WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War is the beginning of the end for Marvel movies as we know them, but one reference most fans will have missed could tease a major story coming soon. It may not be as iconic or as acclaimed as the tale of Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet, but it does involve most of Marvel's main players - and the first hint at Captain Marvel long before the movie's post-credits scene.
Avengers 4 is expected to finish Infinity War's story, but from there the MCU will need a new direction (one that new heroes like Captain Marvel are expected to help launch). So with James Gunn claiming that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 leads to more Marvel movies, and actor Dave Bautista revealing that Gunn wrote the Guardians' Infinity War dialogue, fans should pay close attention to those cosmic cowboys.
If they do, they'll spot a confirmation of an alien race in the MCU with ties to villains who could act as the next 'big bad' of Marvel's Phase 4. Marvel fans, it's time to learn about the Cotati, the Celestial Messiah... and the origins of the Kree-Skrull War.
Fans shouldn't feel too bad about missing this Easter Egg, since it's dropped quickly in conversation, and easy to miss. It comes when the Guardians have first encountered Thor floating through space after the destruction of his ship. The heroes pull him on board and soon find themselves stunned by his size, physique, and looks. That's not news to the audience, but Gamora makes the most noteworthy observation.
As she takes one of Thor's godlike arms in her hands, she observes that "it's like his muscles are made of Cotati metal fibers" before Star-Lord insists she unhand him. But as most fans are laughing at Peter Quill's insecurity, some may be asking: who or what are the Cotati that Gamora is referring to? The answer is fantastic, otherworldly, and inherently weird... so it makes perfect sense that one of James Gunn's Guardians should make their introduction.
The Cotati on their own are part of an incredible story. A race of intelligent, even telepathic trees, the Cotati once shared the planet Hala with the far more vicious Kree (the empire to which Guardians villain Ronan the Accuser belonged). Eventually the Kree tried to kill the Cotati to the point of extinction, leaving only a handful to spread across the galaxy through telepathically-reached sympathizers.
The trees spread and flourished, along with knowledge of a great prophecy involving their species - and the role that Mantis of the Guardians would play in it.
The prophecy stated that some day the most perfectly evolved plant and the most perfectly evolved lifeform would unite, procreate, and give birth to a child. That child - the perfect blend of flora and fauna - would be a savior to the universe, known as the Celestial Messiah. And it would be Mantis who gave birth to it as the Celestial Madonna.
To clarify, the most ancient and powerful telepathic tree-- sorry, Cotati accomplished the task by reanimating and possessing the body of Mantis's lover, Swordsman. The child, Sequoia, was born and hidden from those who sought to end the prophecy. Wild adventures that saw Mantis and the Avengers team up with Thanos eventually followed, all of which seems unlikely to be adapted to film without serious changes.
We're speculating here, but if Marvel isn't likely to adapt the story of the Cotati, why mention them by name, accompanied by "metal" to ensure many viewers would miss it, assuming it to be a generic alien term? Earlier rumors claimed the Cotati were going to appear in Thor: Ragnarok, so it appears there is more to this reference than a fun, throwaway wink. Especially knowing that James Gunn wrote the Guardians' dialogue in Infinity War.
The answer could confirm the next grand space opera of the MCU, since the Cotati are, indirectly, the cause of the Kree-Skrull War soon to be seen in Captain Marvel. Two ancient empires many suspect will take the spotlight in Marvel's next, galaxy-spanning movie era.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date: Sep 26, 2018