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Gossip has been a part of movies for at least as long as movie stars and the studio secrecy that came with them became a thing at the turn of the century. But since the mid-1990s and the advent of fanboy-focused guerilla news outfits like Aint-It-Cool-News, the definition of hot gossip has expanded to include plot details, cameos and even long term story plans.
I used to think once I was conducting movie journalism as a pseudo-professional, I'd become less likely to believe news allegedly culled from anonymous sources, but the opposite has become true. Even playing this game at my level (i.e. far removed the L.A.-centric upper echelons of "in the know" film press), the amount of loose talk one hears around about this or that project is pretty remarkable.
Not that I'll be spilling anything I know or don't know here - that would just be silly. Nor will I be dropping anything that I know or even heavily suspect might qualify as a real spoiler (though if you're seriously spoiler-phobic, this may not be the article for you all the same) for an upcoming movie. What I will do is take a look at some of the bigger "Did you hear?" whispers floating around the web and offer my perspective as to how plausible they actually sound.
Rumor: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will return for Star Wars - Episode VII
Let's get real for minute here. Anyone looking to make a new Star Wars movie wanting Luke, Leia and Han to come back for guaranteed cheers in the trailers and big splashy press interviews about "coming home" and such is not news. Of course Disney wants that, and of course those were among the first three phone calls anyone working on this was instructed to make.
As for whether or not any of them would actually do it, with the exception of Ford (who only shows up for something if he actually wants to, at this point) I'd say chances are pretty damn high. Yes, Hamill and Fisher are both far from the poor house, but they (and their families) could certainly use the mountains of gold they can demand from The Mouse to walk across a green screen and give the Jedi Generation a final triumphant wink. Also, all involved seem to be much more at peace with the franchise than they were even a decade ago, and being feted like red carpet royalty (maybe taking a cast bow to a standing ovation at that year's Oscars, for example) would make for a pretty excellent coda to career stories that currently end on "eventually re-invented himself as a sought-after voice actor" and "ongoing struggles with drugs, alcohol and other issues," respectively. Remember, everyone from Star Trek was pretty much considered a has-been until they started making the movies.
Rumor: One of the established members of The Avengers will play a significant but thus-far unannounced role in Guardians of The Galaxy
Guardians is currently set to be the last Marvel Studios movie before Avengers 2, and is in many ways the riskiest project the studio has undertaken so far. After all, it's a space opera involving a team of aliens whose membership includes a sentient tree, a lady warrior and a talking bipedal raccoon. It's been known from the beginning that the film would in some way serve as the lead-in to Avengers 2, likely because already-slated alien villain Thanos the Mad Titan is a key part of GoTG mythos.
Still, it certainly wouldn't hurt Marvel to hedge their bets and have someone a little more familiar to audiences turn up at least to make the connection solid. This is a studio that loves to roll the dice, but it would be a miss and then some for the only original part of their post-Avengers victory lap to underperform. Plus, Guardians - billed as a more comedy-inflected cousin to Star Wars or Firefly - is part of a larger bid to establish that the Marvel brand can effectively sell movies other than straight superhero fare.
I won't say which one, but rumors that one of The Avengers will be joining up with the Guardians in some capacity have been drifting about for a while now, buoyed by "leaked" (and then promptly pulled) photographs of an action figure that could, with a little imagination, be construed as possibly Guardians-related. It all makes a certain amount of sense, but in reality we could very well not know until GoTG comes out two years from now.