Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket, and Groot. These are the Guardians of the Galaxy, right? Well, yes and no. There have been many more members of the team, including the original Guardians from the far future. But there have also been a great many members in the present day, both Earth-based heroes and cosmic beings, all dedicated to protecting the galaxy from beings that would cause untold harm. From Thanos to the Cancerverse, there’s nowhere and no-one off limits to the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Some heroes have joined deliberately, others have simply been caught up in cosmic adventures and found themselves taken along for the ride of their lives. In each case, they have taken part in adventures that are beyond those of even the Avengers.
Here’s 16 Superheroes You Forgot Were Part of The Guardians Of The Galaxy
16 Iron Man
After an especially tense time, the armoured Avenger known as Iron Man (Tony Stark) decided to head into outer space to satisfy his curious mind as well as get some much-needed perspective. He quickly encountered the Guardians of the Galaxy and his quirky humour gave him an instant rapport with both Star-Lord and Rocket. Rocket was amazed that Iron Man’s knowledge of technology was considerably behind his own, stunned that Tony seemed perplexed by what Rocket considered to be simple tools.
Tony pursued Gamora romantically, having had a fascination with green-skinned aliens ever since watching an episode of Star Trek. Despite managing to charm Gamora, he was unable to keep up with her and she was disappointed with the considerably weaker Earthman.
Iron Man helped the team against foes such as the Badoon, and was present when the Guardians found Angela adrift in space. After events on Earth demanded his presence, he elected Agent Venom to replace him as Earth’s representative in space.
The so-called “Celestial Madonna” Mantis has a long association with the team. Trained by a sect of the Kree Empire, Mantis gained incredible telepathic powers. As part of her training, she was mindwiped and sent to Earth where she encountered the Swordsman. When he attempted to re-join the Avengers, Mantis followed and became a team member, fighting in the Avengers/Defenders war.
Mantis ventured to the stars following the death of the Swordsman and ended up aiding Peter Quill and the team that would become the Guardians as they fought against the Annihilation. Mantis aided Peter in forming his first team of modern-day Guardians, but it was later revealed that she had used her telepathic powers to encourage various team members to join, causing the team to fracture.
While Mantis made it clear she wouldn’t re-join Peter’s newer version of the Guardians, she did aid Peter when he was trying to understand the damage done to the universe after space/time became damaged.
14 Captain Marvel – Carol Danvers
The current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, is a natural choice to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. Due to the source of her powers coming from a fusion of Kree and Human genetics, she has often been a spacefaring hero, particularly during the time she spent with the space pirates known as the Starjammers, led by Cyclops’ father Corsair.
During Captain Marvel’s tenure with the Guardians she fought against the Spartax Empire led by Peter Quill’s father, the Emperor of the Spartax. She aided in Peter’s efforts to discredit his father and show him for who he was. Later, she was caught up in the crisis involving the immensely powerful Black Vortex and found herself at odds with some of the heroes assembled as some felt the artefact should be used, others wanted it destroyed.
While Captain Marvel left the team to return to Earth, she remained on good terms with them and called on them for help during the events of Civil War 2.
There have been a few different versions of Yondu. The first was a member of the original team of Guardians of the Galaxy in the 31st century. He was a survivor of a Badoon attack and joined with Vance Astro and several others who had similarly survived the Badoon purge of Earth’s solar system. The motley crew had many adventures in their own time before travelling to present day Earth, where Yondu became an honorary member of the Avengers.
After returning to his own time, Yondu continued to be a valuable member of the Guardians of the Galaxy using his bow and athletic gifts to free the oppressed wherever they should be found. Eventually, he found an enclave of his people and discovered a thriving community. Learning he was not the last of his kind, he left the Guardians on good terms.
This Yondu is not to be confused with the Earth-616 Yondu who is based on the version from the MCU and is a pirate member of the Ravagers.
12 The Original Team
While the modern team is arguably far more famous, the original team from the 31st century saw many adventures which took them across time and space. An alternate future version of Avenger Vance Astrovik who became known as Major Victory, Martinex T'Naga, a crystalline being from Pluto and Charlie-27, a soldier from Jupiter, joined the aforementioned Yondu to be the first Guardians, all believed to be the last of their kind. They were late joined by Starhawk and Aleta, as well as Nikki, an artificial being from Mercury.
While they primarily fought the Badoon, they also travelled across time and space, meeting Thor, Captain America, and The Thing. After defeating the entity known as Korvac, they travelled to the past to aid The Avengers in defeating Korvac in this time too.
Eventually the team broke apart to form a collective of several teams in order to be in more places at once, with a separate team of Galactic Guardians also patrolling the galaxy.
11 Major Victory – Vance Astro
Shortly after the modern team formed, and before they began to use the name Guardians of the Galaxy, they encountered the frozen form of Major Victory, suspended in a block of ice, floating in outer space. It is eventually revealed that this Major Victory isn’t the original version but one created due to Starhawk’s meddling with the time stream.
Vance joins this incarnation of the team, and provides them with the inspiration to use the name of his previous team. This could well be a paradox, as the future team could be inspired to use the name of this team.
Soon after joining, he aids the team against the Universal Church of Truth and eventually the tyrant known as Blastaar. He appears to be killed by an evil version of Adam Warlock known as The Magus when his shield (an alternate future version of Captain America’s) breaks his containment suit. He is later revealed to be alive, and had been a prisoner of The Magus. He is later reunited with the Guardians aboard Knowhere.
10 Adam Warlock
The “perfect being” created by a conclave of scientists, Adam Warlock became a being of cosmic significance and the arch-enemy of both Thanos and an evil alternative version of himself known as The Magus.
After back to back Annihilation wars, Adam Warlock joined the newly-formed Guardians of the Galaxy and found himself at odds with the Universal Church of Truth once more. Fearing that the fabric of space-time had been weakened, he believed himself to be crucial to the defence of the universe as it was now more vulnerable to the effects of the interstellar wars that had been raging for some time.
After helping to expose Skrulls on Knowhere, Adam was involved in a battle with his evil self, Magus. After much time-travelling and interference from Kang the Conqueror, a Cosmic Cube, and even Thanos, Adam was killed. He has been killed and reborn several times since this however.
9 Star Lady – Kitty Pryde
Most famously a member of the outlaw mutant team The X-Men, Kitty Pryde began a flirtation with Peter Quill during the first team up between the X-Men and the new Guardians of the Galaxy. They remained in touch, often having dates via hologram. When Peter got himself into trouble, Kitty went into space to find him and save him. The two began a more serious relationship, and Peter showed Kitty the many places he had called home during his time in space. Realizing he was more than the cocky scoundrel he appeared to be, she fell in love with him. After the incident with the Black Vortex, Peter proposed and the two became engaged.
After Peter became the leader of the Spartax, Kitty stayed with him but his ever-increasing duties caused their relationship to become strained so she took his place with the Guardians and adopted the name Star Lord. After several arguments, they eventually reconciled with Peter re-joining his team. Kitty took to calling herself Star Lady at this time.
8 Agent Venom – Flash Thompson
Flash Thompson had been a high-school classmate of Peter Parker A.K.A Spider-Man. Despite hating “Puny Parker” he idolised Spider-Man, never realising they were the same man. Flash enlisted in the military, inspired by Spider-Man and other heroes. After serving bravely, he lost his legs at the knee.
Due to his service, he was selected to be the human host to the Venom symbiote. The U.S government had extracted it from previous host Mac Gargan and were intent on using its power. Flash could use the symbiote to generate new legs, and served once more. It wasn’t long before he met Captain America and became an Avenger.
After Tony Stark left the Guardians of the Galaxy he selected Flash/Venom to replace him on the team as Earth’s representative in space. This had unintended consequences as the prolonged time in space caused Flash to lose control of Venom with the symbiote possessing the various members of the team in turn. Eventually, the symbiote found its way home and was ‘cured’ of its violent tendencies by its people and the Flash/Venom hybrid took on a new form resembling a spaceknight.
After a massive tear in the space/time continuum caused by Wolverine creating a paradox, the other dimensional being known as Angela found herself in the 616 universe. Initially disoriented, she was found by the Guardians of the Galaxy and she took on the team in combat, believing them to be responsible for her current situation.
Finding a common soul with Gamora, she fought with the Guardians against Thanos’ invasion of the planet Earth, slaying countless minions of Thanos in the process.
Angela’s time with the Guardians was relatively brief, as she soon discovered that she was a daughter of Odin, and therefore sister to Thor and Loki. She left the Guardians to pursue a destiny with the Asgardians but remains friendly to the Guardians and aids them as and when they need her.
She would ally herself with the Guardians several times after this, against both the Valkyries of Bor and the Brotherhood of the Badoon.
Cosmo was an ordinary dog, sent into space by the Soviet Union in the 1960s as part of their early space program. Via unknown means, his pod drifted into space and he eventually found his way to Knowhere where he mutated and became far smarter than an average dog and gained telepathic powers. He eventually became the head of security on Knowhere, a post he held for many years.
When the modern-day Guardians formed, they chose Knowhere as their base of operations and worked closely with Cosmo. Cosmo would be vital in helping the guardians to use the teleportation systems on the station as well as by using his telepathic gifts against Skrulls posing as members of other races.
After the first incarnation of the new Guardians disbanded, with several members believed to be dead, Cosmo assembled a team of cosmic powerhouses including The Silver Surfer and Gladiator to be a new, more powerful, version of the team known as The Annihilators.
5 Moondragon – Heather Douglas
Moondragon is actually Heather Douglas, daughter of the man that would become Drax the Destroyer. When her father was killed by Thanos, he was resurrected by Thanos’ father, Mentor in the form of a champion capable of defeating Thanos. Heather herself was taken by Mentor to titan and trained with the monks there, unlocking her psychic powers. In time, she would come to Earth, aiding the Avengers during their first encounter with Thanos.
After several deaths and rebirths, Moondragon found herself at the centre of cosmic events battling Thanos, and eventually fighting the Phalanx and their leader at the time, Ultron. She eventually began a relationship with Phyla Vell, the then-current Quasar and Joined the Guardians of the Galaxy with her. They fought the Universal Church of Truth and prevented a tear in the universe from getting worse alongside Adam Warlock.
Despite her association with the team, when Peter Quill reformed the Guardians after returning from the Cancerverse he didn’t seek out Moondragon.
4 Jack Flag – Jack Harrison
Young Jack Harrison was a member of Captain America’s computer hotline network and when his brother was left crippled after an assault, Jack trained in martial arts and weightlifting to fight crime in his hometown, adopting a costume similar to Captain America’s.
Jack became a protégé to Captain America, and worked as a hero for some time. Eventually, the Superhuman Registration Act caused the first Civil War and Jack naturally opposed it along with Cap. Attempting to save a girl from a group of criminals, Jack was targeted by The Thunderbolts and was stabbed in the spine by Bullseye, crippling him. He was sent to the Negative Zone prison, despite being in a wheelchair.
During the Skrull invasion, Jack was still in the prison and it became besieged by Blastaar’s forces who sought the portal to Earth to launch their own invasion. Meeting Peter Quill in the prison, the two squared off against Blastaar’s forces and Jack impressed everyone there, despite his inability to use his legs. After the crisis ended, Jack stayed with the Guardians as he was a wanted man on Earth. Using alien technology, he was healed of his injuries and remained with the team for some time.
3 Quasar – Phyla Vell
After Genis-Vell destroyed and re-created the universe, there were subtle differences, including the existence of Phyla-Vell the previously unknown second offspring of Captain Mar-Vell. She fought her brother Genis-Vell and saved him from insanity, taking his place on Earth after he left to travel to the far future. Keeping watch over Earth, she encountered the being known as Magus, and alongside Moondragon, foiled his plot.
She was present during the final battle with Annihilus at the end of the Annihilation war and was one of the few heroes left standing at the end. She had managed to acquire the Quantum Bands from Annihilus, and used them to become the new Quasar, protector of the universe.
Alongside Moondragon, Quasar joined the new Guardians of the Galaxy. After an encounter with Mentor, she was apparently killed but made a deal with the Dragon of the Moon to become the new avatar of oblivion, becoming a far more aggressive person and taking the name Martyr. When the Guardians intervened in the War of Kings, Martyr caused the Guardians to battle The Inhumans making the war escalate.
Eventually, she battled Adam Warlock attempting to prevent him becoming The Magus. She failed, and was slain. This was revealed to be a ploy by Magus, and was actually alive to witness a cocoon hatch, believing Adam Warlock or Magus to be inside, it was revealed to be a reborn Thanos, who immediately killed her for good.
Bug is a member of an insect-like race from inside the Microverse. Frequently seen as a comedic character, he is a skilled warrior and consummate professional when on the job. His martial arts skills, coupled with his natural agility make him a fierce, if odd-looking, opponent.
After many adventures with both the Fantastic Four and Ant-Man, Bug is recruited to become a member of Peter Quill’s second roster of Guardians of the Galaxy. He complains often about not being asked to join the first team, but handles himself well on his first mission against the Badoon regardless. When the team attempts to stop the War of Kings, Bug accidently insults Queen Medusa of the Inhumans, proving that while tough, he’s no diplomat.
After several more adventures, including battling Magus and coming to Earth to prevent Thanos acquiring an artificial Cosmic Cube, and battling in the Cancerverse, Bug returns to the Microverse at the request of Arcturus Rann.
1 The Thing - Ben Grimm
The Thing was a member of the Fantastic Four for many years, using his strength and durability to save the world, and the universe, on many occasions. When the Fantastic Four disbanded following the events of the most recent Secret War, Ben found himself wanting some new adventures. Instead of joining The Avengers, as he had previously, he chose to follow his life-long dreams of exploring the stars instead and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.
As an ace pilot and adventurer, Ben quickly finds himself at home with his new team and battles alongside them against rogue Kree Accusers and warriors such as Yodat the Destroyer. Due to his many adventures with the Fantastic Four, The Thing’s experience comes in handy when the Guardians of the Galaxy encounter The Skrulls and the Badoon. He also engages with romance as his appearance doesn’t shock the various aliens they encounter as much as it does on Earth.