At San Diego Comic-Con, very few companies can pull out surprises like Marvel does. Last year, one of the big surprises was the announcement of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. One year later, the Phase Two film brought out surprises once again when director James Gunn and his cast appeared onstage in Hall H after only beginning production less than a month ago in London to show off some footage from the film and more.

In addition to the video, Gunn and the gang showed off a brand new title card for the film and some new concept artwork of the five leads. While we didn’t discover the identities of the voices behind Groot or Rocket Raccoon, we at least know what they’ll look like now. We also discovered just how dedicated some people could be to a role as former ‘Doctor Who’ star Karen Gillan unveiled a surprising new look for her role as Nebula. You can see that reveal and more in the following video of highlights from the panel thanks to Cinemablend:

Another surprise from the panel was the announcement of Djimon Hounsou of ‘Gladiator’ playing Korath the Pursuer. The previously unannounced character is an ally of Ronan the Accuser and agent of the Kree Empire who is well versed in cyber-genetic engineering. This casting and others were confirmed in a press release that listed Lee Pace as Ronan, Benecio del Toro as The Collector, John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey, and Glenn Close as Nova Prime. Here’s the full release courtesy of Comic Book Movie:

“Guardians of the Galaxy,” the next epic adventure from Marvel Studios has started shooting at the UK’s Shepperton Studios. Directed by James Gunn (“Slither,” “Super”) from his screenplay, with a story by Nicole Perlman and Gunn, the film will introduce audiences to a whole new side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The all-star cast includes Chris Pratt (“Zero Dark Thirty”, “Moneyball”) as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana (“Star Trek Into Darkness”, “Avatar”) as Gamora, Dave Bautista (“Riddick”) as Drax the Destroyer, Lee Pace (“The Hobbit,” “Lincoln”) as Ronan the Accuser, Michael Rooker (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) as Yondu, Karen Gillan (BBC TV’s “Doctor Who”) as Nebula, two-time Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Amistad”, “Gladiator”) as Korath, with Academy Award® winner Benicio del Toro (“Traffic”) as The Collector, Academy Award nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago”) as Rhomann Dey, and six-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs,” “Fatal Attraction”) as Nova Prime. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is slated for an August 1, 2014 release in the U.S.

Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film. The executive producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine & Stan Lee; the co-producer is Nik Korda.

The creative team includes director of photography Ben Davis, BSC (“Wrath of the Titans”, “Kick-Ass”), production designer Charles Wood (“Thor: The Dark World”), BAFTA-nominated Editor Fred Raskin (“Django Unchained,” “Fast Five”) and Academy Award-winning editor Hughes Winborne, A.C.E. (“The Help,” “Crash”), and Academy Award winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Elizabeth The Golden Age”). The film will also shoot at Longcross Studios, and locations in and around London.

After the panel, the Guardians’ presence spilled onto the con floor as the Marvel booth showcased some props from the film including Star-Lord’s helmet and blasters, Drax the Destroyer’s daggers, and a full Nova Corps uniform sported by the guards of the display.  You can see those photos from Comic Book Movie in the gallery below:

As for the footage that they showed to the occupants of Hall H, I’m reading that Marvel really plays up the fact that these characters are more on the obscure side of their stable of characters by cracking a ton of jokes, mostly at Star-Lord’s expense. After introducing the team of Peter Quill, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot (the “houseplant / muscle”) through their criminal history and a montage of action scenes, Reilly’s character Dey ends this video with a comment on this rag-tag group of miscreants being called the Guardians of the Galaxy after seeing them in a ‘Usual Suspects’ parady line-up saying, “What a bunch of assholes.”

I can’t wait until the first trailers and TV spots start rolling out so I can finally see this epic bland of sci-fi, action, and comedy that only James Gunn and Marvel can produce.

There’s certainly a lot to talk about in terms of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ after Marvel’s panel at Comic-Con, but you can keep the conversation going in the comment section with your reaction to all the news, your expectations for the movie, and your theories on where Thanos falls into play in all of this madness.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ starring Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, and Michael Rooker blasts off on August 1st, 2014.