A white-haired girl runs on a hamster wheel while the High Evolutionary looks on in the background.

There’s a New Character in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’—and Comics Fans Will Recognize Her

This article contains major spoilers for the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s swan song for its interstellar superhero team. However, true to the MCU’s tradition of introducing new characters even as it says goodbye to old ones, the film is also a new beginning—especially since it introduces Phyla-Vell.

Midway through the film, we find out that the High Evolutionary is experimenting on human children. One girl runs in a giant hamster wheel for two hours without tiring. Later, the Guardians rescue her and the other kids, and they start a new life on Knowhere.

Skip to the first post-credit scene. Rocket is commanding the new roster of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and one of them is the girl from the hamster wheel. Her eyes start to glow purple as she gets ready to fight, and Rocket addresses her as Phyla-Vell.

Before you ask: yep, Phyla-Vell is straight from the comics.

Who is Phyla-Vell in the comics?

Phyla-Vell as Martyr. A white-haired woman in a cloak holds a sword with a giant skull behind her.
(Marvel)

In the Marvel comics universe, Phyla-Vell is the genetically engineered daughter of the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, also known as Captain Marvel. Phyla eventually takes on the mantle of Captain Marvel herself, and later the names Quasar and Martyr. Introduced in Captain Marvel #16 (2004), Phyla has enhanced speed and strength, along with the ability to manipulate energy and fly.

Phyla has a complicated history in the original comics, including time loops and altered timelines. It’s not clear how much of her comics history will make it into the MCU, although it’s worth noting that her comics incarnation does eventually join the Guardians of the Galaxy, just like in the movie. Phyla also appears in the animated series Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!, voiced by Ming-Na Wen (The Mandalorian, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

What does this mean for the MCU going forward?

Phase 4, and the first two films in phase 5, have focused a lot on introducing a newer, younger generation of superheroes to the MCU. We have the full roster of the teen superhero group the Young Avengers, even though there’s no Young Avengers project announced yet. There are also younger characters like Thor’s adopted daughter Love, and now Phyla-Vell.

Where exactly is Marvel going with all these new characters? We’re not sure yet, but we can’t wait to find out.

(featured image: Marvel)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) 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 <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>