With production now well underway on director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige spoke with Empire about the sci-fi adventure, describing each of the central team in his own words and speaking a bit about Thanos' overall role.
"Ronan The Accuser is very much the main bad guy," he says. "And Thanos is lurking above it all. You will learn more about Thanos in 'Guardians,' for sure. Certainly you’ll get more than the one turn-around-and-smirk. You’ll get much more than that."
Although Feige describes Guardians of the Galaxy as being more of a standalone film than other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is quick to point out that there will be reminders of a shared continuity.
"We’ve already said that Thanos plays a part in it and is a character in it," he says. "That in and of itself should tell you it’s connected to the other worlds."
Describing the Guardians themselves as an "unlikely band," Feige goes on to break down the five central characters as follows:
Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista)
"Drax has one goal and one goal only, which is to kill Ronan because of a past tragedy."
Gamora (Zoe Saldana)
"When we meet Gamora, she’s a bad guy working with Ronan and Nebula and Korath and, by extension, for Thanos. Gamora doesn’t necessarily like doing that anymore, and tries to find a new path for herself. But she has such a reputation as the deadliest woman in the galaxy that people aren’t greeting her with open arms."
Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)
"Peter Quill left Earth in the mid-’80s, but when we meet back up with him he’s very much a citizen of the universe."
"Groot is a species that happens to look like trees look, and is quite communicative if you can understand the different inflections in the way he says, 'I am Groot.'"
"Rocket has been genetically and mechanically altered, he’s an experiment from one part of the galaxy.
Also starring Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Gregg Henry, Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters August 1, 2014.