Chris Pratt Will Star in Guardians of the Galaxy

The 'Parks and Recreation' actor has been cast as Star-Lord in James Gunn's sci-fi epic.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Marvel Studios cast a pretty wide net when searching for its Star-Lord. The principle character in Guardians of the Galaxy – the sci-fi superhero team movie scheduled for August 1, 2014 – was being considered for everyone from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises) to Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) to Lee Pace (Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2) to Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty). It seemed like every age-appropriate actor in Hollywood was announced as being on Marvel's short list. And who did the part go to?

Someone nobody ever mentioned before. It figures.

Deadline is reporting that Chris Pratt has been cast as Star-Lord, the half-human/half-alien leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt has been appearing in movies since 2000, but only recently rose to potential stardom thanks to breakout roles in the TV series "Parks and Recreation," and supporting turns in the critically-acclaimed Oscar-contenders Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. Though he's best-known for his comedy, that could be a good thing: Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is well-known for his ability to match humor with surprising dramatic depth in superhero-based films like Super and The Specials (for which Gunn co-starred and wrote the screenplay). Pratt has been successfully stretching his dramatic muscles lately, but is clearly capable of bringing some levity to a film that needs as much entertainment value as possible to appeal to wide audiences who, by and large, probably have no idea who The Guardians of the Galaxy are.

Now, who's going to play his teammates, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora (the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy), Groot the living tree and Rocket Raccoon? We're hearing rumors – including Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey as, we assume, Rocket Raccoon – but nothing official yet. Now that Star-Lord has been locked down, we expect more official casting news shortly if the production is really going to get underway in time for a theatrical release in a year and a half.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel, the co-host of The B-Movies Podcast and the co-star of The Trailer Hitch. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.