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SYFY WIRE Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy: The real Rocket Raccoon passes away; Chris Pratt confirms James Gunn's Vol. 3 script still in play

By Don Kaye
James Gunn and Oreo the Raccoon

There is some sad news and some potentially good news on the Guardians of the Galaxy front today.

First the sad news: The Guardians of the Galaxy Facebook page has reported that Oreo, the raccoon who was the model for Rocket Raccoon, has left the cosmos at the age of 10.

The statement read in part: "Our hearts are broken as we have lost our best friend, our Guardian of our Galaxy Mr Oreo Raccoon. Oreo passed away in the early hours of this morning after a very short illness. Many thanks to our wonderful vets for their compassion and care. Oreo you made so many people’s lives happy. You have been an amazing ambassador for raccoons everywhere."

Rest in Peace to Oreo the Raccoon, the real-life model for Rocket Raccoon. Oreo was also the Raccoon that went to the...

Posted by Guardians Of The Galaxy on Thursday, February 7, 2019

Oreo was the fourth crucial piece in bringing Rocket to life on the screen, alongside Sean Gunn's performance capture on the set, Bradley Cooper's excellent voice work, and the amazing job done by the visual effects craftspeople who made millions of viewers believe in a walking, talking, weapon-wielding raccoon.

And yes, as you can see above, Oreo even got to walk the red carpet with director James Gunn at the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2014.

As we bid Oreo a fond and melancholy farewell, Rocket himself lives on as one of the survivors of the Thanos snap in Avengers: Infinity War and a key character in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame. And it looks fairly certain he'll show up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as well, when that finally goes before the cameras.

Chris Pratt, who leads the Guardians as Star-Lord, recently said that the third film will still get made, and he reaffirmed that to MTV News this week, adding that now-former director Gunn's script will be used and that it's "off the chain, it's so good."

Asked how he felt about completing the Guardians trilogy without Gunn behind the camera, Pratt said, "Well, I love James and I’m loyal to James ... we’re gonna deliver the movie. We’re gonna give the fans what they deserve. It’s in the nature of the Guardians of the Galaxy to come together and get the job done, and that’s what we’re going to do."

The director of Guardians Vol. 3 remains a huge question mark for now, with top names like Taika Waititi, Chris Miller, and Edgar Wright not interesting in touching it, but if Gunn's script is still the basis for the movie, and is as good as Pratt says, we can hope that a lot of the flavor and vision of the first two films remains intact.