Vin Diesel official as Groot for Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Dec. 21, 2013 | 8:06 p.m.

Michael Rooker and Zoe Saldana onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Dave Bautista walks onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Director James Gunn, left, and actors Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Members of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast and crew onstage during Marvel Studios' presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Chris Pratt onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

Dave Bautista onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

Djimon Hounsou onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

Benicio del Toro onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

Lee Pace onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

Michael Rooker onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

Kevin Feige, left, and James Gunn onstage during Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" presentation at Comic-Con International 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / WireImage)

It’s finally official — Marvel has confirmed that Vin Diesel will voice the sentient tree Groot in the studio’s 2014 release “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy,” directed by James Gunn and based on the Marvel comic series of the same name, follows roguish antihero Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), and his squad of aliens tasked with teaming up to battle cosmic threats. Included in the group is the furry, fan-favorite character Rocket Raccoon, to be voiced by Bradley Cooper.

It’s an oddball idea, and the footage screened this year at San Diego’s Comic-Con International suggested the film adaptation will embrace its humorous elements with snark and irreverence.

Diesel had spoken publicly about the role for some time. In October, he released on his Facebook page a video in which he walked around on stilts and talked about “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Before that, the actor had posted a picture of the character on his Facebook page, and he openly discussed the role with Hero Complex back in August.

The news follows Thursday’s confirmation that Paul Rudd will star as scientist Hank Pym in Marvel’s upcoming Edgar Wright film, “Ant-Man,” set for release in 2015. Ant-Man is the superhero alter ego of Pym, a scientist who invents a shrinking serum that allows him to sneak around in miniature form and surprise foes — he’s also one of the original members of the Avengers.

Both “Ant-Man” and “Guardians” will launch likely new franchises for the comic book movie giant.

In addition to Diesel, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast boasts plenty of stars familiar to fans of genre entertainment, as well as some seemingly unlikely newcomers. Glenn Close (“Fatal Attraction,” “Mars Attacks”) will play Nova-Prime, the highest ranking officer in Marvel Comics’ intergalactic police force Nova Corps. (Though several comic characters have held the Nova-Prime title, all have been men.)

The ensemble also features Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro and John C. Reilly.

Click through the gallery above for a look at the film and its presentation at Comic-Con.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is slated for an Aug. 1, 2014, release in the U.S.

“Ant-Man” will open almost one full year later, on July 31, 2015.

– Gina McIntyre and Noelene Clark

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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