The cast of Marvel's Phase Two superhero ensemble Guardians of the Galaxy is starting to come together, although we still don't know what roles many of these actors will have. An inside source has revealed who Benicio Del Toro, Lee Pace, and Karen Gillan are playing. There will be spoilers throughout the remainder of this article, so read on at your own risk.
Benicio Del Toro is playing Taneleer Tivan, a.k.a. Collector, a role many believed Lee Pace had signed on for back in April. Instead, Lee Pace is playing Ronan the Accuser and Karen Gillan will be portraying Nebula.
Collector, also known as Taneleer Tivan, being played by Benicio Del Toro, is one of the oldest characters in the Marvel universe, dating back billions of years ago. His true origin has been lost in antiquity, though he is among the first of the universe's races to become sentient in the wake of the Big Bang. Virtually immortal, the Collector spent the first millennia of his existence with his wife and daughter on the tranquil world he chose as his home base. When their daughter had grown to maturity and left them, the Collector's wife died of mysterious causes. The Collector was unprepared for her demise: he had thought her as immortal as well. In meditation, he realized that an important factor in an Elder's immortality is the will to live, and his wife had simply lost hers. Determined not to succumb to his wife's malady, the Collector meditated upon what he might do to give his life meaning. In a vision, he foresaw that beings of great power would arise one day determined to destroy all life in the universe. To prevent this from happening, he decided to devote his life to collecting living beings and artifacts from throughout the known universe, and placing them in safekeeping. At present, the Collector has filled ten museum-worlds with artifacts from a hundred thousand planets.
Ronan The Accuser, being played by Lee Pace, was born into one of the leading Kree aristocratic families on Hala. After completing his education he was accepted into the ranks of the Accuser Corps, where he quickly rose through the ranks. Eventually he was promoted by the Supreme Intelligence to the rank of Supreme Public Accuser. One of Ronan's missions was to punish the Fantastic Four when they defeated a Sentry left on Earth. But when he traveled to Earth and faced the four heroes, he was soon forced to use his own weapon on himself, giving himself the same sentence that he intended to mete out upon them. Unable to seek revenge due to the Supremor's orders, Ronan joined with Imperial Minister Zarek to depose the Supremor but was defeated by the Avengers. Later Ronan made another attack against the Four when he attempted to gain possession of a Universal Power Core from Uatu The Watcher's house. With the aid of a mind-controlled Invisible Woman he was able to breach the dome but was only able to obtain the plans to one of them. After a failed attempt to absorb Ego into himself, Ronan returned to his post as the Supreme Public Accuser and is helping the Supremor evolve those Kree who were able to avoid being turned into Ruul.
Nebula, being played by Karen Gillan, feared across numerous star systems for her ruthless piracy, set her sights on Sanctuary II, the solar-orbiting satellite built and once used as a base of operations by the Thanos. She had sent a small band of her most trusted aides to Sanctuary II to repair its hyper-drive engines and teleport the station out of the solar system, but the activity coincided with the arrival of the hero Monica Rambeau (as Captain Marvel), who had been sent to investigate the craft by her team the Avengers. Nebula's minions warped the satellite out of the solar system with Captain Marvel aboard and rendezvoused with Nebula. Nebula hoped to conquer the Skrull empire, at the time in the throes of chaos as their throneworld was destroyed by the planet-destroyer Galactus. Not knowing how to return home, Captain Marvel pretended to go along with Nebula's scheme but actually helped the Skrulls evacuate the outpost world Nebula was intent on destroying. The Avengers eventually located their missing member and allied themselves with the Skrulls to oppose her. Before the Avengers were able to catch up with Nebula, she annihilated both the Skrull outpost and the planet Xandar, home planet of the Avengers' ally Firelord. In battle with Nebula, the Avengers' Starfox, brother of Thanos, learned that Nebula claimed to be Thanos' granddaughter, and thus his great-niece. Shortly thereafter, the virtually omnipotent Beyonder, curious about the Avengers, arrived, and in an attempt to help the Avengers vanquish Nebula, helped her and her minions to escape them by teleportlng them out of the Andromeda Galaxy.
James Gunn is directing Guardians of the Galaxy from a screenplay he co-wrote with Chris McCoy and Nicole Perlman. It isn't known when production will begin, but a full casting announcement is expected to be made at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 later this month.