— Funko (@OriginalFunko) September 27, 2017
The latest collaboration between Marvel and Funko takes Star-Lord and Groot on the ride of their life. Before Guardians of the Galaxy, names like Groot, Rocket Racoon, and Star-Lord were known only to comic book diehards. Thanks to the success of the Guardians films, however, they've become some of Marvel's biggest mascots. Not only has that allowed for more merchandise, it also means that the characters keep showing up in unexpected places (theme park rides, books, etc.).
The Guardians will meet up with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Infinity War next year, before they appear in Avengers 4 in 2019 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in (probably) 2020. It seems as though the Guardians are going to become more important than ever to the MCU from hereon out, with multiple spinoffs of the Guardians movie franchise already in development. For related reasons, Marvel is keen to keep characters like Star-Lord and Groot in the spotlight right now.
Case in point: in Funko's latest Marvel short (see above), Star-Lord and Baby Groot are on the run from the villainous Taserface - who himself was hired by the Collector to nab Groot. Of course, things don't go well for the baddie here - or the heroes, for that matter.
The short ends on a literal cliffhanger, so there's no telling if it's a one-shot with a vague ending or the first part of a larger story. The latter wouldn't be surprising, as this is one of many shorts Funko has made with Marvel. Previous shorts have featured the Collector, Deadpool versus Venom, and Spider-Man taking on Loki. For both companies, it's a fun way to promote the toy line and continue to tell smaller stories with the characters.
Along with the shorts, Marvel and Funko's relationship has continued in real life. For next month's New York Comic Con, a special batch of exclusive Funko Pop!s for Marvel will be available in limited supply. Among them will even be a vinyl of Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn. Only a handful of creators have been given the Funko treatment, so it shows just how much the company loves Gunn's take on the Guardians franchise.
While news on the future of Guardians of the Galaxy will likely have to wait until after the Avengers have defeated Thanos, expect the characters to continue to feature prominently in other Marvel projects too. Between comics, toys, Funko shorts, and the animated Guardians TV series on Disney XD, fans have plenty to hold them over until the Guardians return to theaters.