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A Quick Guide to the Characters of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Allow Us To Explain

Amongst the many plunders of the rather epic Marvel Comic-Con panel was the announcement from Kevin Feige that, yes, the studio is working on a film version of the Guardians of the Galazy franchise, focusing mostly on rebooting the 2008 team as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So what is Guardians of the Galaxy, exactly? We’ve put together a quick guide for those who are as of yet unfamiliar with the 31st Century heroes.

Disclaimer: This guide is in part a selfish thing: before yesterday I had never heard of Guardians of the Galaxy myself. So if any long-time fans would like to hit the comments section and let me know if I messed anything up, I welcome it. We do know, however, that there are a lot of people out there who have no idea who these guys are, so we thought we’d all discover them together.

Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy? They’re a team of superhuman and extraterrestrial adventurers who have dedicated themselves to the safeguarding of the Milky Way galaxy–kind of like the Avengers or Justice League of space. They first started appearing in comics in 1969, in an alternate timeline within the Marvel universe (Earth-691).

The concept art also revealed at SDCC (pictured above) included the characters of Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Droot. So, with that in mind, let’s meet some of the team:

Star-Lord: This title actually refers to three different characters who have appeared in Marvel publications: Peter Quill, Jason Spartax (Peter’s father), and Sinjin Quarrell. Since the 2008 team featured Star-Lord as Peter Quill, let’s assume that’s who they’re going with in the film. Peter was emotionally scarred at a pretty young age; his father tried to commit infanticide against him, and when he failed left baby Peter staring up into the night sky. This led him to a life of lonership and a deep passion for everything science-fiction and NASA. He devotes himself to intense study after his mother is killed, and is later assigned to Eve, NASA’s first permanently manned space station. An alien entity calles Masters of the Universe visit the station and offer the title of Star-Lord to a worthy candidate; Peter is rejected. After a brief sabbatical back on Earth, he returns and takes the title. Master strategist, problem solver, and expert in close-quarter combat, Star-Lord has extensive knowledge of alien customs and culture. He also has an “Element Gun,” which is a meta-pistol that can project one of the four elements (air, water, fire, earth).

Drax the Destroyer: Arthur “Art” Douglas and his family were killed by villain Thanos (hey, we met him recently!) as they drove across the Mojave Desert. When in need of a champion to defeat the threat of Thanos, Kronos used Douglas’ astral form to create a superhuman warrior–Drax. He battles Thanos over and over, both of them dying and being resurrected at some point, and he has quite the complicated relationship with his daughter, Moondragon. Eventually he is recruited by Star-Lord to join the Guardians.

Gamora: The adopted daughter of Thanos, she is a Zen Whoberi, the last of her species. Thanos found her as a child and decided to raise her as a weapon to be used to assassinate the Magus. She’s a very skilled martial artist, and earned the description of “the most dangerous woman in the universe.” When she was a teenager on a trip with Thanos, she was brutally attacked by a group of thugs. When Thanos discovered her he killed her attackers and cybernetically enhanced her into a superhuman. When she eventually defeats the Magus, she discovers what a large threat Thanos may be, and fight with Drax and the Avengers against him, trying to prevent him from destroying all life in the universe.

Rocket Raccoon: An anthropomorphic raccoon, he is the captain of the spaceship Rack ‘n’ Ruin, alongside Wal Russ (a talking walrus, which I was honestly not expecting). They come from the planet Halfstone–in the Keystone Quadrant, of which Rocky is the guardian. The planet is, according to wikipedia, “an abandoned colony for the mentally ill where the animal companions were genetically manipulated to grant them human level intelligence and bipedal body construction for many to become caretakers of the inmates.” Huh. Anyway, he is depicted as being loyal, insightful, fearless, and a brilliant military tactician. He is a friend of Star-Lord, who recruits him to join the Guardians of the Galaxy–and, actually, he’s the one who names it. It will be interesting to see how they wind up showing/using this character on screen.

Groot: A member of an extinct species thought to be called Floral Colossus, Groot is an extraterrestrial who initially came to Earth to find humans to capture and study. He was later captured by S.H.I.E.L.D and used for their Paranormal Containment Unit. Even though it appears as if he dies in Annihilation: Conquest, a cutting from him is kept by Rocky Raccoon, and is able to regrow.

So there you go; what we know of the team they’ve assembled for this reboot.

One thing we find especially interesting about Marvel’s announcement of their rebooting of this series is that it seems to be the studio taking a big chance with their so-far winning properties. Compared to the previous heroes they’ve chosen to sweep the box office floor with, the Guardians are rather obscure to a big portion of the population. The heavy presence of Thanos storylines in Guardians stories is especially notable; Thanos did, after all, appear in the closing credits of The Avengers. It seems natural, then, that there will be some crossover possibilities.

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