The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is coming in 2014. Since it was officially revealed during Comic-Con, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the movie, after all, it did beat out Edgar Wright’s much anticipated Ant-Man project (but don’t worry, rumour has it the movie will still be made!) to snag the coveted second spot in Marvel’s 2014 movie schedule.
But who are the Guardians of the Galaxy? What role do they have in the Marvel movie universe? How will they fit in with Marvel’s underlying story leading into The Avengers sequel?
I’ll be answering all of those questions and more right here, so make sure you read on!
There are two iterations of The Guardians of the Galaxy in the Marvel universe. The first appeared in 1969 and consisted of a band of heroes from an alternate timeline in the 31st century. The second consisted of a team of heroes drawn together after the Annihilation: Conquest storyline in 2008 with the intentions of taking a more proactive approach to protecting the galaxy from potential threats.
During Comic-Con, the concept art work revealed during the movie’s official announcement gave clear indications that it will be the second iteration of the team the film will be based upon and judging by the after credit sequence of The Avengers movie, this makes an awful lot of sense.
Why? Well, we’ll get to that a little later in the article.
The concept art featured during the Comic-Con announcement clearing showed the team will consist of Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon and Groot at the very least. Take a look:
Star-Lord, real name Peter Quill, is the Mal Reynolds-esque leader of the team and will most likely serve as the focal point for the movie in terms of origins and formation.
Quill is driven by the death of his mother by an unknown alien and gears his life around seeking revenge. His opportunity comes when an alien entity called The Master of the Sun and grants him the mantle of Star-Lord (equivalent to an interplanetary policeman).
Quill comes into prominence in the Annihilation War where he aids Nova in the war effort and later acts as a military advisor to Ronan The Accuser.
When the war is over, Star-Lord decides to form a team to prevent another interstellar war from breaking out.
The Guardians of the Galaxy are born.
Groot is a extraterrestrial plant being who has previously fought the Incredible Hulk and also was a member of Nick Fury’s Howling Commando’s.
Groot came into prominence in the Annihilation War. During the war Groot sacrificed himself in destroying The Babel Spire when he sprouted inside the tower and his sap was ignited. However, a cutting of Groot survived and was nurtured by Rocket Raccoon.
After the war, he joined Star-Lord in The Guadians of the Galaxy team and continued to grow under the care of Mantis.
Drax the Destroyed has had many incarnations, with a variety of power sets and intelligence levels after being made and remade throughout his Marvel existence. He made his first appearance in Iron Man #55 (1973) and his major notable appearance before Annihilation/The Guardians of the Galaxy was in The Infinity Gauntlet (1991) arc.
Drax was created when Arthur Douglas was killed by Thanos whilst driving through the desert with his wife and daughter. Douglas was given a second chance at life by a Titan named Chronos who captures Douglas’ spirit and transplants it in a powerful new body in an effort to combat Thanos. From that point on, it becomes Drax’s main purpose in life to destroy Thanos.
During the Annihilation War Drax helps fight against the armies of Annihilus and actually takes the opportunity he was born for – killing Thanos. After the war, Star-Lord recruits him for his Guardians of the Galaxy team.
Rocket Raccoon is an intelligent Raccoon from a planet called Halfworld – an abandoned colony for the mentally ill where animals are granted intelligence and bipedal functions in order to look after the surviving inmates. Rocket worked as Halfworld’s Ranger (chief law officer) and protected the colony from various threats.
Raccoon also fights in the Annihilation War and proves to be both fearless and a great military tactician and after proving himself in the war Star-Lord recruits him into The Guardians of the Galaxy.
When the Badoon exterminate the Zen Whoberi people, Gamora is left the sole survivor of the massacre. She is found by Thanos and is raised and trained to be nothing more than a weapon Thanos intends to use to assassinate Magus. Gamora became proficient in a variety of martial arts and her battle prowess quickly earned her the title of “the most dangerous woman in the universe”. Thanos also enhanced her speed, endurance and strength to rival Magus so that she could destroy him.
When Magus was eventually defeated, Thanos revealed himself as a greater threat and Gamora decided to side with Captain Mar-Vell, Drax The Destroyer and The Avengers to take him down rather than stand with him.
During the Annihilation War, Gamora joins the United Front to battle against Annihilius’ hordes and afterwards is recruited by Star-Lord to join The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Of course, these are just the members portrayed in the concept artwork and whilst these characters may very well be the entirely of the team in the movie, it should be noted that within the comic books there are or have been many more members.
Therefore, I decided to go the extra step and provide character profiles of these other team members most of whom have played a critical or at the very least an important role in the team, just in case the movie intends to throw us a couple of curve balls.
The first among them is Nova and I think he’s a real decent shout to be in the movie as the original source breaking the news of The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Latino Review, very strongly suggested that Nova will be in the movie. Of course, this is no guarantee primarily because Nova was never in the team (but his story did run parallel to The Guardians of the Galaxy and came into contact with them on more than one occasion).
Nova’s origin would actually be another good focal point for the movie to lead the audience into the story, although any origin story would have to be heavily adapted so that it doesn’t include The New Warriors – a B-list superhero team Nova started out with.
Richard Rider became Nova when alien Rhomann Dey, the last of the Nova Corps, chose him to continue the Corps in his dying breath.
Nova has had many adventures since gaining his powers, but didn’t come into contact with The Guardians of the Galaxy until the Annihilation War. By this time, the Nova Corps are a fighting force to contend with, however, they were quickly decimated when the Annihilation Wave hit their homeworld of Xanadar in a surprise attack. Nova is the only Nova Corp member of to survive the attack and is consequently uploaded with Xandar Worldmind and the entire Nova force. During the War, Nova takes command of the resistance force, The United Front (which some of the members of The Guardians of the Galaxy are also a part of) to fight Annihilus and his hordes.
Nova and The Guardians of the Galaxy also team up to stop the evil Lord Mar-Vell and the rest of the Cancerverse from destroying their universe and ultimately he and Star-Lord sacrifice themselves occupying a manical Thanos in the Cancerverse until the fault opening into their universe.
Mantis is of Earth origin and was trained from birth by The Kree Priest’s of Pama in extensive Martial Arts training. They believed her to be “The Celestial Madonna” and that she’d mate with a Cotati prince to produce the Celestial Messiah, “the most important being in the universe.”
She was drawn further into the Marvel universe by The Swordsman who she helped regain confidence as a superhero. She accompanied him back to The Avengers and undertook a number of adventures with the team.
After a time, she realised her role as The Celestial Madonna, married the Cotati prince and ventured off into space to fulfill her prophecy.
By the time of The Annihilation War both Mantis’ appearance and power set have changed and she now possess the ability to communicate with plant life, superhuman strength, telepathic and precognitive abilities. Some of these powers and how she got them are still yet to be explained.
Moondragon, real name Heather Douglas, is the daughter of Drax the Destroy (or more accurately daughter of his original human self, Arthur Douglas), who survived the Thanos attack that killed her parents. She was found by Thanos’ father, Mentor, who brought her to his homeworld of Titan to be raised by the monks of Shao-Lom.
From here Moondragon developed her body to physical perfection, learning and number of martial arts. She also studied various advanced sciences under the monks and they also helped unveil her latent telepathic ability and develop it to staggering levels.
Some time later, Thanos attacked the Titan refuge of the monks and forced Moondragon to flee back to Earth. On Earth she studied methods in which to combat Thanos and at first appeared a threat, forcing Iron Man and Namor to fight each other in order to study them. But she soon came to her own in helping the Avengers to defeat Thanos.
Moondragon returned to space and was involved in a number of adventures leading up to the Annihilation: Conquest where she is killed by Ultron. Drax and Phyla (the then Quasar and Moondragon’s lover) however learn of a way to bring her back to life and succeed in their attempt. After her resurrection she joins Phyla and Drax in The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Phyla-Vell came into existence when Genis-Vell (the third iteration of Captain Marvel) destroyed and recreated the Universe.
Phyla is prominent in the Annihilation War and fights along side Nova and Star-Lord in the final battle of the war.
In Annihilation: Conquest she finds the cocoon of Adam Warlock and persuades him to help them fight the Phalanx invasion.
After Annihilation: Conquest she joins the Guardians of the Galaxy. After a number of further adventures and consequent transformations, she is tricked into releasing Thanos from his cocoon and falls victim to his rampage.
Reading the above character profiles and, of course, watching the closing sequence of the Avengers movie one an make an educated guess who the villain of the movie (or perhaps one of the villains at least) will be.
That’s right, Thanos.
Thanos is a Titan – a colony of Eternals living on the Saturn moon Titan – born with a Deviant gene which makes him look more like one of the Deviant people (The Eternal’s cousin race). This makes him somewhat distant with the rest of his people and in childhood becomes fascinated by death and falls in love with its embodiment – Mistress Death. Mistress Death, however, does not reciprocate those feelings and prompting Thanos to delve to extreme and deadly lengths to impress her such as masterminding a nuclear bombardment of Titan and killing millions of his own race.
After reading all of the character profiles and suspected villain information above you might be wondering just how in the hell is The Guardians of the Galaxy going to fit in with the Marvel movie universe? What will this do to the underlying story the precursor movies have already established and continue to develop? They are really good questions and I’m not sure I have all the answers – just educated guesses.
Each character profile I’ve listed above has such a rich history within the Marvel Universe I’d wager it’s going to be difficult for the writer to both weave a great story, do the characters justice, do origin stories AND introduce the team all in one movie. The mind boggles just how the director will fit everything into the movie. Especially when you consider the comic book story arc the film is supposedly based on.
What story arc? According to the original source stating that The Guardians of the Galaxy was going to happen before the Comic-Con announcement: The Thanos Imperative. What happens in The Thanos Imperative? Well as briefly mentioned in my Nova character profile, The Thanos Imperative centers around a tear in the universe called “The Fault” which leads into a universe in which death has been overcome in a lovecraftian way (it is dubbed “The Cancerverse”) by that Universe’s Captain Mar-Vell. The ‘Hereos’ of the Cancerverse look to take over our universe and abolish death as their universe is so crammed with their perverse version of ‘life’.
Responding to the threat, The Guardians of the Galaxy unleash Thanos and hope to use him to close the Fault and push back the undead forces of that Universe. Thanos agrees to help them because of his obsession with Mistress Death.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most notable races in the Galaxy such as the Kree and Shi’ar are involved in the fight as well as cosmic entities such as Galactus so if this IS in fact the basis of the movie I suspect a number of aspects of the story will need to be removed in order to cram the rest into a watchable movie.
However, another story which might fit everything in would be The Annihilation arc in which most of the principle characters originally meet and Thanos IS involved but not the main villain. Also, curiously, it seems the original copies of the Graphic Novel are VERY scarce at the moment with sellers asking stupid money for both paperbacks and hardbacks, which leads me to suspect that printing has been halted for the time being – perhaps to be resumed as a sales push in preparation for the movie? Just speculation, but it does give one pause for thought considering both Annihilation: Conquest and The Thanos Imperative graphic novels are easily accessible.
God only knows how this will lead into other Marvel movies – especially the Avengers sequel which I expect the next Marvel movie story arc will ultimately culminate to.
Who do you think the team will comprise of? Just the team depicted in the Comic-Con concept art? Or more? What about the villain? Do you think Thanos will play a major role in the movie as I suspect he will? And storyline. Do you think the movie will follow a comic book story arc? Or will it start fresh?
Let me know what you think in the comments below – it’d be awesome to hear your opinion.
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