Warning: this article contains spoilers for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3.
Have we all had time to decompress after Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3? How are we feeling? Good? You probably shouldn’t be, considering James Gunn’s final MCU film was harrowing. Who would’ve guessed that the adorable, smart-mouthed
not a raccoon was hiding a deeply painful backstory? For real, though, the surprise wasn’t that Rocket’s tale was so grim—the Guardians films always hinted that it was pretty fucking bad. The real surprise was the unflinching way Gunn documented that backstory. If you were expecting a sanitized take on animal torture (because, come on, that always had to be part of Rocket’s story, no matter how much we hoped it wouldn’t be), too bad for you, because Vol. 3 gets up and close and personal with exactly what happened to him. At least no one died though, right? (Well, none of the main team, anyway. RIP Floor. And Teefs. And—yikes—Lylla.) Let’s get into what the film’s ending means for the future of the franchise.
Where does Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 leave the team?
Nebula is the new leader of Knowhere, and Drax is helping all the refugees resettle. Gamora is back with the Ravagers. Mantis is off on a soul-searching journey. Rocket is leading a new version of the Guardians, with Groot as one of the members of the team.
And, finally, former Guardians of the Galaxy leader Star-Lord is kicking it on Earth with his grandpa, gossiping about his layabout neighbors. It’s actually a decent look for him—much preferable to his unwelcome pining for a Gamora that, as the current Gamora reminds him with extremely warranted increasing irritation, no longer exists. The post-credits scene promises that “The Legendary Star-Lord will return.” Whether you find that ominous or exciting depends entirely on how you feel about Chris Pratt.
Who is the Legendary Star-Lord?
Well, he’s still Star-Lord, just with a snazzy new name. We can’t ignore its connection to the comics, though. Legendary Star-Lord is a 12-issue run from 2014 written by Sam Humphries that focuses on Star-Lord away from the Guardians of the Galaxy, tending to personal matters on his own.
And what’s that got to do with the MCU?
Honestly, there aren’t a lot of direct ties, but there are some parallels. See, in the comics, Star-Lord’s dad is J’Son, a ruthless murderer and former emperor of the planet Spartax. Star-Lord started a revolution that eventually deposed his dad, and, in Legendary Star-Lord, J’son comes back seeking revenge. He’s hiding behind a shiny new mask and calling himself Mister Knife, though. Star-Lord also learns that he has a half-sister named Victoria, fights Thanos, and dates Kitty Pryde.
In the MCU, Star-Lord’s dad is Ego the Living Planet, whom the Guardians of the Galaxy killed in Vol. 2. The chances of him coming back in a future MCU film are pretty close to zero. And Star-Lord does have a half-sister, but it’s Mantis, not Victoria. It seems most likely that the “Legendary Star-Lord” moniker is referencing his general self-discovery arc from the comics, not specific plot points. With mutants and the X-Men officially part of the MCU now, though, and Gamora firmly disinterested in a relationship with Peter, it could be hinting at a future appearance from Kitty Pryde.
Okay, so Star-Lord’s coming back. What about the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy?
That’s unclear, for now. In the mid-credits scene, we see a new version of the team off doing cool space adventure stuff, but there’s no indication about whether or not they’ll be back in future MCU films.
And who’s on the team now?
Oh, we are so glad you asked. As we already mentioned, Rocket is the new team leader. The rest of the team is made up of your favorite tree-boy Groot, reformed Ravager Kraglin, very good dog Cosmo, definitely-not-grown-in-a-lab Adam Warlock, and Counter-Earth refugee Phyla-Vell. That last one is a fun Easter egg for comics fans: Phyla-Vell is one of Mar-Vell’s (the first Captain Marvel) children.
Summarize all that for me, would you?
Star-Lord will return, though we don’t know when or in what project. There’s a new lineup for the Guardians of the Galaxy, but we don’t know if they’ll show up again. Kitty Pryde may or may not appear at some point in the MCU.
So we don’t really know anything, do we?
Not really, no. Here’s an adorable Lylla toy you can buy if you’re some sort of deranged masochist, though.