Marvel has released the first official still from director James Gunn’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. This shot, in which all five team members take part in a cosmic police lineup, was taken from the very end of the sizzle reel shown at San Diego Comic Con and the D23 Expo last summer. Gunn commented on the image via his Facebook page.

Okay, so I suppose Disney released this still from Guardians of the Galaxy. It was featured in the San Diego Comicon trailer, and is an early (truthfully, quite unfinished – we’ve come a long way from here) look at Rocket and Groot, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax.

Despite the unfinished effects, the footage shown in the sizzle reel looked absolutely beautiful onscreen. A full trailer with a few months’ worth of visual effects polishing is going to look phenomenal. Hopefully we will not have to wait to long into 2014 to see it.

Gunn and Star-Lord himself, Chris Pratt, spoke with Empire in the magazine’s latest issue to provide some additional insight into the film. Pratt talked about the risk of making a GUARDIANS movie in the first place and likened it to previous rolls of the dice by Marvel Studios.

Maybe it’s a risk, I dunno. I think every movie Marvel’s made has been a risk and they’re risks that pay off really big. So I hope for the movie’s sake, and my sake, that this one pays off. The story’s really good and Marvel really knows what they’re doing.

It’s not as broad as Galaxy Quest but it’s not a straightforward space fantasy like Star Wars. I think it’s the sort of the best of both of those films put together…and more!

As Marvel’s first new franchise in three years based on a property that even a great many comic book fans don’t even know, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is arguably the studio’s biggest risk yet. Keep in mind, though, the Marvel brand grows more powerful with each film. While betting against Marvel is generally unwise, a successful franchise launch with GUARDIANS would open up all new cosmic doors for the studio and genre.

Gunn added a few notes on how this intergalactic team will be characterized.

Our characters are basically all villains to begin with. They don’t believe they’re individually good and they don’t believe each other is good, and through the course of the movie they discover they’re heroes. If The Avengers are The Beatles, these guys are The Rolling Stones.

The rockstar comparison certainly fits based on the comics. The Guardians have been known to be on the verge of a breakup before they inevitably makeup and rock the hell out of cosmic threats in a way only they can. It’s way past time to get excited for this film, folks.

In closing, please review Marvel’s official synopsis for GOTG, which hints at what could be another Infinity stone.

From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchise of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team–the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits -Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand–with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.