Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What We Might Expect in the Guardians of the Galaxy Sequel

The Guardians of the Galaxy will return...that's the promise we were left with following one of the most films of the summer. We know James Gunn's Guardians will be back in theaters July 28, 2017, but what might we expect the next time they hit the screen? I'll take a look after the jump.

Nearly all of the sections below will contain thoughts that will be based on the events of Guardians of the Galaxy; therefore, proceed at your own risk if you have not seen the film as below, there be spoilers.

One thing of which I can be certain is the version of the Cosmos that James Gunn has created is a MUCH different place than the one with which I'm so familiar from the comics. I can't imagine many of the major Cosmic story lines proceeding without Ronan the Accuser, but that certainly seems to be the case. The origin of Drax is much different (I'm not sure why he's even the Destroyer in the MCU) and likely takes another relatively big Cosmic player (Moondragon) out of play. Yondu shows up in a time and place he doesn't belong with what seem to be a group of Cosmic hillbillies. Perhaps these stories will evolve in the next film, perhaps there is more to learn, but as of now, it doesn't seem safe to assume that what we know of the Cosmic side of things from the comics will influence the MCU. James Gunn seems to have played as freely with adapting stories as any director whose film has made it to screen has. So while I've read and re-read the Cosmic comics of Starlin, Wolfman, Abnett and Lanning and more, I don't know if it means anything at all!

The Identity of Peter Quill's Father

During the course of the film, we found out that Peter Quill's abduction from Earth wasn't coincidental. Yondu and the Ravagers were sent for Quill by Quill's mysterious father. We also find out that his father is a bit of an ass and that his species are something ancient in the MCU. 

In the comics, through a couple/few retcons, we know that Quill's father is J'Son, heir to the throne of Spartax. By the time Quill is an adult and canvassing space, his father has become the Emperor of the Spartoi, a race related to the more well-known Shi'ar. The Spartoi, though humanoid in appearance, have an interesting habit of living really long lives. For example, J'son, as pictured above, looks to be in his 40s, but is actually believed to be about 130 years old. J'son is a 130 year old ass: most of the rest of the Galactic Council do not trust or like J'son, but the Spartoi are pretty heavy hitters, so they deal with him.

While a lot of people have speculated that we will find out Quill's father is not J'son (much of that comes from the words Meredith Quill, Peter's mom, spoke on her death bed calling his father a being of pure light or some such business), I'm not there at all. I do think that J'son or Jason will be Quill's dad; the boy is still named Peter Jason Quill. I don't know if he'll be Spartoi, but I do think he's a man of great power and influence who is going to be taking some serious interest in the newfound fame of his son and his group of friends. I expect that J'son, or whatever/whoever he turns out to be, will play a LARGE role in the sequel, possibly even attempting to bring his son home to take his place as heir to the empire, only to be rebuffed by Star-Lord when he learns his dad is an ass. As Kevin Feige told IGN, "I think that would certainly be part of a next Guardians adventure. Certainly, that would be part of it."

There's also some concept art by Stephan Martiniere that shows Marvel was at least considering including Spartax in the film:

So while there's no certainty that J'son of Spartax is going to be Quill's father in the MCU, there's at least some evidence to support the idea that Marvel may not totally retcon the origins of Star-Lord. 

UPDATE: But then there is this!

James Gunn, in an interview with Empire Magazine, has said that Peter Quill's dad "won't be who it is in the comic books" so there goes any idea that J'son of Spartax is the guy responsible for Quill being only half-Terran. At this point there's no telling who will be the father, but maybe it's time to start thinking about Meredith's description of the father as a "being of pure light" and taking some guesses based on that statement. We do know that James Gunn is a big fan of the original 31st century Guardians, especially Starhwawk, who could nicely fit the description of his DNA given to Star-Lord by the Nova Corps.

The Destruction of Xandar

I was sure we were going to see this in Guardians of the Galaxy. Even during the trailers, I felt that we were being set up to have Ronan use the Power Stone to obliterate Xandar. Of course this is because Richard Rider is my favorite Marvel character and I badly wanted his origin tied in to the film. Obviously, it didn't happen and Richard Rider was nowhere to be found. James Gunn has even said he's not a big fan of The Human Rocket. However, I believe Xandar is actually in worse shape than before and that Gunn did a bit of set-up at the end of the first film. Notice that, despite a good chunk of their fleet being destroyed, we were shown some scenes on Xandar that made it seem safe and secure: Nova Prime locking up the orb and Rhomann Dey hugging his wife and kids.

Here's the thing: stashing the Power Stone on Xandar just made it a target for Thanos, a character who at some point very soon is going to start not giving much thought to how he goes about getting those stones. It may be in the sequel or in another film, maybe even a One-Shot, but I still think Xandar goes down and Rhomann Dey passes on his helmet to Richard Rider.

 New Guardians

James Gunn has said we'll see at least one new member join the Guardians in the sequel. All I've done is pick 3 from the 2008 series that I think would be the most fun to have join the team. From left to right, Phyla-Vell, Adam Warlock and Mantis. Now, if you ask me, Adam Warlock is a must. James Gunn has confirmed that it was his cocoon in The Collector's collection on Knowhere and plenty of people are claiming that at the end of the film, the cocoon is open. I have no idea if that's true because I didn't see it with my own eyes, but man do I hope it is. As was the case with the destruction of Xandar, I was sure that Warlock would appear in Guardians of the Galaxy. His connection to the Soul Gem and the fact that he is one of the major Cosmic players in any story involving Thanos makes him seem a necessary addition to the roster in preparation for the showdown with the Mad Titan. However, like I said in the opening, James Gunn's version of the Cosmic side of things seems to be shaping up very differently.

I'd LOVE to see Phyla-Vell's Quasar, but that would include a lot of front-loading to explain who the Vells are and what the Quantum Bands are. Mantis would make a magnificent addition to the group, but her abilities are so far beyond what Marvel has included in their films so far, it's hard to imagine how the Celestial Madonna fits in.

Original Guardians

James Gunn has recently teased that he has plans for the original Guardians, a group of people from the 31st century who assembled to stop the Badoon from running the universe. Yondu was a member of these original Guardians in the comics, along with the characters you see left to right above: Martinex, Charlie-27, Major Victory/Vance Astro/Vance Astrovik and Starhawk.

To this point, Marvel has steered VERY clear of time travel in it's films; however, with the Time Stone still in play, there's plenty of opportunity for people to become temporally displaced and that might be a way to introduce some, or all, of the original Guardians. While there's a chance we might see the whole team, especially with them getting a series relaunch by Dan Abnett in the fall, if you put Vance Astro (yes that is Captain America's shield he's holding) and Starhawk into the sequel, you would have two of the most interesting time travelers in the MCU this side of the X-Men properties.

Drax v Thanos, Round 1

This was set up in at the end of the first film. Following the defeat of Ronan, the focal point of Drax's vengeance, Drax mentioned that Ronan was just a puppet and now he was after Thanos. If you were like me, you smiled and thought back to the intense hatred Drax has for Thanos in the comics. While in the MCU we are told Ronan murdered Drax's family, the comics tell a different story in which Thanos murdered Arthur Douglas (Drax) and his family. Arthur Douglas' soul was rekindled in the body of the Destroyer with the sole purpose of killing Thanos. This was done by Thanos' own father, Mentor, of of the race of Eternals called the Titans for their home on Saturn's moon. We've heard the MCU version of Drax's history and it's quite a bit different than the comic version, so unless the version Drax told us represents some sort of memory alteration, we probably won't see his daughter, Heather, who became a hero by the name of Moondragon, I think all will be ok as long as we get to see Drax go toe-to-toe with Thanos. However, given the way Ronan, who should possess nowhere near the physical prowess of Thanos, handled Drax in the first film, I'd say Drax may be up for an upgrade, and potential recalibration of his memories, before he could hope to pull Thanos' heart from his body. While I don't forsee that coming about in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, I certainly think it might be in the a possibility for the third Avengers film.

Further Expansion of the Cosmos

We have seen a Celestial. The Collector is, in the comics at least, part of a race called The Elders of the Universe. Thanos, in the comics, is a mutant member of a race of super-powered race of beings called Titans, Eternals who were created through the genetic manipulation of the Celestials. There's no telling how deeply they'll go into all the madness that is the universe and multiverse, but it Celestials exist within the universe, so could The One Above All, and if he exists, any number of completely awesome and insane combination of Cosmic entities, both corporeal and abstract, and Cosmic Forces, like the Nova Force, could potentially exist as well. If you've never gotten too far into the madness that is the Marvel Cosmos, this probably isn't the time, but suffice the say that if James Gunn wants to play around with some more weird characters in the sequel, there are plenty out there!

But hey, that's just like, my opinion, man...I think it's pretty clear that James Gunn is having a ton of fun playing in the Cosmic sandbox and that we probably can't expect to guess at much of what he has in mind. That doesn't stop us from having a bit of fun guessing. What are some other things you guys are looking forward to in the sequel?