It was a risky casting choice at the time, but it’s obvious now that Chris Pratt was literally the only option to play Star-Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. But who was the second option for the role?
In a recent interview, director James Gunn opened up about his backup option if Pratt hadn’t worked out. After hearing who Gunn had waiting in the wings, it’s obvious he was going for a funny guy and an outside-the-box actor. The No. 2 actor up for the role? Glenn Howerton, best known for playing Dennis Reynolds in FX’s long-running cult hit comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Here’s the choice quote from Gunn:
“Glenn came along a little bit later, but there was a good chance that, if I didn't cast Chris, that I would've cast Glenn Howerton in the role.”
Wow. Though Howerton is obviously a bit of an unknown, it honestly makes as much (or more) sense than casting Pratt. He really wanted someone who could get the laughs. Before landing the Guardians gig, Pratt was best known as the chubby schlub from Parks and Recreation. Howerton is darkly funny, and heck, his character has always at least been in decent (closer to superhero) shape than Pratt's Parks beer belly.
Another interesting tidbit? Had Pratt not been able to drop his excess weight to rock the six-pack as Star-Lord, Gunn was considering letting the character be a bit on the chubby side. That might’ve been a tough sell to the Marvel brass, but Gunn was cool with it:
“I thought it was an insane idea to cast the fat guy from Parks and Rec as the lead of our superhero movie. I didn't really even want to see him. I thought, well, hell, he's overweight, but if that means we have the world's first overweight superhero, I'm okay with it.”
Pratt, in hilarious fashion, also said he had no problem with — making a pretty good point about talking trees and snarky raccoons: “You can make a talking raccoon that looks real. Why can't I just be fat?” Fair enough, Chris. Fair enough.
What’s your take on Howerton as Star-Lord? Could he have filled Pratt’s shoes in the sci-fi epic?