Marvel has made a surprising casting choice for its upcoming big superhero franchise Guardians of the Galaxy by hiring actor Chris Pratt, best known for his role as Andy Dwyer on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, to play one of the lead characters. Deadline reports that Pratt will play Star-Lord (real name Peter Quill), a NASA astronaut who’s the offspring of a human mother and an alien father and becomes the leader of the central team of superheroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, which also includes Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Gamora. Those roles haven’t been cast yet.
Pratt’s casting ends a long search by Marvel and director James Gunn (Slither, Super) to find someone to play Star-Lord, with Pratt beating out folks like Chuck’s Zachary Levi, Zero Dark Thirty‘s Joel Edgerton, Boardwalk Empire‘s Jack Huston, Cloud Atlas’ Jim Sturgess, The Hobbit and Lincolns Lee Pace, and Les Miserables’ Eddie Redmayne. Although Pratt’s best known for acting on a sitcom, he had roles in serious movies like Zero Dark Thirty, in which he played a Navy SEAL, and Moneyball these past couple years. Filming will take place in the middle of this year and an August 1st, 2014 release date is planned for Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s no word on how shooting will affect Pratt’s Parks and Rec schedule, but it’ll be exciting to see Pawnee’s former shoeshine stand proprietor playing an alien superhero in a big summer blockbuster.