At the time, Guardians of the Galaxy was comfortably viewed as the biggest risk in Marvel Cinematic Universe history. Up until the summer of 2014, all of the franchise’s previous movies featured characters that most people had at least heard of, even if they weren’t overly familiar with them.
James Gunn’s cosmic blockbuster was a massive gamble for the studio, and there were a lot of people expecting it to be the MCU’s first notable box office bomb. Of course, the exact opposite was true; Guardians would go on to win widespread critical acclaim and earn $772 million at the box office, turning the titular team into household names.
Kevin Feige knew he was venturing into the unknown, and in new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe via ComicBook, the architect of the shared mythology reveals that he considered slowly introducing the main characters through a series of One-Shot short films.
“We toyed with the idea of doing short films on Drax, on Rocket and Groot, and on Gamora, leading up to Guardians. Then you’d start Guardians. And halfway through, we would reveal that big space hero is the kid from the short. We thought that would be clever, but it was too much.”
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Fans regularly bemoan the premature end of the Marvel One-Shot, but it was a much better move to simply trust Gunn’s vision for Guardians of the Galaxy, instead of debuting Drax, Rocket, Groot and Gamora in short films. That sense of the unknown ultimately helped the film in the end, especially when the reviews started rolling in that showered the irreverent intergalactic effort with the utmost praise.