As we gear up for the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it's a great time to take a look back at the previous movies to check in with the motley crew that always manages to save the day. From the origins of our favorite band of misfits to shocking revelations and some veritable time-travel confusion, we’ve dug deep to give you a refresher on all those important little tidbits you need to remember before heading to the theatre to see the latest entry in the Guardians series. Get ready for an interstellar adventure, and let's dive right in!
The Origins of the Guardians
The Guardians of the Galaxy made their MCU debut in 2014, introducing us to Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), an Earth-born scavenger with a love for classic rock tunes. After stealing a mysterious orb, Quill found himself pursued by various galactic factions, leading to the formation of an unexpected alliance with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).
In the first film, we discovered that the orb contained one of the powerful Infinity Stones – yes, those Infinity Stones. The villainous Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) sought the stone to unleash chaos upon the universe, but as you can probably guess, he was thwarted. Despite their differences, the Guardians banded together to defeat Ronan in the end, saving the galaxy, as they do, and entrusting the orb to the Nova Corps for safekeeping.
In the 2017 sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we dove deeper into the characters' backstories, with a particular focus on Star-Lord's lineage. The team encountered Ego (Kurt Russell), a Celestial claiming to be Peter's father. Initially, this seemed like it might be a fun, heartwarming family reunion, but Ego's true intentions were way more insidious than that. Intent on remaking the universe in his image, Ego had seeded countless planets with his essence, and we found out Quill was one of his offspring.
This sequel also introduced us to Mantis (Pom Klementieff), a naive but powerful empath who had been living with Ego. Her connection with Drax made for some interesting interplay between both heroes, and she eventually joined the Guardians. The team joined forces once more to defeat Ego, with the help of Yondu (Michael Rooker), Peter's surrogate father and former Ravager captain. Yondu's heroic sacrifice to save Peter left a lasting impact on the Guardians, but didn’t leave a dry eye in the house when it happened. We miss you, buddy!
Secrets Revealed in the The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Disney+ premiered The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special in 2022, which not only offered a festive treat for fans, but also unveiled some sizzling new information about the beloved characters and their adventures.
From Yondu's return in flashback sequences to the introduction of a new ship, the special was packed with surprises that deepened our understanding of the Guardians' journey.
One of the biggest reveals during the special was the fact that Star-Lord and Mantis are indeed siblings. Confirming what Ego had hinted at in Vol. 2, the special unveiled that the two are, in fact, siblings. This newfound connection adds another layer of complexity to the Guardians' family dynamics, so we’ll be looking to see how any storylines involving the pair unfold in Vol. 3.
Speaking of parentage, Star-Lord always had Yondu as something of a father figure. Though he met his heroic end in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Holiday Special brought him back through flashbacks set during Star-Lord's childhood. These glimpses into the past provided valuable insight into the origin of Star-Lord's iconic blasters, which have been his signature weapons since the first film.
As it turns out, Yondu gifted the blasters to his adoptive son as a Christmas present. This shed some light on why Star-Lord is so attached to the weapons. They aren't just reliable. They represent Yondu's love for Peter.
We also learned of a new ship in the holiday extravaganza. Having previously used the Milano, Quadrant, and Benatar as their primary vehicles, the team unveiled the Bowie in the special. Named after the legendary musician David Bowie, this ship demonstrates the Guardians' penchant for pop culture references -- er, namely Peter's.
Lastly, one of the most talked-about moments in the Holiday Special involved Nebula's gift to Rocket. The scene garnered a huge reaction on social media, as it implied that Nebula went to Earth and defeated Bucky (aka the Winter Soldier) to retrieve his prosthetic arm. Director James Gunn later confirmed this on Twitter, revealing that Nebula tracked down her former ally to claim the limb as a present for Rocket.
This playful nod to Bucky not only showcases Nebula's fierce determination but also highlights the bond between the Guardians, as they go to great lengths to find meaningful gifts for each other. Sure, an arm is a lot more dramatic than leading a celebrity to meet Star-Lord like Mantis and Drax did by kidnapping Kevin Bacon, but in the end they’re both meaningful gifts.
Gamora's Time-Traveling Dilemma
There’s a lot to keep up with, so hopefully you’re still with us so far. One of the most significant points of confusion in the Guardians' journey involves Gamora. She was nowhere to be found in the holiday special, which had some viewers wondering when she would return.
Avengers: Infinity War saw the tragic demise of the original Gamora at the hands of her adoptive father, Thanos. However, Avengers: Endgame brought an alternate version of Gamora from the past to the present timeline.
This "new" Gamora, lacking memories of her previous experiences, is now part of the Guardians' current lineup. We’re still not sure how this will end up affecting what happens with Gamora in Vol. 3, but her absence in the holiday special was a precursor to what could end up going on in the new movie.
The Current Guardians Roster and Thor's Absence
There’s still more to keep in mind when it comes to how Vol. 3 interplays with the rest of the MCU and everything that’s happened in between movies. It’s the MCU, after all. At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) joined the Guardians, leading fans to believe he would play a significant role in their adventures.
However, Thor's journey took a different turn in Thor: Love & Thunder, explaining his absence from the Guardians in Vol. 3. While it's a bit disappointing for those who hoped for more interactions between the God of Thunder and our favorite space misfits, the focus in Vol. 3 will be on the core Guardians team and their relationships. No Thor, but there’s still going to be plenty of drama, don’t you worry.
And the gang’s all here, too. The current Guardians roster consists of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Mantis, and Nebula (Karen Gillan), who joined the team after switching sides in Vol. 2 and fighting alongside them in the battle against Thanos. With this lineup, the Guardians are more than equipped to take on any challenges that await them in Vol. 3 – though we may be poised to say goodbye to one or more of our heroes.
Looking Forward: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
With the stage set for an action-packed third installment, there's no doubt that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the biggest adventure we’ve gone on with the team yet. We’ll see plenty more of the team’s dynamics, the implications of Star-Lord and Mantis's sibling relationship, and the challenges faced by the "new" Gamora as she adapts to her role in the team. And more Groot, too. There’ll also be some heartbreaking moments dealing with Rocket and his past, so get ready for that.
James Gunn has hinted that Vol. 3 will be the last film featuring the current iteration of the Guardians. This raises the stakes and adds an extra layer of emotion to the upcoming film. We’re not quite ready to leave these beloved characters and their unique brand of humor behind, if you ask us.
But now you should be more than equipped to take on the next entry in the Guardians of the Galaxy saga. It’s only a couple of weeks away, so make sure you have those tickets in-hand!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 premieres in theatres on May 5th! See it at Regal.