With Marvel Studio’s next superhero space adventure Guardians of the Galaxy hitting theaters on August 1st this year, how much do you really know about the key member of this rather unorthodox team? Yes! The gun-toting critter Rocket Raccoon is very well the heart of the team and we’ve got 5 points and facts to get you started.
1. Origin Story
Centuries ago, a group of alien humanoids settled in the largest planet in the Keystone Quadrant star system. They built a complex to house and treat the insane, recording their medical observations in a psychiatric diary. When their funding was cut, they abandoned the project, but not before they created a staff of robots to provide for the humanoids. They then separated the quadrant from the rest of the galaxy with an impenetrable force field. When a nearby star went nova, ensuing radiation gave life to the robots, who quickly chafed at the illogical of the humanoids, or “Loonies”. Seeking to end their servitude, the robots used genetic engineering to give intelligence and awareness to the animals that had been left as companions for the patients. They charged the animals with the patients’ care and protection, then relocated to the far side of the planet. The half-industrial, half-verdant planet became known as Halfworld. Rocket was appointed as Halfworld’s chief law officer/ranger who protected the colony against various threats.
2. Powers and Abilities
- Raccoon Physiology: Rocket possesses the normal attributes of an Earth raccoon, including speed, an acute sense of smell and sharp eyesight, which have been additionally amplified by his training.
- Enhanced Senses: Being a raccoon many of Rocket’s senses are heightened to levels well above human. Able to see much better than the average human and extremely well adapted to near dark conditions. His enhanced sense of smell allows him to detect subtle changes in scents around him enabling him to detect the approach of others and increasing his ability to operate in darkness. With his broad auditory range, he can perceive tones outside the range of the human ear as well as subtle sounds caused by vibrations on the ground. His hyper sensitive paws allow him to identify objects before touching them with specialised whiskers located above his claws.
- Expert Marksman: Rocket is well-versed in the use of high-powered firearms, from all over the Galaxy
- Martial Artist: Rocket is an expert in hand-to-hand combat being very skilled in multiple fighting styles.
- Master Tactician and Strategist: He is an accomplished strategist, both on and off the battlefield. Starlord once told him, “You got the best tactical mind I ever met.” He is able to formulate battle strategies and his brilliant tactical sense allows him to alter any strategy to fit the changing need of the situation.
- Pilot : Rocket is an accomplished starship pilot.
- 2 laser pistols as well as other assorted heavy weapons
- Rocket-powered jet boots
3. Rocket’s Inclusion into the Guardians of the Galaxy
Over the course of his adventures, Rocket Raccoon was captured and held prisoner by the Kree, an intelligent race from the planet Hala. It was there he was introduced to Peter Quill aka the “Starlord” and the founding member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, as a member of his team to help halt the Phalanx‘s attempted conquest of the galaxy. Rocket Raccoon acted as a gifted military tactician who was also fearless, loyal, and insightful. Later on, when the team almost disbands and Peter Quill disappears (sent into the Negative Zone), Rocket keeps the team alive, and brings in Groot as member, as the two had become firm friends. Rocket takes over as leader until they rescue Peter, and save the Earth from an alien invasion.
4. Rocket Raccoon Will Be Voiced by Bradley Cooper
Yes! Hangover’s Bradley Cooper has been chosen as the official voice of Rocket Raccoon in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie, thus joining the rest of the team & cast Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista) on their epic adventure. “Guardians of the Galaxy” will mark Cooper’s first voice-over work, who hinted at the voice he might be using for the movie by saying, “”One thing we debated was…he’s seen as a cockney accent sometimes, so we talked about whether we’d do that or do this sort of other guy from the city a little bit.” As vague as that description might be, it’ll remain interesting to see if Cooper can pull off the tough guy intimidation factor, which Rocket is synonymous with.
5. How did they make Rocket Raccoon in the upcoming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ motion picture
Director James Gunn used a live raccoon on set in order to help animators accurately capture the motion and behaviors of a raccoon for their CGI model, admitting that working with a real animal is probably the most difficult way you could go. He had this to say, during one of his interviews,
“We needed a raccoon to study how he looked and his behavior, so that our on-screen raccoon, which is generated through CGI will be realistic. Our Rocket is based on a combination of our voice actor, Bradley Cooper, our on-set actor, my brother Sean Gunn, the movements and behavior and look of Oreo [the raccoon], as well as my own animation.”
I guess dealing with a live animal was a necessary sacrifice in order to create the best warrior raccoon possible 🙂
How do you feel about the prospect of Rocket Raccoon becoming a major player in the Marvel Movie Universe? Do you think Gunn has the right approach to making the character a blockbuster action star? Will Bradley Cooper nail the character’s voice and swagger? I guess only time (and a big trailer) will tell.