Who Are… The Guardians of the Galaxy?

Luke Owen gives us the lowdown on Marvel Studios’ newest superhero team, the Guardians of the Galaxy…

It had been rumoured for some time but at Saturday’s Marvel Comi-Con panel it was officially announced – in 2014, the world will get a big screen adaptation of The Guardians of the Galaxy. While the news was certainly interesting, it has been met with rather tepid reactions from the comic book and movie fanbase, with a lot of people asking one question – ‘who the hell are The Guardians of the Galaxy?’. Well, perhaps I can be of assistance and show you just who these fine people (and raccoon) are and why the movie is important for The Avengers 2…

Fair warning – there will be spoilers for The Avengers and ‘that post-credits scene’. If you have managed to get to this point of the year without seeing the movie and avoiding the spoiler, then click back now and come back when you have climbed out from under your rock to brave the sunlight.

The Guardians of The Galaxy originally began in the late 60s to a very limited amount of success and recognition and were a team made up of the last members of alien species from the 31st century. Over the next 3 decades the team would crop up from time to time until their cancellation in 1995. In 2008, writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning revitalised the series by giving the team a new line-up, a new attitude and some cool looking artwork. This was the new Guardians of the Galaxy.

The team formed as a spinoff run from the mini-series Annihilation: Conquest, a story about several of Marvel’s cosmic heroes battling against Phalanx and Ultron, who had invaded the Kree Empire. Following Annihilation: Conquest, Abnett and Lanning took the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy and led them on their own run and the team would feature in the War of the Kings mini-series in 2009 before confronting Thanos in The Thanos Imperative in 2010, after which the team disbanded.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have never achieved the level of Captain America’s success but they have developed somewhat of a cult following especially amongst readers who love the cosmic storylines of the Marvel Universe.


Over the years there have been several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy with only a few constant core members. With so many characters to choose from, you’ve got to give Marvel a lot of credit for this cinematic version of Guardians of the Galaxy, which is giving us a clever core team of Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, cult favourite Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Why should we give them credit? Let’s meet them and find out.

Star-Lord

Although human, Peter Quill was born from the alignment of many planets. After his father died of a heart-attack and his mother was killed by an alien, Quill escaped from the orphanage he was placed in and eventually became a trainee NASA astronaut. Although the mantle of Star-Lord (a policeman of space if you will) was not to be bestowed upon him, Quill took the role from its intended target and with the help of the Master of the Sun he was able to track down his mother’s murderer and kill him. After the events of the battles with Phalanx and Ultron and their invasion of Kree homeland, Star-Lord put together the Guardians of the Galaxy in an attempt to prevent anymore galactic wars.

Powers

Star-Lord doesn’t have any superpowers to speak of but is a master strategist and an expert in close hand-to-hand combat due to his extensive knowledge on various alien customs and tactics. The suit he wears improves his strength and gives him the ability to travel through space. He also makes use of an Elemental Gun that projects one of the four elements and has a psychic link with his shape-shifting ship – which is named, funnily enough, Ship. Ship can form herself into various forms including a human as well as create small mobile droids which are used during for scouting situations.

What can we expect from the movie version?

To be honest, I don’t think we’ll have Ship in the capacity she’s in within the comic book world. Perhaps she’ll be like how Jarvis is in the Iron Man movies – a disembodied voice that talks to Star-Lord while out on missions. I can see the Elemental gun playing a big part of what makes Star-Lord cool and he will most likely be the main focus of the movie being that he is a) the leader and b) human. However, he’s not the only human on the team…

Drax the Destroyer

Originally Arthur Douglas, Drax came from Titan God Chronos who needed a spirit to place in a powerful new body to track down and kill Thanos. Not only had Douglas been killed by Thanos, his wife was also killed and his daughter Heather was adopted by him before becoming Moondragon. Drax would team with Marvel superheroes over the years trying to complete his cause such as Iron Man, Adam Warlock and the Avengers. Drax would do battle with Thanos but never quite managed destroy him and was eventually brainwashed and killed by his daughter Moondragon. Drax would be resurrected by Chronos once again after Mistress Death brings Thanos and he would eventually be hired by Star-Lord to be part of the new Guardians of the Galaxy after he helped defeat Phalanx’s controller Ultron during Annihilation: Conquest.

Powers

A cosmic being in every sense of the word. He possess super strength (which has been compared to being on par with Hulk’s), flight (including Hyperspeed) and he can fire cosmic energy from his hands. He can also sense where Thanos might be – even at far distances.

What can we expect from the movie version?

Hopefully mostly the same. His backstory is far less complex than the others so it shouldn’t be too hard to explain his origins. I hope that they keep the Moondragon element to his story as it will add a lot of weight to his character as well as set up some good interplay between her and our next Guardian…

Gamora

Moondragon was not the only adoptive daughter of Thanos. After her species was destroyed by Universal Church of Truth (or Badoon depending on which storyline you follow), she was taken in and trained by the Titan Thanos. Earning herself the moniker of “the most dangerous woman in the Universe”, Gamora became an assassin against the Universal Church of Truth as well as Magus (an evil future version of Adam Warlock). She would later team up with Warlock to destroy Magus and even did battle with Drax the Destroyer. When Thanos turned on her, she teamed up with Captain Marvel as well as The Avengers to take him down. After the events of the Infinity Gauntlet, which saw Gamora get erased and brought back into existence, she was given the Time Gem by Warlock to protect as part of the Infinity Watch. She left the Watch after an argument with Maxum and became a mercenary and would eventually strike up a romance with Adam Warlock. She left Warlock before Phalanx’s invasion of the Kree home world and started a sexual relationship with United Front leader Nova. After Annihilation: Conquest and her break-up with Nova, she joined The Guardians of the Galaxy to help Star-Lord.

Powers

After Gamora was attacked and raped by a group of thugs as a teenager, Thanos gave her treatments that improved her speed and strength which, coupled with her already incredible martial art skills, makes her a deadly woman. She has been known to use weaponry in the past, but her biggest skill lies in her fighting (which I imagine will make for some cool wire-fu fighting scenes).

What can we expect from the movie version?

I’d imagine they’ll cut out the rape factor of her backstory but with Thanos’ appearance at the end of The Avengers it seems very likely that her origin will remain intact. If my hope for the inclusion of Moondragon becomes a reality, we can expect a good girl-on-girl showdown between the two adoptive daughters of the Titan. I’d also place money on her having a romantic interaction with one of the two males (most likely Drax).


Rocket Racoon

Born of the alien planet Halfworld (which is populated by half animal half human beings), Rocket Raccoon acted as the Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant with his first mate Wal Russ on board his starship Rack ‘n’ Ruin. He has led quite a quiet life among the Marvel Universe, with only one high point of teaming up with Hulk during the Toy War. It wasn’t until Annihilation: Conquest that Racoon made a re-appearance and was hired by his friend Star-Lord for his military skills (it was in fact Raccoon that suggested they take on the mantle of the Guardians of the Galaxy). When Star-Lord was sent to the Negative Zone by Ronan The Accuser, Raccoon took on the role of leading the Guardians to rescue him.

Powers

Rocket possess heightened senses much like a regular earth raccoon as well as being an excellent shooter and pilot. His leadership skills also come in handy to lead the team when Star-Lord isn’t around.

What can we expect from the movie version?

Along with Groot, Rocket will most likely be the comedy relief of the movie. Rocket Raccoon has developed a cult following since the Guardians re-launch as well as his appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 so we can assume he’ll have a large part to play in the movie. Because of the nature of his character, you can probably bet that he’ll also be the focus of media drives to get kids in the cinemas and buy toys so I’d put money on it that he’ll lead the team at some point in the movie. Which I’m sure will lead to plenty of hilarious moments with our final member of the team…

Groot

Initially coming to earth to capture and study humans, Groot would have several run-ins with Hulk and the Howling Commandos. Groot is a plant monster and would make his big showing in the Marvel Universe (much like everyone else in this team) during Annihilation: Conquest. Groot would sacrifice himself to save several of the cosmic heroes but had a cutting of his body saved by Rocket Raccoon who was able to re-grow him. The two grew a special bond and would team up after the demise of the Guardians.

Powers

Groot is resistant to fire and is able to sprout and massively increase his size (however this does limit his movement). Despite his appearance, Groot has huge intellect and has an incredible understanding of cosmic engineering.

What can we expect from the movie version?

Not a lot I’d imagine. Of all the members of the Guardians team, Groot is easily the least known and has the least to offer in terms of storytelling. Whereas Drax and Gamora have dealings that can tie into The Avengers and Star-Lord and Rocket can double as team leaders, Groot can do nothing but provide exposition and probably add some fairly decent elements to the fight scenes. That is not a bad thing however as one of the problems with multi-person movies is trying to spend equal amounts of time on each character. Groot will serve as a fine background character and will be a great straight man to Rocket’s comedy ways.

What can we expect from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie?

Well the focus will probably be on Star-Lord, Gamora and Drax with Rocket Raccoon and Groot providing the back-up. Raccoon will get a decent amount of screen time to push toys, but should really be a secondary character. With these five characters, not only should the film be fairly balanced, it also ties in so nicely with the set up from the end of The Avengers. There are however two names that have been mentioned a lot in this post but haven’t been mentioned or confirmed for the movie – Adam Warlock and Thanos.

The exclusion of Warlock surprises me because of the huge role he plays in all the battles involving the Infinity Gems (as seen in Odin’s chambers in Thor). If they are setting up a battle between The Avengers and Thanos (and the Gems) then the inclusion of Warlock should have been a no-brainer. Perhaps they felt one more name would have been too much or Star-Lord is a strong enough character to handle both of their roles.

Given several characters’ links to Thanos, I think we can make a safe bet that Marvel will use Guardians of the Galaxy to launch Thanos as a villain to set him up for The Avengers 2. With two of our main characters having such close links to Thanos, we should get a really good character driven story with some great interstellar action. Personally, I am really excited for this entry into Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and eagerly await the movie’s progress. However, with all of the space exploration, wacky characters and hard to stomach origins (if you’re not into sci-fi), the worry is that Guardians of the Galaxy could end up as Marvel’s Green Lantern.

Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.

Around the Internet…

  • ElliotDwennen

    Great Post Luke!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesalanbetts James Betts

    In order for it to not seem like a complete farce, they will presumable approach it with a similar tone to the rest of the MCU films. It would have to be catastrophically bad to top Green Lantern (keeping in mind that DC is pretty much inherently more goofy than Marvel from the off).

  • Anonymous

    Star-Lord is my fav character cuz to me hes the most badass so i hope the pick a real badass dude to play him…say…Joel Edgerton ?