The Guardians of the Galaxy haven’t had as many movies as the core Avengers like Iron Man and Thor, so their character arcs haven’t been fleshed out or developed as much as theirs – yet, that is. The Guardians still have a bright future in the MCU and we’ll likely be seeing them grow and continue to evolve on the big screen for years to come.
Still, in just two movies and a handful of supporting roles in larger team-up movies, these characters have matured and opened up a lot. So, here is Every Guardians Of The Galaxy MCU Character Arc, Ranked.
As one of the movies’ more minor characters, Kraglin hasn’t had much of an arc. He was a Ravager who led the mutiny against Yondu, then later regretted it and helped to break him and Rocket out of their jail cell. After that, Kraglin joined them on their quest to save Quill and the gang from Ego and was given Yondu’s magic arrow after his death. But we haven’t seen him really mature.
We’ll likely be seeing more of Kraglin in the future since he’s played by Sean Gunn who appears in most of his brother James Gunn’s movies, but for now, he’s arguably the Guardian with the weakest arc.
Drax the Destroyer has gone through two basic character changes. In the first Guardians movie, he’s a badass who takes everything literally and is driven by revenge for the death of his family. At the end of the movie, he teams up with the other Guardians to kill Ronan and avenge his family’s murders. So, he achieves his vengeance and finds a new family, giving him the perfect ending.
By the second Guardians movie, he’s just a naive, reckless moron whose penchant for taking things literally is used for comedic effect. He says things like, “I have famously huge turds.” It’s not the most dramatic character arc, but we do see a clear progression.
Having only been introduced in Vol. 2, Mantis is too new a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy to have had one of the team’s greatest character arcs. However, she has shown some promise in the earliest stages of her development. We meet her as an unwavering servant of Ego and see how conflicted she is to have to hide Ego’s secrets from everyone.
She develops a close relationship with Drax since she can see the tortured emotions that he doesn’t show. She’s really come out of her shell in a couple of years since she joined the Guardians, culminating in her participation in Endgame’s awesome “girl power” moment.
When the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was announced and mainstream moviegoers heard there would be a talking tree in the cast, many people dismissed it. But the fact that Vin Diesel not only made a tree sympathetic but made a tree who can only say three words sympathetic.
Groot’s sacrifice at the end of Guardians – complete with his immortal words, “We are Groot!” – is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the entire MCU. And his replanting has led to a hilarious and lovable arc charting him growing up: we’ve seen adorable baby Groot, moody teenage Groot, and soon enough, we’ll have wise, old, adult Groot again.
Nebula’s MCU character arc could’ve been distilled into a very interesting solo movie. It was a joy when she was given a large role in Endgame because it was about time she had the involvement in the plot that she deserved. She began as a loyal servant of Thanos, desperate to do him proud, and later realized that her rivalry with Gamora was all down to Thanos’ emotional abuse.
So, they made up and finally became loving sisters. Gamora gave her life to protect Nebula and Nebula rewarded her by, five years later, saving past Gamora from Thanos’ wrath – as well as past Nebula.
Peter Quill has gone through some stuff since the first Guardians of the Galaxy. As his backstory has been filled in with flashbacks and anecdotes, we’ve seen why he’s characterized as a 35-year-old man-child. His father left his mother with a tumor in her head, so she died when he was eight, leaving him with no one. Then he was abducted and raised by the Ravagers, with Yondu taking Quill under his wing instead of handing him over to be killed by Ego.
Then he met Ego, his Celestial father, and learned about the powers he never knew about, except Ego turns out to be evil and he has to kill him, losing the powers he only just found out about. Then his real father – the one who raised him, at least – sacrificed himself to save him. And then he lost Gamora and lashed out at Thanos, losing the battle for everyone. But he returned at the end after being dusted to redeem himself and he ran into 2014 Gamora. Now, he’ll do anything to find her.
“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” As proven by his performance as Yondu, Michael Rooker is fantastic at playing morally questionable characters who ultimately redeem themselves. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is really Yondu’s movie. For the first time in his life, he’s forced to confront his emotions.
He’s cast out from the Ravagers for dealing in kids and then mutinied by his own crew for protecting said kid and raising him as his own son. So, he’s a pretty conflicted guy. But in the end, he shows his true heroism when he sacrifices himself to save Quill and reminds him that Ego may have been his father, but he wasn’t his daddy.
While all of the Guardians of the Galaxy struggled to become heroes and open their hearts to each other and pursue the right thing, Gamora arguably had the hardest time. She was raised by Thanos, so she had to come to terms with the fact that every value she was raised with was wrong.
She’s shown to be the strongest and most capable of all the Guardians, but because they’re all so self-absorbed, nobody but us notices. Gamora was key to Infinity War, as Thanos sacrificed her to acquire the Soul Stone. Her return in Endgame was a relief to many fans, although she’ll have to go through her character arc all over again because the Gamora we’ve ended up with is from back in 2014.
Rocket started out as the cynical character who didn’t care about anyone, but as the movies have dug deeper into his character arc, we’ve realized his tough exterior is hiding a huge heart. It took an unlikely friendship with Yondu for Rocket to realize how much he cares about the other Guardians. In Avengers: Endgame, we see him open up to Thor about how deeply he cares about his new family.
In fact, the only reason James Gunn returned to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after being initially fired was the lucrative chance to finish Rocket’s character arc. Since he was the only core Guardian left behind after Thanos’ snap, he carried the team’s MCU arc on his own between Infinity War and Endgame.