Fresh off playing the ruthless Merle in The Walking Dead's third season, actor Michael Rooker is slipping into another comics-based role, but this time around he'll be considerably more heroic and presumably much bluer. That's because he's taking on the role of founding Guardian Yondu in next summer's Guardians of the Galaxy.

One might suspect Rooker got the job because he seems to have a pretty good working relationship with director James Gunn. He was the super-gross monster in Gunn's 2006 horror-comedy Slither and a ruthless thug in Gunn's 2010 superhero satire Super.Yondu has been a part of the Marvel Universe for nearly 50 years, first appearing, along with the other three original members of the Guardians of the Galaxy in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan.

Promo art from the film doesn't show Yondu (or any of the other founding members -- Vance Astro, Charlie-27 or Martinex -- for that matter) as part of the movie's core team, though that would make sense given that the original team is from an alternate universe's 31st Century and only occasionally traveled back in time to meet up with current-day heroes. As of right now, it's unclear exactly what his role will be.

Guardians of the Galaxy is set to open August 1, 2014.

[Via Deadline]