WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
You have to hand it to director James Gunn, Marvel, and actor Sylvester Stallone: they’re all set to bring a new superhero to life in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2… but have kept fans in the dark on the details. Earlier rumors claimed that a novelization of Guardians 2 revealed Stallone to be playing Starhawk, a cosmic superhero and founding member of the original Guardians in the Marvel Universe. But true to this cosmic corner Gunn has carved out for himself, that raises as many questions as it answers.
Still, knowing the comic book history of Starhawk is the first step in predicting what changes, if any, will be made for an MCU version – and what to expect, should Stallone indeed be bringing him to life. The history of Starhawk a.k.a. Stakar Ogord is a complex one, and directly tied into long-rumored and anticipated cosmic characters and sagas like Quasar and his Quantum Bands, and even Adam Warlock himself.
It’s unlikely that even the official presence of Stallone as Starhawk would mean those anticipated announcements, films, or stories would actually be coming, but there may nevertheless be SPOILERS coming in our breakdown of Starhawk, founding member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The origin story of the man who would become ‘Starhawk’ is about as complicated, and retconned as it gets, so we’ll keep it brief. Originally, the hero began his life as an abandoned baby on the planet Arcturus, discovered by a pair of mutants shortly before a pack of Arcturian Reavers slaughtered them – the murdering of mutants seen as a “cleansing” by the soldiers who performed them on the brutal planet. Since the baby in their possession appeared to be unmutated, a commander by the name of ‘Ogord’ took him as his own, since he and his wife could not produce a son.
Thus, Stakar Ogord was born, and raised alongside an adopted sister. When the two reached adulthood, Stakar’s obsession with his planet’s history (and perhaps a calling beyond his understanding) led him into ancient ruins. His sister, Aleta followed him as both were visited by the Hawk God – a great cosmic being who imbued the two with the powers of his champion… but required they share a single body to use it. Thus, Starhawk was born.
It was a few years later that the two were separated, and the Hawk God informed Stakar that his true parents, believed all his life to have been the mutants he was rescued from, were far more important to the universe. As it turns out, he was actually the son of Quasar a.k.a. the Earthling Wendell Vaughn and his one time lover Kismet. He was stolen from his mother not long after his birth (a thousand years in the past) by a villain plotting a much larger scheme. One that a being of Stakar Vaughn‘s power could disrupt.
That’s the man behind the mantle, but the powers of Starhawk are nothing to shrug off, either. Before he learned of his true parentage – back when he and his sister, Aleta were still living in one body – they actually possessed the ability to swap control, placing Stakar or Aleta in the bodily driver’s seat. It was under this form that they joined, and rotated membership in the original version of the Guardians of the Galaxy set a millennium into the future of an alternate Marvel timeline. Their powers of light distortion, constructs, energy blasts, and faster-than-light travel are fairly standard for cosmic “champion” heroes, but ithe real secret to Starhawk is his… their immortality.
He introduced himself as “One Who Knows,” implying that Starhawk was not only immortal, but omnipotent and all-knowing. The truth of the matter is that when Starhawk reaches the end of his life, he reverts back into a newborn baby, reliving to adulthood with the knowledge of past lives continuing in his brain (knowingly or not). As it was eventually revealed, Starhawk used that knowledge to directly manipulate the lives of Yondu Udonta, Vance Astro, and all the other members who founded the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
Possessing the knowledge of innumerable lives, that wisdom didn’t disappear when Stakar and Aleta were separated, leaving him to hold the title of Starhawk alone. As the son of Wendell Vaughn, Stakar was a half-human being imbued with an undisclosed strength born of his father’s Quantum Bands. As the son of Kismet, also known as Ayesha, or Her, he enjoyed the genes of the Enclave’s attempt to create the perfect form. Well, their second attempt, since the first was actually the all-powerful hero known as Adam Warlock.
Stakar would eventually return to the current Marvel timeline when Black Bolt collapsed space and time, but… well, this story is complicated enough as it is.
For obvious reasons, it’s hard to imagine that a big screen version of Starhawk, or Stakar Ogord could be adapted with all of his backstory and origin intact. And that’s without even taking into consideration the amount of reinvention, re-imagining, or clever nods director James Gunn has offered in Guardians of the Galaxy already. So if Sylvester Stallone’s cameo role is Starhawk – a character presumed to be in the film thanks to the mention of “Ogord” by Yondu’s boss Ravager in the movie’s novelization – then some picking and choosing from the character’s backstory is highly likely.
On the broadest level, an immortal, powerful being who has used the knowledge gained from innumerable life cycles to manipulate the Guardians into existence could work. In fact, we now know that Sylvester Stallone will swap genders in the film, too – with Michelle Yeoh playing Starhawk’s other half. But the presence of other ancient beings, Kurt Russell’s Ego the Living Planet chief among them, and including Ayesha herself may offer more clues. If Ayesha is leading the golden people known as the Sovereign as the film’s antagonists, and Ayesha is Stakar’s mother in the comics, and the Sovereign appear to be a race of perfected beings, clever or imaginative fans could begin to connect some dots.
Speculating at that level is obviously done at the theorist’s risk, since it’s unknown if Gunn will adapt all, most, or really any of the specifics of Starhawk’s origin. The novelization placed his potential character as a much older member of the Ravagers who had past quarrels with Yondu, which isn’t an exact match to any of Stakar Ogord’s source material. Still, now that fans know what the filmmakers would be pulling from for their version, perhaps they can pick up on clues and connections even more than the average audience member. And as always, be sure to leave your questions and theories in the comments.