guardians you’ll be seeing on screen, and that’s saying something when one of his teammates is a walking, talking tree. This diminutive anthropomorphic gunslinger packs the most artillery of group, carrying guns that you would think would be difficult for a normal person to wield, let alone a raccoon. Hit the jump for more info on what’s sure to be the breakout character of the film.
The Strangest Origin of All Time
Ok, bear with me on this one, because things are going to get weird. Rocket was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen in 1976, making his debut in an issue of Marvel Preview. Fun fact, his name actually originated from the Beatles song, “Rocky Raccoon”. Story wise, the smallest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy splashed onto the scene on a planet called “Halfworld”. This planet housed the galaxy’s mentally ill, and in order to keep them all taken care of and somewhat happy, their pets were genetically altered to give them the intelligence of human beings, along with arms and legs in order to, you know, grab things like dinner trays and tv remotes. Rocket was appointed to be the sheriff of this planet, along with his trusty talking Walrus sidekick, Wal Russ (whatever floats your boat, Marvel Comics in the 70’s!). He also had his own ship called the Rack n’ Ruin which he used to travel through the stars as if they were the seven seas, combatting evil where he could…..with Wal Russ.
So I guess Rocket isn’t exactly a raccoon in the traditional sense, as he doesn’t come from Earth by any means, but he looks exactly like you would expect one to look like who was holding a rocket launcher over his shoulder. Much like other characters Star-Lord and Groot, R.R. had a handful of appearances in the 70’s, and appeared about once a decade following suit, but was reintroduced along with most of the other Guardians during the Annihilation saga in 2006. Rocket actually comes up with the name for the team around this time, as there had been other prior incarnations before this one—but that’s for another day. He forms his friendship with Groot, allowing the ageless flora to carry him around as he blasts enemies into extinction.
Blam! Murdered You!
With the proportional strength, speed, and agility of a raccoon, Rocket can handle any threat. Well, any threat with the help of his trusted armory of guns and weapons of mass destruction. While he may be reliant on his weaponry in tow, R.R. is also a master strategist and tactician, able to come up with methods to help himself and his teammates out of any sticky situation. Kind of makes you wonder why HE isn’t the leader of the team. He’s also an expert marksman and starship pilot, meaning whatever technology you may have on hand, Rocket will work his way around it in a timely fashion.
Rocket, as mentioned above, also is not an actual raccoon, but considering he looks like one, he couldn’t exactly be named Rocket “Not Actually A Raccoon But A Genetically Modified Creature From An Insane Asylum Planet.” On his last visit to Earth, he actually encountered a number of raccoons and was deeply “creeped out” by them. Rocket also has the ability to understand what his good friend Groot is saying at any given time. How this ability manifested itself when the tree can only convey emotions and thoughts by saying, “I am Groot” has yet to be revealed, but I like to think their bromance gave R.R. this ability.
This Rocket’s Going Places
Let me go back and start from a time when a younger Evan had heard about the resurgence of Marvel’s cosmic line. I grew up on stories like Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity Crusade, Infinity War, and Infinity Debacle (ok that last one was made up), and so when all these characters started to emerge back into the stable of Marvel characters, I was thrilled. The series that piqued my interest the most was Guardians of the Galaxy, which spawned from the Annihilation Saga, and I can still recall hearing about the plans for the movie. If you had told me that Rocket Raccoon was going to be a household name within the next few years, I would call you crazy, but here we are! It’s still hard to believe that we’re being brought this character, as voiced by the talent that is Bradley Cooper. At first, to be honest, I was a little skeptical (and truth be told, I had no idea what Rocket should sound like anyway) but from what I’ve seen, I think Cooper will knock it out of the park. Coincidentally, Rocket has appeared in several cartoons and video games with a British Cockney accent for whatever reason.
Of all the characters on the team, Rocket just stands apart since he’s such a strange, original idea. How many genetically modified raccoons (sort of) do you see bouncing around a story? We’ll have to wait and see if Guardians becomes a success to verify whether Rocket will make a return appearance to the Marvel cinescape, but as of now, things are looking good.