Marvel's latest movie Guardians of the Galaxy isn't even in theatres and yet it's already generating predictions that it's going to be the movie of the summer.
Marvel is known for drawing massive audiences to the theatre with its blockbuster fare but Guardians is different.
Unlike Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers and Captain America, the satirical sci-fi adventure features lesser known characters from the Marvel roster, and the action is entirely set in space. With Marvel's recent revelations of a female Thor and a black Captain America, the comic empire continues to hint at major changes going on behind the scenes.
Marvel's first movie written by a woman
Guardians of the Galaxy is also the first Marvel movie to be written by a woman, screenwriter Nicole Perlman.
In a recent interview with TIME magazine, Perlman described the trouble she had persuading studios to trust a woman to write sci-fi:
"I was noticing that I was having trouble convincing people, when I was pitching on projects, that I would be capable of doing this. There was a little bit of an attitude of, ‘Well, you’re a woman, you’re not writing romantic comedies, we’ll give you the Marie Curie biopic."
In the same interview, Perlman also fuelled speculation that Marvel is developing a movie around a female superhero.
Space for strong female characters
The studio currently has five unannounced titles planned for release between now and 2019, and there is a growing demand from fans who want to see a female superhero in the lead role.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Zoe Saldana plays lethal, butt-kicking Gamora alongside Dave Bautista's muscle-bound Drax the Destroyer.
In an interview with CBC News, Bautista says he's pleased to see strong female characters like Gamora in movies today, especially because he was raised by a single mom.
"It was just me and my mom and my sister growing up, and it really feels good to see that strong woman. She's not just sitting in the background" he says. "She's got that sweet side to her but she's definitely, I mean she's strong, intelligent, independent. She's a character within herself. She stands out."
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theatres this Friday, and Marvel is banking on it being a hit.
The film's sequel is already slated to come out July 28, 2017.