With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn says goodbye to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with style. The movie pushes the boundaries of what can be done inside the MCU by exploring surprisingly dark themes. All the while, every core member of the Guardians gets enough closure to justify their definitive departure from the franchise or for them to be reused in brand-new storylines created by other filmmakers. However, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is about tying up loose threads, the movie ends with a huge warning that the Legendary Star-Lord will return right after showing how Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is chilling on Earth and leading a regular human life. So, who is the Legendary Star-Lord? And what do these words mean for the future of the MCU?
Written by Sam Humphries with art by Paco Medina, Legendary Star-Lord was a short-lived comic book series that followed Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, going solo after he leaves the Guardians of the Galaxy. The series primarily deals with Quill’s complicated family history, as he’s chased by his father, J’son, the former King of Spartax, a planetary system that frequently goes to war against the Kree and the Skrull. In Marvel Comics, Peter Quill has a different family tree than the MCU. Still, both versions of Peter Quill deal with megalomaniac fathers whose hunger for powers threatens to destroy the universe. So, while Gunn decided to make Ego (Kurt Russell) Quill’s father in the MCU, he kept exploring Star-Lord’s legacy.
Running through twelve issues, Legendary Star-Lord allowed Peter Quill to grow as a character by taking away the support of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The series also introduced the classic Star-Lord uniform that Gunn used as inspiration for the MCU version of the character. Finally, in the pages of Legendary Star-Lord, Quill began a long-distance relationship with Kitty Pride, aka Shadowcat, a fan-favorite member of the X-Men. The two would also fight together during the “Secret Wars” storyline, in which reality was almost destroyed when different timelines crashed over each other. After that, Kitty would take over the mantle of Star-Lord and lead the Guardians, while Quill would become Emperor of Spartax.
None of the Main Guardians of the Galaxy Die
The events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are kicked off by Adam Warlock’s arrival in Knowhere. Fulfilling the Sovereign’s threat of revenge, Warlock attacks Rocket Raccoon and defends himself from the Guardians, destroying Groot’s and Nebula’s bodies and heavily wounding Rocket in the process. While Groot and Nebula manage to regenerate themselves, Rocket Raccoon is on the brink of death, and the Guardians’ MedPacks are rendered unusable due to a self-destructing chip in Rocket’s heart — a leftover from the High Evolutionary’s experiments on him.
In their quest to find a way to save Rocket Raccoon, the Guardians of the Galaxy infiltrate the High Evolutionary’s intergalactic company OrgoCorp, where Drax gets shot twice by Nathan Fillion’s alien character. Thankfully, the Guardians manage to heal Drax, but after other close calls in the High Evolutionary’s Counter-Earth, it’s Star-Lord who almost loses his life while evacuating the High Evolutionary’s test subjects to Knowhere, as he freezes in outer space in a scene that mirrors Yondu’s sacrifice Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. This time, Adam Warlock takes the initiative and rescues Star-Lord.
The mid-credits scene introduces a new Guardians of the Galaxy roster
The mid-credits scene opens with Rocket and his new roster of Guardians. It’s Rocket, telekinetic canine Cosmo (voiced by Maria Bakalova), superpowered himbo Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), klutzy Kraglin (Sean Gunn), a very massive Groot, and one of the Star Kids (platinum-haired children who may or may not be superpowered) rescued from The High Evolutionary’s prison. They’re hanging out just beyond the perimeter of a village, talking about their favorite songs. The new Guardians go around, before Rocket praises “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone.
After Rocket starts the song, a stampede of alien beasts descend upon the village and the Guardians give us a group superhero pose before storming into battle — as the tune plays.
The scene works on two levels. Primarily, it establishes the new Guardians roster now that Rocket has taken over. Gone are the stalwarts like Peter Quill, Gamora, and Drax. Same goes for the newer recruits like Nebula and Mantis. They’ve been replaced by heavy hitters though, as Adam Warlock and Cosmo both have superpowers and Kraglin has mastered the hot pink, whistle-controlled arrow once used by Star-Lord’s adoptive father Yondu. Personality-wise, Warlock’s intellectual density is not unlike Drax’s, and Cosmo’s cute-but-mighty persona feels similar to Mantis. Kraglin is still a bit of a clown and Groot is Groot, but bigger.
This new team of Guardians could function with a similar dynamic to the original team.
The wild card is the unnamed Star Kid. The child appears to have some powers (they glow) but the scene cuts before we see them fight.
During the movie, we find out in passing that The High Evolutionary has tinkered with these children’s genes and made them extremely intelligent. We also see The High Evolutionary study one as she tirelessly runs around in a hamster wheel. We don’t know, however, exactly what powers they may have.
Peter Quill and his grandfather have a reunion
The final credits scene gives us a glimpse into Peter Quill’s reunion with his grandfather (Gregg Henry). They last saw each other in 1988, and after spending all these years apart, the two finally get to be a family again. And just like we do with our own families after long periods away, Peter and Gramps have breakfast together and complain.
Peter is talking about someone — an unnamed neighbor — asking him to mow the lawn. He wonders why he should do it when the person asking is more than capable of doing it themselves or finding someone else to do it. Peter’s grandpa agrees and says, in a callback to a running gag in the movie, not to get him started.
The scene ends with a title card stating that the “Legendary” Star-Lord will return, but it doesn’t have a specific date.
While Star-Lord will return in a future movie, it’s unclear whether he’ll be joined by the rest of the Guardians. Upcoming solo movies featuring the Guardians or Peter Quill haven’t officially been announced, but if Guardians Vol. 3 is as big of a hit as its predecessors, don’t expect Marvel to let them dance into the sunset just yet.
High Evolutionary Is Seemingly Killed When His Ship Is Destroyed
Guardians of the Galaxy 3’s the High Evolutionary has hundreds of underlings, a massive ship, and telekinetic enhancements, which make him an incredibly powerful MCU villain. However, the Guardians of the Galaxy are smart enough to not face him directly. Instead, the heroes infiltrate OrgoCorp to retrieve the files that help them understand his experiments on Rocket Raccoon and the code that saves Rocket Raccoon’s life, and then they rescue the High Evolutionary’s test subjects. It’s only until the High Evolutionary himself catches up with the Guardians that they attack him head-on, and they waste no time beating him up.
All the Guardians participate in the beatdown, with Gamora using her sword to give the final blow. The Guardians remove the High Evolutionary’s face, revealing the mangled remains that Rocket had left back when he attacked him for killing Lylla. Although Rocket refuses to finish him off, the Guardians leave the High Evolutionary behind while evacuating his ship, and the ship blows up with him inside. The Guardians rescue the High Evolutionary’s test subjects successfully without any major casualties, although Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 casually ignores the billions of deaths that may have resulted from Counter-Earth’s destruction.
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