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:
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.
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.