Guardians of the Galaxy may be the 10th movie from Marvel Studios but it's only the first step in its cosmic expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not counting the Thor films and their exploration of Norse mythology. Before the Guardians of the Galaxy even hit theaters, Marvel announced a sequel for 2017, and with good reason. The film of course earned big at the box office, breaking records for the month of August, but it's the story implications and the role the Guardians will play for years to come that really dictates the need for a followup.
GOTG was a first step, an introduction to new characters, worlds and ideas, and as such it left a lot questions unanswered. All five of the main characters have much history that still needs to be fleshed out. How did Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) meet and become partners? What really happened to Drax's (Dave Bautista) wife and daughter and where is he from? Who are Gamora's (Zoe Saldana) other sisters and what sort of evil things did she do for her adopted father, Thanos? Even protagonist Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is the subject of the film's cliffhanger question - who is his father and what ancient race does he hail from?
At least some of these things will be subjects writer and director James Gunn aims to address in the sequel, but for fans of the source material, the next film may deviate even more from the Marvel Comics. Here's what Gunn had to say about Quill's mysterious alien father when chatting with Empire:
"There have been a lot of documents passed around about who Peter Quill’s father is between a select two or three of us. That’s been part of the plan since the beginning, that’s something I had to work out before we shot the screenplay. We wanted to make sure Yondu’s place in everything made sense and it does, so it’s all very specific stuff. It’s definitely not the character who it is in the comics, I’ll say that much."
In the comics, Quill's dad is known as J'son of Spartax, the Emperor of the Spartoi Empire. Much like a few key changes to characters, alien species and factions in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film (i.e. how the Nova Corps functions and who Ronan's people, the Kree are in conflict with), we can potentially throw that Spartoi stuff out the window. All we know is that Quill's dad, who spent some time on Earth in the '80s, is from some ancient, long-forgotten alien race. Throw in the fact that there are some film rights issues between what alien species Marvel Studios can and cannot use in their movies, and we really don't know who Quill's dad is. We can only assume it's something important to the future plans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let the speculation begin!
The other big question for fans of the movies is when we'll see Thanos again. After 10 Marvel movies, we saw him smile in The Avengers and got one scene with him in Guardians of the Galaxy. Will he step into the spotlight in Guardians of the Galaxy 2? No, but he might be there again in a background role.
"He will show up [in the sequel] if he helps our story and he will not show up at all if not. Thanos is not the most important thing in Guardians 2, that’s for damn sure. There’s the Guardians themselves and other threats the Guardians are going to be facing that are not Thanos."
For more on that, check out what actor Josh Brolin said about playing Thanos again is more movies. The most interesting note is what Gunn says next though where he reiterates a small, but important factoid that may have gone mostly unnoticed in the film...
"I think Thanos has been lonely for a long time. He can handle it. He’s used to his loneliness. He’s got some other kids out there. He’s got to look after them. Nebula’s probably the sweetest of them, which tells you what his kids are like..."
Gamora and Nebula (Karen Gillan's character) are not the only two adopted kids of Thanos and it's a safe bet we'll meet another in the sequel. Could Gunn take fans for a spin and introduce a third sister who happens to be Drax's not-actually-dead daughter (known as Moondragon in the comics)? Gunn did tell us in our interview with him that he wants at least two female characters on the team roster next time around and Moondragon is a member in the 2008-10 Guardians of the Galaxy comics by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning that the films are drawing much of their inspiration from.
Are you happy to see James Gunn and Marvel getting creative with their future cosmic stories or are you concerned of their potentially deviating too much from the books and not meeting expectations?
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 and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.
The 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, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on July 28 2017, November 3 2017, May 4 2018, July 6 2018, November 2 2018 and May 3 2019.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!