‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Villains Are On A ‘Holy Mission’

Published 10 months ago by

Guardians of the Galaxy Villains Guardians of the Galaxy Villains Are On A Holy Mission

After showing up during the mid-credits of The Avengers, fans were hoping to see (and finally hear) more of the big bad villain Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy – Marvel’s first space-based feature – and it was only recently confirmed that we will. We knew we’d learn a little more about Thanos through his allies, the antagonists in Guardians of the Galaxy, but with Josh Brolin cast as his voice and his flying throne appearing just briefly in the 17-minute IMAX preview, we’re going to see him brought to life for the first time. So, what’s he and the other villains of GOTG really up to?

Not to dissimilar to Apocalypse, the Marvel Comics villain to be introduced in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse who believes simply in survival of the fittest, Thanos has no time for the weak and he wants ultimate power. The obvious path we can see forming from the Marvel Studios stories so far going out of there way to introduce Infinity Stones/Gems as the big MacGuffins – and the first Thor introducing a certain Golden glove in Odin’s Vault on Asgard – that what we’re seeing is building up to an adaptation of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline from Marvel Comics. Acquiring all six Infinity Gems (including the Tesseract from Phase 1 and the Aether from Thor: The Dark World) and placing them in the Infinity Gauntlet gives its user unlimited godlike power and that’s what Thanos once used in the comics to eradicate most life in the galaxy.

When we spoke with Karen Gillan on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy at Pinewood Studios last September, who plays Nebula, the adopted daughter of Thanos, she confirmed the essentials about her character and the other antagonists.

“Well basically she is a lieutenant of Ronan the Accuser, a daughter of Thanos, and sister of Gamora. They are on this holy mission to kind of cleanse the galaxy of all that is weak. That is her ultimate objective and what’s been drilled into her as a kid. So she is brainwashed by these people, and she just wants to impress, and achieve, and be as strong as possible. That’s her ultimate goal.”

As for Thanos’ henchman, The Other (who we met in The Avengers) seems to simply lives to serve Thanos, but Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) – who is the primary antagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy – isn’t evil for the sake of being evil a la Malekith in Thor: The Dark World. His people, according to Disney’s official description of the character, share a violent history with the Utopian-like planet Xandar we’ve seen in the trailers, home of the Nova Corps and a big part of the film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Photo Milano High Res 700x425 Guardians of the Galaxy Villains Are On A Holy Mission

Milano Flying in Xandar Atmosphere

A Kree radical, Ronan continues to fight an ancient war between his people and the Xandarians. Ronan has struck a bargain with the Machiavellian Thanos—retrieve a mysterious artifact, and in exchange Xandar will finally be eradicated. Ronan leads his army to hunt down Peter Quill and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy when they come between him and his genocidal goal.

While director James Gunn describes Ronan as “bad as bad can get, a complete and utter sociopath who enjoys the pain of others,” actor Lee Pace who brings the character to life in Guardians found what Ronan represents to be interesting and “universal.”  He continues, “and that has made the character so iconic through the years in different forms. He’s the judge, he’s the accuser and he’s brutal.”

Ronan has been portrayed in his limited exposure in the marketing and from descriptions of him from cast and crew in interviews as someone to be feared, someone who is a “psycho,” but his reasoning remains a mystery and like the Marvel Comics, it’s possible he’s misunderstood when we first meet him and if he returns in future movies, maybe he won’t be the villain in the long-term like in the books.

Guardians of the Galaxy Ronan and Nebula 620x370 Guardians of the Galaxy Villains Are On A Holy Mission

Ronan and Nebula

As for the other antagonists, Nebula – like fellow adopted-by-Thanos sister Gamora – is a lieutenant of Ronan the Accuser, aiming to please. The adopted sisters ultimately serve Thanos as galactic-class assassins but Ronan is their mentor of sorts. Failures and weakness are punished severely as we learned from the Guardians of the Galaxy prelude comic, and the cybernetic implants and limb on Nebula is a result of Thanos’ harsh rule.

The other antagonist is Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou) who is a hunter for hire and ally of Ronan, helping catch Peter Quill to get the powerful orb for Thanos. Ronan has a deal with Thanos to get him the orb in exchange for the destruction of Xandar so we have a pretty clear idea of his and Korath’s goals are, but for Thanos, it really is a holy mission of sorts – as Karen Gillan describes – to wipe out all that is weak. His quest to find the Infinity Gems will help him accomplish this.

If you recall, when Thanos is introduced, his servant (The Other) warns him of the danger Earth’s heroes could potentially represent and that to challenge them would be to court “Death.” To that statement, Thanos smiles since in the comics, Death is personified as a character and Thanos wishes to please her, no matter the cost. That’s why he wants to destroy the galaxy. That’s quite the holy mission.

Of course, as we learned from speaking with James Gunn, there are more cameos, namedrops and Easter Eggs in Guardians of the Galaxy than in any other Marvel movie (“times four”) so we could meet some other potentially villainous characters who may factor into other stories down the road.


More: Full Karen Gillan Set Interview


Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, and Josh Brolin as the voice of Thanos.

Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014The 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.

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

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  1. Nebula! Marry me?

  2. Woah, wait a second. You got to see Thanos in the 17 minute preview? Or just his throne?

    • Just his flying throne from the rear.

      • Where the picture at?

      • was the 17 minute preview for GotG? Or was it for another Marvel movie for the future (Avengers 2?). Will we get to see the throne in the near future is basically what I’m asking

        • It was VERY briefly shown near the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy IMAX preview.

          • I thought the scene was included in the latest extended trailer.
            I even rewatched that trailer several times checking bit by bit to make sure I didn’t miss anything hahaha

      • Was it a good rear 😉

  3. im not a fan of comics so i dont know much about GOTG but im soo looking forward to this movie, this is my most exciting movie of the year until the hobbit comes out

  4. Coming this fall!!! The Other Guys starring The Other & Thanos McClain!!! Marvels first comedy!!! This fall high school on a floating asteroid will be attended by The Other and Thanos McClain!!!

  5. If one reads the DnA comic, the ‘holy mission’ is definitely not a joke, especially if Marvel decided to incorporate the whole Church thing with Adam Warlock and Magus (which I doubt, they probably use Warlock but not the former). They might say ‘Holy’ but that was actually sick though completely understandable and possible, especially if one knows how some people values their ‘religion’ even in this world. Can’t wait to see how Ronan and the Kree empire along with Thanos play their hand in the future MCU 😀

    • Good point!

      I think Adam Warlock is definitely coming.

      • @ Rob K,Y know something that y’re not telling 😉

  6. Will Howard the Duck be there?

  7. Wow!! Amazing report! Ronan sounds to be done right!! Can’t wait!!!

  8. Can’t wait to see what the next Infinity Stone/Gem will be.
    Agreed with Guardian Outlaw….Ronan the Accuser looks to be portrait much like the comic’s version. Props to Marvel for that ! This will almost make up for Amazing Spider 2’s mistake of depicting The Rhino as a robot.

    • Remember Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Studio (Disney). While Amazing Spiderman 2 is Sony (Marvel character). Sony hasn’t made up for that just yet hahahahahahahaha

  9. strange if this is all about riding the universe of weakness then they are turning him too much like Apocalypse. Because honestly the two in the comics are nothing alike.

    Apocalypse is interested in strength that is true

    but Thanos? his obsession is with Death. So much so he swore to death that once he collected all the soul gems (Thanos renamed them infinity gems) he would kill 1/2 of everyone in existence. then in the Infinity Gauntlet he does just that. He kills everyone the weak the strong it doesn’t matter.

    plus the infinity gauntlet = godlike? more than that with the infinity gauntlet Thanos defeats Eternity himself who is a representation of the universe or that universe within the marvel multiverse. At that point he switches places with Eternity and becomes the Universe. so weakness or strength it doesn’t really matter all that much to Thanos.

    he is the type of person who who torched Nebula and brought her to the verge of death for hijiacking Sanctuary II and claiming to be his grand daughter.

    the same one who took in a weak Gamora who was broken twice. Once by the A crazy religious order, she survived. Second by a group of thugs who did things i’d rather not mention here. He rebuilt her body and made her stronger. Turning her eventually into one of the most dangerous assassins in the universe. she was trained to fight Magus who will give you a headache in the pre-gauntlet story. When he first appeared he was a future Adam Warlock driven insane by Lord Chaos and Master order when they attempted to have someone to counter Thanos. He’s eventually stopped by a younger Warlock and Thanos but returns to a degree when Warlock expels both the good side (which becomes the Goddess) of him and the evil side (which becomes the new Magus) after gaining the infinity gauntlet.

    with all he’s seen weakness and strength don’t really mean all that much to him, there is only the living a the dead.

    • @Sinjun
      “strange if this is all about riding the universe of weakness then they are turning him too much like Apocalypse. Because honestly the two in the comics are nothing alike.”

      Y! I don’t like that angle either. He’s a proud Kree and cares for ONLY the Empire like Worf (ST:NG)