What Does the Scene Mean for Future Marvel Films?
At this point, it's unlikely this particular appearance by Howard and Cosmo has significant direct impact on the Marvel shared movie universe going forward - no more than The Avengers' enjoyment of shawarma. James Gunn projects are known for having a quirky (and often twisted) sense of humor - which made the filmmaker the perfect fit for a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. For that reason, moviegoers should take the scene at face-value, without trying to unpack a larger significance.
Since Guardians already helped flesh-out the larger Thanos threat, and introduced future antagonists like Nebula and The Collector, Gunn simply chose to drop one more joke on the audience. Speaking with Total Film a couple months back (form the time of this writing) the director promised an end credits scene that would be "a great deal of fun":
"Oh we have a post-credit sequence for you! Oh, do we ever! Yes, well we are connected, first of all we are connected because of certain characters but we have a post-credit sequence that’s all our own! That in all honestly we have just been doing the past few days so I think it’s going to be a great deal of fun for people [...] You don’t even want to know what it is! Pure joy, pure joy, that’s two words!"
It's always possible that Gunn will find a way to give Howard the Duck another cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but do not expect the character to play a significant part - if he returns at all.
That said, of the two animal characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy end credits scene, Cosmo could actually have a major role to play in the future of the franchise. While some might have simply dismissed the dog as a tongue-in-cheek reference, Gunn had previously confirmed that Cosmo would appear in the movie - and it's highly likely that the filmmaker will revisit the canine hero in the future.
Who is Cosmo the Space dog?
Like many animal characters in the Marvel universe, Cosmo started out as a typical dog - until he was launched into space as a soviet test subject in the 1960s. When his mission goes awry, Cosmo drifts through space - coming to land on Knowhere. Later, Cosmo develops enhanced telekinetic and telepathic powers - capable of moving objects with his mind as well as manipulating others by way of illusion, influence, or psionic attack. Thanks to his abilities, Cosmo earns his place as the chief of Knowhere security - and eventually joins-up as a member of the Guardians.
At the point we see Cosmo in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, he appears more pet than super-powered hero. So, it's safe to assume that, should Gunn decide to revisit the character in a future Guardians film, Cosmo will go (or have gone) through some major evolutions. After all, the character is a close ally to Nova aka Richard Rider (a cosmic being that wields the combined force of the Nova Corp) - a hero that Marvel has previously teased for a movie appearance at some point in the future.
Since the Guardians sequel was just announced this past week at Comic-Con 2014, nothing is set in stone at this point and we’ll have to wait for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 to hit theaters before we know what the future might hold for Cosmo, Nova, and Howard the Duck.
Guardians of the Galaxy is now playing 2D, 3D, and 3D IMAX theaters. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will release on July 28th, 2017
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