The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is still a full year away from a release but we’ve been privy to a number of on-set photos from the James Gunn production – and today’s leak gives us our first look at one new cast member. In the photos taken by the website SuperHeroHype, we get our first look at The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker in the role of Yondu, a mohawked Centaurian bowman who was a member of the original 1969 incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy team.
“Yondu is going to be a very central character,” Rooker said in an interview with HitFix during Comic-Con International: San Diego earlier this year. “He is an outer space sex symbol, yes. And he's got an awesome, awesome hairdo, a body to die for, and some really cool boots."
In comics, Yondu is a native of the planet Centauri IV, who retreated from human contact after Earth colonized their world in the early 30thcentury. Yondu is part of a primitive Centaurian tribe known as the Zatoans, and came into contact with the Earth astronaut Vance Astro and later joined him in the formation of the Guardians team.
For the man cast as Yondu, Michael Rooker is no stranger to playing comic book characters. In addition to his most famous role as Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead, the Alabama-born actor had roles in the early 2000s Showtime adaptation of the Belgian comic series Jeremiah, and also voiced the role of Red Doc in the animated DC Showcase: Jonah Hex short. In addition to playing comic books, he’s also played in two super-hero films: a role in Gunn’s earlier superhero film Super, as well as a superhero named Dark Winged Vesper in the comedic film Super Capers.