Because of its setting and its status as the penultimate Phase Two movie, everyone immediately assumed that Guardians of the Galaxy would tee up Thanos as the villain for 2015's Avengers sequel. But Ultron is apparently the bad guy in Avengers: Age of Ultron and when Benicio Del Toro joined the cast of Gunn's film, it seemed that his character, The Collector, would be the antagonist.
In a print interview with Empire transcribed by Comic Book Movie, Feige says that Lee Pace's character is, in fact, the villain, with the bad guy teased during the credits of The Avengers playing a secondary role. “Ronan The Accuser is very much the main bad guy," Feige explains. "And Thanos is lurking above it all. You will learn more about Thanos in Guardians, for sure. Certainly you’ll get more than the one turn around and smirk. You’ll get much more than that!”
As for whether or not Guardians of the Galaxy takes place concurrently with fellow Phase Two movies Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Feige says, “The general answer is yes. It’s not exactly revealed what year or month it is in relation to the other Phase Two films. But yes, it’s the same time.”
This phase in Marvel's grand plan is less dependent on cross-pollinating the franchises, but Feige says this film is particular connected, saying, “Certainly more than the others. We’ve already said that Thanos plays a part in it and is a character in it. That in and of itself should tell you it’s connected to the other worlds.”
From what little we've seen, Guardians of the Galaxy is very much a James Gunn movie. And that means The Rook. Michael Rooker has appeared in both of Gunn's directorial features, Slither and Super. Here, he plays Yondu. If you've ever wanted to see Rooker as a mohawk-sporting extraterrestrial, then you're in luck. SuperHeroHype caught some pictures from the production, shooting a scene in Surrey, just outside London, involving a downed spacecraft.
The first features an unidentified character, and the rest show off Yondu himself:
The fellow holding a coffee cup above is none other than Gunn himself.
Not pictured above are castmembers Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Ophelia Lovibond, or aforementioned players Del Toro and Pace. Also Cooper and Vin Diesel, voicing Rocket Raccoon and Groot, respectively.
Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in theaters on August 1, 2014.