Unsung Voice Talent of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Beware! Potential spoilers ahead!

I’ll say it right now. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a hell of a ride. More intense than I expected, mature than I anticipated… and full of beautifully crafted characters with incredible voice actors that no one talks about.

It goes without saying that Bradley Cooper is instrumental to Rocket Raccoon’s character. And Vin Diesel is equal parts Groot for real, and a meme attached to this series that we’ll cherish forever. That’s great and all, but I want to highlight their co-stars who elevate the world of Knowhere, and beyond.

So, let’s talk about the unsung heroes of this film, who filled it with flavour and heart:

Maria Bakalova

Probably known to most for her part as Borat’s daughter, Tutar, in Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Maria was extraordinary as Cosmo the Spacedog. Her voice was surprising to me coming out of a Soviet astro-pup, in the most delightful way. Full of fun, adorable, but strong as heck in pivotal scenes.

Linda Cardellini

When don’t we love her? If you haven’t seen Linda’s films, you should. From the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe to Scooby Doo, Brokeback Mountain to Green Book. Her performance was absolutely heart-wrenching as Lylla, one of Rocket’s closest childhood friends.

Asim Chaudhry

I’ve never chuckled so hard through tears than at Teefs re-introducing himself to his buddies. You’ve probably seen him in The Sandman & Black Mirror.

Mikaela Hoover

No stranger to the theatre, film & tv worlds, Mikaela’s take on Floor was oh so heart-breakingly sweet.

Judy Greer

Yup, that Judy. She has over 150 credits in IMDb alone, and absolutely killed it as War Pig in this flick.

Reinaldo Faberlle

Ozark, Mayor of Kinstown, and more… including a pile of what used to be animal muscle and machine parts that make up the intimidating Behemoth.

Tara Strong

If you’ve spent any time in cartoon land, video games or the world of cross-over motion pictures, you’ve likely heard Tara’s voice!

Seth Green

Honourable mention for Howard the Duck making a cameo! Seth’s no stranger to the VO world from Family Guy to Mass Effect.

As an aside, I just wanna say – I watched this at IMAX in 3D and the cinematography and editing was STUNNING.

Voice Acting is Acting

Often, I hear colleagues in the voiceover world say “Why are celebrities always cast in these voice acting roles, when we have actors with specific talents for this?”

On other days, those same colleagues may advise new blood in our ranks that “Voice acting is acting! Train your acting chops before stepping to a mic!”

Why, then, are the actors in these films any less qualified to perform these roles than any other actor? Many of them cross over from screen to behind the mic on a consistent basis, and we’ve become accustomed to seeing their faces more than we recognise their voice work.

As someone with a background working with game developers, in a role that had me being a meat shield between them and poeple who had hate-boners for the work we did – games these players spent most of their days playing but had no intention of making better ones – humour me in being the devil’s advocate:

What a paradox we find ourselves in, encouraging voice over artists to hone their craft in acting, while in the same breath condemning career actors who’ve made a name for themselves, are in major motion picture hubs, and have access to those roles from their network of agents and casting directors, for doing work we all are grateful to participate in. Diversity and representation at this level is a whole other conversation I’m still learning. But, anecdotally, I can say that the majority of peers I see complaining about this issue are also… in the majority. Thanks, Twitter.

With current tech, we can perform from almost anywhere. Several of my colleagues have proven it, and I’m doing it too! We perform in different types of projects at different scales, but still get the same sense of exilleration and fulfillment working with talented writers on these productions.

Cool, right? Did you know there’s also a Guardians of the Galaxy video game?

The Video Game

… And the “voice actors” for the game, developed by Eidos Montréal, are completely different to the actors in the films! These performers also have a bunch of credits in TV, other games, and likely theatre as well.

Check out this video highlighting how the actors from the game worked with the studio’s performance capture tech:

These voices, artists in the film and the game, have done phenomenal work to immerse us completely in believing the impossible. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to enjoy it, learn from it, and be inspired by it with my own projects.

That’s the beauty of storytelling across several mediums!

What are your favourite underrated voice performances in film, cartoons, games or other media? Let me know in the comments section, shoot me a message on social media or an email. I’d love to chat with you about them!

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