James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy forces five unlikely criminals together and explores their transformation into self-sacrificing heroes. They are the cosmic Avengers and represent the first step in introducing audiences up to the larger, off-earth stories and characters from Marvel Comics.

While we now have an established team of five Guardians in the film universe, in the comics written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (collectively known as DnA before they split) for which writers Nicole Perlman and James Gunn drew inspiration from for the film, the team was much larger at times and shared a slightly different origin.

Marvel Studios took a risk in developing Guardians of the Galaxy, but it’s a hit at the box office and among critics. It was no surprise to see the property merchandised and marketed heavily at Comic-Con 2014 where Marvel announced a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel before the first had even hit theaters. With GOTG representing just the first step in a long journey of spaced-based stories, we’re already looking forward to what sequels and spinoffs will introduce from the comics. Below are 12 characters we’d love to see show up Guardians of the Galaxy sequels and other Marvel Studios productions, most taken from DnA’s years of space-based crossover Marvel Comics events:

Adam Warlock

Any major story in Marvel Comics involving Infinity Gems and Thanos also involves Adam Warlock. Introducing “Him” in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 can help introduce another Infinity Stone into the MCU (recall: there are six in total) and his involvement with the 2008-10 run of Guardians of the Galaxy books makes him an essential and powerful part of the team. Did we mention that a story involving the introduction of Adam Warlock would give James Gunn another formidable villain to play with in Magus – an evil alternate version of Warlock?

Note: Adam Warlock’s cocoon can actually be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy as part of The Collector’s collection, and Gunn confirmed that it is, in fact, Warlock’s cocoon.

Mantis

When we spoke with James Gunn at the Guardians of the Galaxy press junket he said that for the sequel he would want a minimum of two female characters on the team. If you’ve read the 2008-10 run of GOTG comics, then Mantis might be the first character to come to mind.

A telepath and a master martial artist who can locate physical weak points on opponents, Mantis takes on a special role on Peter Quill’s band of antiheroes and is even part of Quill’s shady plan to bring the team together – by using Mantis’ abilities to forcefully motivate them to enlist in the Guardians team. Did we mention she can even partially see the future? That might come in handy when the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins exploring time-travel, an important plot device in the Guardians of the Galaxy comics.

Richard Rider (Nova)

We met the Nova Corps and their homeworld of Xandar in Guardians of the Galaxy, but their forces were largely obliterated in the conflict against Ronan the Accuser’s more powerful Kree warship. In this film however, we never met any actual Nova Centurions or Nova Corps officers with the traditional super powers of Nova characters from Marvel Comics.

In future space-based Marvel movies we’d love to see Nova Corps become what it is in the comics and to see the character of Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) forced to come to Earth to deputize young New Yorker Richard Rider who eventually becomes the leader and sole survivor of the Nova Corps. Nova is a crucial character to the big Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning space crossover events of Marvel Comics from 2006-2010.

Wendell Vaughn (Quasar)

Wendell Vaughn makes for another relatable human character for audiences to become attached to. Described as an “everyman,” Vaughn actually went through the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy but wasn’t deemed worthy for field duty. While working security at a base where scientists experimented on the alien Quantum Bands, Vaughn had to put them on during an attack by AIM (the organization introduced in Iron Man 3) and learned to master the power of the bracelets. Oddly enough, the qualities that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t deem worthy were the ones that allowed him to control the Bands.

Vaughn would make for a great character to introduce in the next Captain America film since he was introduced in the Cap comics initially and later, once powered, fought alongside Cap, Falcon and Hulk before taking part in a few major space-based events. Quasar shares a strong bond with Richard Rider, and his Bands have been used by both Phyla-Vell and Rider – both included on this list.

Heather Douglas (Moondragon)

In Guardians of the Galaxy, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) only lives for one purpose – to seek revenge against the character responsible for the death of his daughter and wife. Wouldn’t it be interesting if in the films he learns that – just like in the comics – his daughter isn’t actually dead?

Moondragon, who sports a bald head like Nebula (Karen Gillan), is a powerful telepath and martial artist with an epic story arc we won’t spoil here. She’s shared romantic relationships with other characters on this list including Phyla-Vell, the original Quasar and even Thor, and has an important role to play in the 2008-2010 Guardians of the Galaxy comics.

Phyla-Vell (Quasar, Captain Marvel, Martyr)

A relatively new character in Marvel Comics, Phyla is the daughter of Mar-Vell (the original Captain Marvel) who takes on the mantle and powers of Quasar after Wendell Vaughn dies protecting the galaxy. A love interest of Moondragon and a close friend of Drax, Phyla later joins the Guardians of the Galaxy and takes on an important role in the major space-based events by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

We met the Kree in Guardians of the Galaxy so we’ll definitely see more Kree characters in followups.

Vance Astro (Major Victory)

After the Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest space crossover events by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning helped setup the formation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill and his team’s first mission saw them encounter a man frozen in time and space with the shield of Captain America. The character was Vance Astro from the future, a founding member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy team from the 1968 Marvel Comics team.

He becomes a full member of the team and in future GOTG movies would offer another throwback to the original roster much like Yondu (Michael Rooker) was in James Gunn’s first movie. If the movies explore time-travel, and they will eventually with the introduction of the Time Infinity Stone, Astro would be a key character to play with – especially if he has Cap’s shield from the future.

Noh-Varr (Protector)

Another Kree character on our list, Noh-Varr is the sole survivor of a Kree starship who declares war on Earth and Humanity. After some run-ins with S.H.I.E.L.D. and key Earth superheroes he vows to become a defender of our planet, becoming the new Captain Marvel. He’s later given a new suit by the Kree and takes on the name Protector.

Noh-Varr has served with The Avengers, and Iron Man takes particular interest in Noh-Varr because of his knowledge and technologies. While never a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, we’d love to see a Noh-Varr subplot bridging the gap between Earth and the Kree homeworld, and story that could also potentially include Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel) – a half-human/half-kree character often rumored to be potentially introduced in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Page 3: A Prisoner Alongside New & Old Avengers

Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel)

Danvers was Ms. Marvel but she’s now the current Captain Marvel and it’s no coincidence the long-time Avenger just joined the Guardians of the Galaxy comics earlier this summer. If there’s one powerful female superhero we want to see in The Avengers it’s Carol Danvers, but we wouldn’t complain if the films changed things up a bit and had her join the Guardians first.

Jack Harrison (Jack Flag)

Jack’s a good-hearted character who began his Marvel Comics career in the ’90s helping Captain America. During the Civil War mess, while helping out an innocent, he was paralyzed and imprisoned by the Thunderbolts – a team of supervillains who at the time were  working with Tony Stark/Iron Man against Captain America in enforcing the Superhuman Registration Act. He later joined the Guardians of the Galaxy during an other-worldly prison battle and they were able to repair his back.

Going by the alias Jack Flag, Jack has superhuman strength and offers a great additional human character for Peter Quill to relate to and banter with. Jack even rocks a similar but unique mask and uses blasters just like Star-Lord. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 may be too early to introduce Jack, but we can easily see him showing up down the line, especially if we first meet him in a Captain America movie.

Tony Stark (Iron Man)

When Marvel Comics relaunched the Guardians of the Galaxy comic series as part of their NOW! initiative just as development began on the film, the fact that Iron Man was on the roster threw everyone for a spin and even had fans wondering if Robert Downey Jr. could make a surprise appearance sharing the screen alongside Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt.

Those rumors were fake, but Iron Man in the comics did enlist with the team for a while. With Stark getting a taste for the great beyond at the end of The Avengers, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning to explore more otherworldly stories and characters, we hope Disney and Marvel Studios can sign Robert Downey Jr. for more appearances beyond The Avengers 2 & 3. Who wouldn’t want to see Stark suit up in a deep space armored suit?

Angela

Angela’s origins are one of the most unique since she actually began as a character co-created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane for Spawn. Through a legal battle , Gaiman was able to bring Angela to the Marvel Comics universe last year, where she quickly rose in prominence to being unveiled to be a daughter of Asgardian king Odin, a sister to Thor and Loki, and now, a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. She was even once rumored to be a character in the film (which turned out to be untrue) but as revealed just before Comic-Con, she’s joining The Avengers team this fall as part of the upcoming Avengers NOW! relaunch.

Introducing Angela in the Marvel Cinematic Universe adds another powerful female lead character with unique lore that allows for story threads to be created between Asgard, the Guardians team and The Avengers, while also adding more to Marvel’s take on Norse mythology by explaining that there was actually 10th realm – not nine – that was banished by Odin.

We didn’t include Bug, a character who was in early drafts of Guardians of the Galaxy screenplay since James Gunn told us that Marvel Studios doesn’t own the film rights to the character. What character or two would you like to see most in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and who’s your favorite of this list?

More: Infinity Stones in Marvel Movies Explained

The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6 2016, and unannounced films for July 8 2016 and May 5 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on July 28 2017, November 3 2017, May 4 2018, July 6 2018, November 2 2018 and May 3 2019.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!

Sources: Marvel