The Borderlands movie's first trailer is here, and everyone's comparing it to the same Marvel movie

The main characters in Lionsgate's Borderlands movie look down a sewage well
Welcome to the Borderlands, everyone! (Image credit: Lionsgate)

The first trailer for Lionsgate's Borderlands movie is finally here – and no, your eyes aren't deceiving you; this isn't a spoof-filled take on a particular Marvel movie series.

That said, to the uninitiated, it might appear to be. The film's colorful and eccentric band of misfits, the teased storyline that suggests they'll be railing against the establishment and/or a evil galactic corporation, and its space opera-style tone might make you think it's a Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) knock-off. But hey, don't take my word for it – check out the Borderlands film's first teaser below to see for yourself:

See what I mean? It's action-packed, and full of the quips (some are a little on the nose) and humorous bickering, and the sci-fi surrealness, that are hallmarks of the Guardians' three superhero adventures. Its footage is even accompanied by its own catchy, nostalgic musical number – Electric Light Orchestra's Do Ya, which was released in June 1972 – another feature of the Guardians' Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) trailers.

General audiences should note, though, that Borderlands isn't a parody of Marvel's Guardians films or any other superhero flicks. Borderlands is a long-running, wacky, action role-playing game (RPG) franchise from Gearbox Software with a devoted following, nine titles in the series to date, and multiple awards to its name. In short: it's anything but a satirical take on the MCU.

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Alright, so what is it about? Borderlands stars Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok, The Lord of the Rings) as Lilith, an infamous bounty hunter who reluctantly returns to her homeworld of Pandora to locate the missing daughter of a universal autocrat called Atlas (Florida Man's Edgar Ramirez).

Along the way, Lilith forms an unlikely alliance with a number of gun-toting and maniacal outsiders, including Roland (Kevin Hart), Tiny Tina (Star Wars: Ahsoka's Ariana Greenblatt), Krieg (Shang-Chi's Florian Munteanu), Tannis (Jamie Lee Curtis), and Claptrap (Jack Black). Together, the group will unearth a galactic secret that'll change the course of Lilith's mission – and, apparently, their lives.

Eli Roth (Hostel, Thanksgiving) has directed one of 2024's new movies from a script he co-penned with first-time screenwriter Joe Crombie. Randy Pitchford, CEO of The Gearbox Entertainment Company, who oversaw the Borderlands franchise's development, is one of the movie's many executive producers. 

Borderlands arrives in theaters on August 9. All three Guardians films are available to stream on Disney Plus.

Borderline inspiration

A screenshot of the front cover for the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 DVD

Even Gearbox's Randy Pitchford believes the Guardians movies had an impact on the Borderlands film (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

If you're still convinced that the Borderlands movie has drawn plenty of inspiration from Guardians of the Galaxy's cinematic outings, you're not the only one, with plenty of people commenting on the similarities between the movies' aesthetic, comedy, action, and ragtag group of outsiders.

In fact, Pitchford has also suggested that the success of Marvel's Guardians movies, the last of which was Marvel Phase 5 flick Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, actively helped to get a Borderlands film made. Indeed, development on the Blanchett-fronted movie actually started before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 was released in 2014 but, after the MCU film series' unprecedented success, there was growing cause for optimism that there's an audience for the long-gestating Borderlands film.

Speaking to IGN, Pitchford said: "I don't think it [Guardians' popularity] hurt [our movie's chances]. It's funny, we started this process before Guardians, the films were made. And I actually did a thing once with James Gunn who wrote and directed the Guardians movies. And I don't want to take him out of turn, but he knew about Borderlands. So I think there's actually probably mutual influence and I think that's awesome.

"I think the fact that that worked because I freaking love that movie and I love his tone and I love his vibe, and to whatever extent Borderlands made that easier to do there and kind of helped that, I think the fact that Guardians was successful made this even easier to get behind and do. But I will say I don't think James' goal was to make Guardians like Borderlands. And I don't think Borderlands' goal is to make Borderlands like Guardians."

So, there you have it: even Pitchford admits there are comparisons to be made between the movies. Don't let your friends tell you, then, that you're silly for thinking likewise.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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