Chris-PrattThe search is over. Marvel have found their lead in Chris Pratt for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

The highly anticipated movie marks the first original feature in the studio’s upcoming Phase Two, which kicks off with Iron Man 3 this spring.

In recent months, we’d heard reports that the studio had been testing the likes of Joel Edgerton, Jim Sturgess, Eddie Redmayne, and more for the role. Then came the possibility that Joseph Gordon-Levitt might come on board. But when Gordon-Levitt opted to take on the lead for Sin City: A Dame to Kill, we were back to square one.

But now Deadline are reporting that Pratt has been given the role, taking the human lead as Peter Quill / Star-Lord, the leader of the Guardians, and the offspring of a human mother and an alien father.

The plot synopsis is currently under wraps, but with the film directly preceding The Avengers 2 (arriving in May 2015), all kinds of tie-ins are of course awesome to speculate.

A few weeks back, we heard that Marvel are reportedly eyeing Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler for roles in Guardians of the Galaxy, but we’ve not had official confirmation on that front just yet.

Gunn will be directing from a script by Nicole Perlman and Chris McCoy, with Gunn also thought to have had a hand in writing after coming on board. And we heard earlier in the year that the film is looking to shoot in England this summer.

Pratt is perhaps best known for his role as Andy Dwyer in Parks & Recreation. He starred alongside Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Moneyball two years back, and has more recently made a name for himself as part of the impressive ensemble in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which will of course be heading to the Oscars in a few weeks’ time. He’ll next be seen alongside Vince Vaughn and Cobie Smulders in The Delivery Man, and is lending his voice in the lead for LEGO: The Movie (a.k.a. LEGO: The Piece of Resistance).

Guardians of the Galaxy is due to arrive on 1st August, 2014, and I can’t wait for it to hit. I have complete faith that it will be incredible. Until then, we can look forward to Iron Man 3 in April/May this year, followed by Thor: The Dark World in November, and then Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April 2014. Phase Two is just going to be immense. More as we get it.