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James Gunn Defends Gender-Swapping Cosmo the Space Dog in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

Cosmo the space dog looks off camera in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

When I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, everyone in the audience audibly gasped at a crucial moment in the film. The moment? When Kraglin calls Cosmo the Space Dog a bad dog.

It was unacceptable! Damn you, Kraglin! And then he won’t even take it back until Cosmo smushes a guy between two giant slabs of concrete!

It’s not just the unthinkable abuse of calling a dog bad, when all dogs are so obviously good. The audience reacted that way because Cosmo isn’t just a good dog—she’s the best dog in the goddamn galaxy (alongside Lucky the Pizza Dog, of course). We first meet her in the original Guardians of the Galaxy, when she’s a prisoner in Taneleer Tivan’s collection. We get to know her more in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, in which she’s voiced by Bulgarian actor Maria Bakalova, and she gets even more screen time in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

In the original comics, though, Cosmo is a boy—and some haters online are angry about the gender swap.

Of course, most of them know they can’t straight up say that they’re mad simply because Cosmo is a girl, because that would be admitting that they’re misogynist children. Instead, they claim to hate the fact that Cosmo is no longer comics-accurate—as opposed to the rest of the MCU, which, as we all know, has never diverged from the comics in any way.

Luckily, director James Gunn took to Twitter to shut the nonsense down.

The horror! Taking “a good boy” and turning him into “a female!” As we all know, females are never good. Only boys can be good.

As Gunn explains, Cosmo was originally based on Laika, a real dog who was launched into space and died there. Laika was female, so Gunn decided to honor her memory by swapping Cosmo back.

Of course, the dudes couldn’t handle it.

Despite the protests, Gunn was firm in his explanation, and unafraid to call out the sexism driving people’s reactions to Cosmo.

But why don’t we end this article on a high note? The original tweet that spurred the Discourse was a cool behind the scenes look at the motion capture that went into Rocket Raccoon’s companions Teefs, Floor, and Lylla.

I’ve never been more invested in the tragic stories of fuzzy animals. Thanks, James!

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at