This Guardians Of The Galaxy Actor Was James Gunn’s Only 1st Choice Actually Cast In Legendary MCU Film

The day James Gunn pitched Guardians of the Galaxy to Marvel, he went with a "little book" containing his ideas on the perfect cast for each of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic characters. Only one from the book was actually cast...
Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn

Guardians of the Galaxy graced our screens for the first time in 2014 and the movie was an instant hit. The same goes for its sequels Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which came out in 2017, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 which was released in 2023.

All three were directed by James Gunn back when he was still working for Marvel Studios. Although the Slither director is now the co-president and co-CEO of DC Studios, he revealed in Disney+’s Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 documentary that his initial choice of actors for the movie never made it to screen…except for one person.

Who Was The Lucky Actor?

(L-R): Karen Gillan, James Gunn, and Chris Pratt on the set Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2023 MARVEL.

Imagine drafting a plan on how to run a project only to get better ideas that overthrow your initial draft. That’s exactly how it was with James Gunn when he brought a list of actors that he had in mind for the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy. According to the director of Peacemaker, the day he pitched Guardians of the Galaxy to Marvel, he went with a “little book” containing his ideas on the perfect cast for each of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic characters.

“When I first went to Marvel and I pitched ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ I brought a little book. I had worked very hard trying to put this little book together of all the little pictures and photo references, and all that stuff. And in that book, there were all the characters listed and who I thought should play those characters.”

– James Gunn –

RELATED: Guardians of the Galaxy 3: Zoe Saldana Offers New Hope For Gamora’s End

James went on to reveal that somehow, none of the actors that he had in mind were picked, except for one person, Zoe Saldaña who played Gamora.

“And of course, none of those actors who were in that book ended up playing the characters, except for Zoe Saldaña, who I met and loved from the beginning.”

– James Gunn –

From what was gathered, the feeling is mutual with Zoe because elsewhere in the Assembly special, she gave a vote of thanks to James for trusting her with the role throughout her run in the franchise.

“I want to thank you [Gunn], you have been a wonderful person. You believed in me before I even believed in myself. So thank you for sticking by me. I’m going to miss Gamora, but I’m not going to miss the four hours of makeup.”

– Zoe Saldaña –

Zoe Saldaña’s Vision For Gamora That Never Came To Be

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Zoe bid farewell to Marvel Studios with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and is set to move on to the next chapter of her career. Her character Gamora, Thanos’ adopted daughter and Nebula’s sister, went from being an assassin for Thanos, to betraying Thanos, to becoming a Guardian and Star Lord’s love interest before finally joining the Ravagers.

Although the Avatar actress is grateful for the opportunity to star in the franchise, she revealed during her speech in Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on Disney+, that she would have loved her character Gamora and her on-screen sister Nebula, played by Karen Gillan, to get a spin-off based solely on the evolution of their sisterhood. Sadly, the pitch was not approved.

RELATED: Avatar Star Zoe Saldana Describes 2009 Film As “My Juilliard” After Lessons Learned From Legendary Director

“I would have loved to have just seen a spin-off based on that sisterhood. It’s so complex. It’s so controversial. It’s also so relatable in a sense that, not me by personal experience, but knowing that there are siblings out there that have had troubled lives at home, and managed to survive because of their kinship, because of their brotherhood or their sisterhood.”

– Zoe Saldaña –

The franchise showed how Gamora and Nebula evolved through the years. They began hating each other because Thanos always made them fight each other. Gamora would always emerge as the winner, while Thanos would break Nebula’s body apart and replace it with robotic technology after each loss. The two slowly found a common ground and began respecting each other throughout the course of the MCU.

Zoe and Karen pitched the spin-off with the title “Sisters of Justice” while promoting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 because they believed the story would go a long way to impact siblings who have had it rough while growing up. Their characters have also gone on to become fan favorites and Karen once shared that she and Zoe share a special bond because of their comic characters.


“Me and Zoe are so bonded through the experience of playing these characters. It’s crazy. Like we feel really protective over the sister relationship and how it’s portrayed on screen and it just really matters to the both of us. It’s something that we just connected with a lot. And over the years, it’s resulted in a really special bond between the two of us.”

– Karen Gillan –

Characters That Made Guardians of the Galaxy Worthy

guardians of the galaxy 3 start date

Aside from Zoe, who executed her character Gamora with finesse, other cast members like Chris Pratt also had memorable beginnings. Reports have it that Chris flopped his final audition for the role, but his saving grace was his chemistry with Dave Bautista.


Dave Baustista’s character, Drax the Destroyer, also had an important role in getting viewers glued to their screens. Drax became a scene-stealer by always being eager to destroy anything, while also having a joyful ignorance that provided comic relief on its own. The crew wouldn’t be complete without Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon. From the get-go, Rocket captured the hearts of fans with his sarcastic quips and also his comradeship with Vin Diesel’s Groot, who only utters three words “I am Groot.”

guardians of the galaxy

Seeing how these casts made Guardians of the Galaxy what it is today, do you think the movie will still be loved if played by different actors? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media. Keep following The Illuminerdi for more Marvel and Disney+ content like this, we’re always watching.


SOURCE: Screenrant, TheDirect


Chijioke Chukwuemeka

Chijioke Chukwuemeka

Chijioke or Ceej is a Prolific Writer, an Author of Romance Novels, a Journalist, Blogger and lots more. Her articles focuses on Celebrities, Fashion, Lifestyle, Movies, Wrestlings like the WWE, AEW and IMPACT! Wrestling. Ceej loves to travel and this is not because she is a travel writer but because she loves to visit new places, meet new people and learn more on different cultures. Of all the festive seasons in the year, Ceej loves the Christmas holidays the most. Ceej loves watching cartoons and Marvel movies, she dreams of visiting the WWE Headquarters and wishes more than anything in the world to be a WWE Superstar someday.