Marvel Studios has continued to build its Marvel Cinematic Universe around its cast of stellar actors and actresses. Past movies have turned virtual unknowns like Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland into worldwide megastars while also utilizing the talents of established veterans like Robert Downey, Jr. and Paul Rudd to turn B-list heroes into worldwide phenomenons.
A prominent example of spot on casting came in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, when director James Gunn utilized the varying talents of a newly buffed-up Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista to bring the galactic team of misfits to life. Gunn and the casting team filled out the roster with a couple of big-name choices for the voice acting/CGI roles of Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), although the decisions were initially met with plenty of skepticism.
Gunn recently opened up on Cooper's casting in particular, including how much doubt existed about the actor's role.
In a thread on Twitter, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn reflected back on a discussion he had with an ex-Disney executive on the decision to cast Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon. It started with Twitter user @bjxmas asking Gunn "how in the world did Bradley Cooper be cast as Rocket":
How in the world did Bradley Cooper be cast as Rocket, cuz he's perfect, but I still can't image him behind that voice! Rocket & Groot are my fav characters. So much heart in them, a vulnerability and innocence that is so refreshing beneath the gruff exterior.— B.J. Peterson 🎅🎄 (@bjxmas) December 22, 2020
Gunn replied by recalling a discussion at Disney when he was asked why Marvel Studios would hire Cooper if he didn't even sound like himself in the role, to which Gunn replied that Cooper's role was to build Rocket as a character through his voice:
One exec - who is no longer with Marvel Studios/Disney - saw an early cut & said “Why did we pay money for Bradley Cooper if he doesn’t even sound like Bradley Cooper!?” I was like, we hired him because he’s a great ACTOR. That’s the point! He’s creating a CHARACTER! https://t.co/TzW7IMQ4gB— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 22, 2020
WHAT THIS MEANS
Bradley Cooper's role as the MCU's Rocket is one that has required him to adjust his voice far from his natural speaking voice. The actor has found a way to make Rocket sound like a gruff and intimidating force on the outside while displaying a tenderness and vulnerability that is well showcased in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. This versatility has turned the character into a fan favorite, one that fans are clamoring to be featured more heavily in the MCU's future.
Rumors have pointed to Rocket's story being fleshed out more in 2023's Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, although no confirmations to its plot have been revealed yet. Cooper will also return in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special in 2022, so there will be plenty of the lovable trash panda for all in the near future.
With the recent casting announcements confirming both Chris Pratt and Pom Klementieff as a part of the cast in Thor: Love and Thunder, there's also a growing chance that Cooper will come into play, tallying at least three upcoming appearances.