Next summer, the biggest installment will be released in the continuing growth of the Marvel Universe on film. Guardians of the Galaxy is all but unknown, even to devoted comic book fans. Created as part of an anthology series by Arnold Drake (Doom Patrol) and Gene Colan (Tomb of Dracula, Daredevil), the Guardians are a peace keeping group of assorted aliens from far off places, uniting to defeat a common threat. In other words, a cosmic version of the Avengers. It was a short-lived concept that lived on through guest appearances and a brief revival in the 90's.

In 2008, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning recreated the team in the aftermath of their mega story line Annihilation: Conquest. The new series had very few similarities to the old one, except for the fact that it concerned a group of heroes from varied backgrounds uniting against a common foe. Unusual choices were made by including Rocket Raccoon and Groot, a tree-god from another world hearkening back to the days when Marvel published monster books. Fan favorite heroes such as Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and others gave the team some muscle, and leading them into battle was the reluctant Star Lord.

Guardians of the Galaxy became a cult hit with comic book fans almost immediately (which translates as 'it got canceled'). After reading a single collection of this series, making it into a film is a no-brainer. It has a n interesting and visually diverse cast of characters, combines Star Wars with superheroics and adds depth to the MU.

Written and directed by James Gunn (Super, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and Dawn of the Dead), the ensemble film is a total about face from previous entries in the Marvel Universe pantheon of feature films. From the leaked footage, this looks to be a bizarre mish-mash of action, drama and humor set in an entirely new corner of the Marvel Universe, outer space.

Short trailer footage from SDCC2013

The cast of the film is just as bizarre as the concept of a talking tree or gun-toting raccoon. Doctor Who's Karen Gillan as the villainous Nebula, John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz as Nova Corpsmen, Benicio Del Toro as the Collector and Glenn Close as Nova Prime?? They must be kidding!

But leaked footage and information including props on display at this year's Sam Diego Comic Con confirms that this could be the next Avengers for Marvel. So as the new floats in and next August gets closer, keep this film in mind because it could be a blockbuster unlike anything we had seen before.

(Fingers crossed)

(Images below show Star Lord's mask, Drax's blades, Nova Corpsman suits, concept pictures and more)