Is Michael Rooker a good luck charm? That's what James Gunn must be thinking right about now. He's just cast the "Walking Dead" star in his upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy, alongside Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista. It's the third motion picture collaboration between Gunn and Rooker, after their genre-bending sorta-comedies Slither and Super.
Deadline reports that Michael Rooker won't be playing one of the newer, more popular team members of The Guardians of the Galaxy, so your hopes of a Rooker-voiced Rocket Raccoon are thoroughly dashed. Instead, Rooker will play a member of the original 1969 superhero team, Yondu. The blue-skinned, red-finned alien from the planet Centauri IV, the first planet colonized by humans outside of Earth's solar system (within the Marvel Universe mythology, that is). In the comics, Yondu – a hunter with empathic powers – was born in the 30th Century, and as such will either have to time travel back to the present day for the Guardians of the Galaxy feature film, or simply be retconned into the present day.
It's the first news we've heard that the original Guardians of the Galaxy team will appear in James Gunn's film, which will focus on the contemporary version of the interstellar superheroes, consisting of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccon and the living tree known as Groot. Neither Rocket Raccoon or Groot have been cast yet, but Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey have been rumored as potential voice talent for the CGI creations. No word yet on whether Yondu's teammates – Martinex, Vance Astro and Captain Charlie-27 – will also appear in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but it now seems like a possibility at least.
Michael Rooker made his motion picture debut in the title role of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, one of the best motion pictures about serial killers ever made, and still one of Rooker's best performances. In the years that followed, he's co-starred in films ranging from Tombstone to Mallrats to The Bone Collector. He recently reprised his role of Merle Dixon in the third season of the popular AMC series "The Walking Dead" but, well, let's just say he probably won't come back for Season Four.
Guardians of the Galaxy is scheduled to hit theaters on August 4, 2014.
William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel, co-host of The B-Movies Podcast, co-star of The Trailer Hitch, and the writer of The Test of Time. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.