If you were wondering just how Marvel could up the stakes for their movies after introducing Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Marvel's The Avengers, then Kevin Feige has four simple words in response: Guardians of The Galaxy.

Talking to Crave Online, Feige said that, while Marvel did already know what its second movie release of 2014 (behind Captain America 2) would be, it wasn't ready to name the project yet. However, when listing projects in development at the studio, he mentioned Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, The Inhumans and Guardians of The Galaxy, before going on to say,

We are very excited about bringing things like that, maybe things exactly like that, to the screen. [...] When you tell people, you know what would be really cool? This movie, and there's a raccoon, and there's a tree... And they go, 'What?' And people like you know what it is, and get excited. And the majority of people go, 'Did you say a raccoon and a tree?' 'Oh yeah, they're going to steal the whole movie. They're hilarious.' 'Okay, I'll believe it when I see it.' I like that.

That definitely sounds like the most recent incarnation of Marvel's earliest cosmic super team, a fact that Feige confirmed when asked, saying "Yeah, it's more Star-Lord and Drax and Gamora, and less Vance Astro and that team."

The Guardians of the Galaxy were created in 1969 by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan as super-heroes from an alternate future Earth that had survived both ecological disaster and alien invasion (all but one of the characters was an alien, in fact); after guest-starring in various series such as Marvel Team-Up, The Defenders and The Avengers for much of the 1970s, the team disappeared for the majority of the next decade before receiving their own series in the early 1990s.

The name was revived in 2008 by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning for an entirely different team that spun out of the critically-acclaimed Annihilation: Conquest mini-series. The second team -- made up of various b-list-or-lower supporting characters, failed leads (Star-Lord, the leader of the team, had been the subject of some of the earliest collaborations between Chris Claremont and John Byrne, long before they teamed up on Uncanny X-Men) and, yes, a talking Space Raccoon -- carried their own monthly series for twenty-five issues, before the team disbanded with the book's cancellation.

This mention of a Guardians film counts as the first on-the-record confirmation of the project's existence following months of speculation. No writer or director has been attached in those rumors, however.

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