Chris Pratt Set To Become The New Robert Downey, Jr. For the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Chris Pratt is quickly becoming one of the most likable celebrities of the past few years. The actor, whose humble origins as a waiter at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. are very well documented at this point, is set to lead in the Marvel picture Guardians Of Galaxy on August 1. With its release, is Marvel looking to establish Pratt as the new Robert Downey, Jr. of the franchise? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Guardians Of The Galaxy is based on the comic book of the same name, and is Marvel’s first foray into newer territory in Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, which has since consisted solely of sequels thus far. Like with the original Iron Man, this mainstream audience is coming in cold. Upon Iron Man‘s initial release in 2008, it was one of the lesser known Marvel properties, and only readers of the comics gave much thought to his character. It’s safe to say that Pratt’s Guardians is a lot less known than even Iron Man was. Chris Pratt himself had made the comparison while at a Q & A at CinemaCon earlier this year.

Next are the simple contract negotiations. With each passing film, Downey takes a larger and larger piece of the pie. In The Avengers alone, he is rumored to have taken home a $50 million check. Downey isn’t alone on this, for with each contract negotiation and sequel, actor paychecks get larger and larger. There is a reason why Marvel does business the way they do, and in order to survive, they will eventually need to start rotating out or killing off their characters to save the bank. And with Iron Man 3 effectively finishing the character arc for Tony Stark, his place in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe seems a bit shaky outside of the already-contracted Avengers sequels.

This brings us back full circle to Chris Pratt, an actor still not raking in big A-list dollars. In Guardians, Pratt’s character is a smart aleck, wisecracking human with a heart of gold. The imminent departure of Downey will leave a vacuum, and it needs to be filled. As far as characters go, Pratt’s Chris Peter Quill seems like the perfect candidate to fill the void, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Pratt has been having great success on Parks And Recreation, and even more success in character roles in films such as Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. Chris Pratt’s first big lead success came in the form of The Lego Movie earlier this year, and if it’s any indication, his career will only get bigger.

The stars have aligned perfectly, and if all goes right, Pratt may be facing a meteoric Iron Man-like success in the next few weeks. If so, will Pratt rise with it? Heck, will Chris Pratt’s character, Peter Quill even be received as warmly as Tony Stark? That’s all up in the air, but things are looking positive.

Can we expect Chris Pratt to take the torch from Downey in the near future, or is it too soon to tell? Let us know below!