Guardians Of The Galaxy 2: Everything We Know So Far

Guardians of the Galaxy is the biggest thing going right now, as James Gunn, his cast and crew, and the team at Marvel turned the film into a space adventure brimming with personality. Guardians has a huge audience appeal in part because it leaves some mysteries open to speculation, and therefore for exploration in a sequel. There are a few big, obvious character points that can be explored in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and quite a few small bits that have been hinted in the past couple weeks. Below, we've assembled everything we know about Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

Note that full spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy should be expected below, along with some speculation on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and potential comics spoilers.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Marvel first announced the release date of the sequel at Comic Con, staking out July 28, 2017 for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. (Probably not the film's final title.) At a October 27th 2014 Marvel Event, they announced the film would come out a few months sooner on May 5th 2017.

Even knowing the interest in Guardians, this seemed like a bold move, green-lighting and dating the sequel before the first film had even opened. Now we know Marvel was smart to do so. In fact, Gunn starting thinking about the second film very early on, telling The Huffington Post,

I had given thought to 'Guardians 2' before I even set pen to paper on 'Guardians 1.' This for me is the hopefully the springboard for what could be not only 'Guardians 2' but a whole plethora of new Marvel characters who are in outer space and all sorts of interesting things can happen with those people and creatures. I would love to be involved with those characters down the line.

Capping off the film's big opening weekend, Gunn said he was working on the sequel:

I've spent this weekend hard at work on the sequel. I couldn't help myself! The results are nice but it's really the creative process I love and that keeps me going. I'm on fire with this thing! The Guardians have so many hardships and heartaches and triumphs ahead of them, and I can't wait to share them with all of you.

So what are those hardships and heartaches? Clearly there will be new explorations of many of the core characters in the first film. Based on statements made by Gunn and the like, however, big things we can expect to see explored are:

  • One more Guardian from the comics
  • More of Drax's story
  • Peter Quill's father.
  • Nebula, and her relationship to Thanos and the rest of the Universe.
  • Yondu, and his relationship to the Quill family.
  • More Infinity Gems.

We know that stuff from the film, but also from what writer/director James Gunn said just before Guardians opened:

I know a lot of where I want to go. I have a lot of ideas for stories and characters that are going to appear, and there are documents written up, that some people have, about Peter Quill's father and his relationship, a lot of stuff about Yondu and a lot of stuff about Drax that nobody knows.

So let's break down some of the big points, with some speculation thrown in where appropriate.

moondragon-1

A New Guardian

One thing James Gunn said recently that flew a bit under the radar was that we can likely expect another Guardian from one of the comics series to show up in the film sequel. In a Twitter Q&A moderated by E! OnlineGunn said,

Who could that be? There's a huge list of possibilities. Going on pure speculation, I'd say the four most likely are:

  • Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior who shares consciousness with an Earthling, and eventually becomes cosmically aware.
  • Adam Warlock, a being originally engineered by human scientists who is given an Infinity Gem by another human scientist-turned-cosmic explorer. Teased in the Thor 2 credits tag, and a big player in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline. Perhaps the most likely inclusion.
  • Nova, a super-powered member of the Nova Corps. (Concept art was created for the character when he was possibly going to show up in Guardians. While that appearance didn't happen, he could still show up in the sequel.)
  • Moondragon, a powerful telepath and martial artist, raised and trained by Thanos' father. She's also (spoiler!) the daughter Drax believes to be dead. (Seen mentally battling Thanos in the image above.)

Drax's Story

Dave Bautista hasn't said much about Drax going forward. This on-set quote is pretty typical of his willingness to divulge info:

We joked around about new tattoos that Drax might come up with, stuff like that but we never really talked about going forward. It's one of those things where you don't say anything because you don't want to assume and also don't want to jinx yourself. It's still a big mystery, I mean, we feel confident about and I think everyone who comes out of the theater and sees it feels confident on it but it's still an unknown, it's still a gamble.

If we're going to learn a lot more about Drax, as Gunn promises, Moondragon might be a key player.

Moondragon

Moondragon offers Marvel a good reason to introduce another very powerful and interesting female character. (And one who probably won't be as scantily clad onscreen as she often is in comics.) Moondragon could significantly upset Drax's psychological profile, as his reason for existence changes if his daughter is alive. Drax's history has already been altered on film from its comics origin, but there's still room to write Moondragon into the story. She's also a portal to more info about the origins of Thanos, because she has a unique history on Thanos' home of Titan.

Peter Quill's Father

The identity of Quill's father may or may not be a big deal to us when revealed. (OK, let's face it, it'll probably be important to us.) Either way, however, it'll be a big deal to Quill. Any scrap of info the guy can get about his dad is likely to send him off on a hunt for the man himself, and that could be a prime plot motivator for the sequel.

Concept art for the first Guardians reveals that Marvel had started to design Spartax, the home of Quill's father Jason. (Or J'son, depending on which story you're reading.) Those scenes were cut from Guardians early in the scripting process, and Peter's origin is rather different on film than it is in the comics. The Spartax concepts were also seemingly tweaked into designs for Xandar, which means the art we see now probably won't be carried forward into concepts for the Spartoi homeworld. But we know Marvel is thinking about Quill's pop.

Stephan Martiniere's Guardians of the Galaxy concept art pieces shows the planet of Spartoi.

Kevin Feige told IGN that Quill's father is "pretty important," going on to say:

"I think that would certainly be part of a next Guardians adventure. Certainly, that would be part of it."

Feige also explicitly said that stories about Quill and his parentage would not show up in other films between now and July 2017. Those "would wait for the next Guardians adventure," he said, adding "I think that's pretty important for James [Gunn] and would be appropriate in a [Guardians movie]. I don't think you'd spoil that in Cap 3."

And James Gunn has now said that Quill's father is "definitely not the character who it is in the comics," which rules out one guy and opens up an infinite array of additional possibilities. Gunn has also said only three people other than himself know who Star-Lord's father is: Kevin Feige, Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn.

Yondu

James Gunn said just before Guardians opened, "I think Yondu is a very important character, a really important character in this universe, and I think Nebula is really important, too, and so I think we'll see more of both of those characters."

The key point is that Yondu is well-woven into the story of Quill's father and his youth. So exploring the story of Quill's parents will almost certainly necessitate going into some detail about Yondu, and exploring the blue-skinned Ravager's role as Quill's surrogate father. Yondu has been a Guardian in the comics, so could we see their early relationship reverse, and find Quill essentially mentoring Yondu?

Regardless, we'll definitely see Yondu playing into the story of Quill's father. James Gunn explained, "That's been part of the plan since the beginning, that's something I had to work out before we shot the screenplay. We wanted to make sure Yondu's place in everything made sense and it does, so it's all very specific stuff."

Sean Gunn, meanwhile, who played both the mo-cap parts for Rocket and also the Ravager Kraglin, joked,

My friend Simon, my brother James's assistant, he keeps texting me jokes like, "We've already decided on the opening of the second movie, it'll be Kraglin's face, then we'll pull back to see its his head on a stick!" [laughs] Yondu would kill me before the second movie even starts.

Nebula

See the quote above for Gunn's assertion that Nebula will return:

"I think Nebula is really important, too, and so I think we'll see more of both of those characters."

Speaking again to IGN, Kevin Feige said something really interesting:

I would say any character that doesn't overtly perish is certainly fair game to come back. If people know the comic lore, Nebula has a lot of varying different roles to play over the course of a lot of different titles in the comics. We have somebody like Karen, and you have a look that is so weird and so great. I think that's something we'd all like to see again.

That particular quote about having different roles to play in different comics titles reads like a coded statement that Nebula could be the character that ends up appearing in other Marvel titles before the next Guardians film. Ant-Man and Age of Ultron don't seem like prime places, unless Nebula pops up in a post-credits scene in Age of Ultron. But what about Doctor Strange? Could Nebula factor into Strange's journeys into other dimensions? Knowing that his "magic" is likely to have a scientific basis contributes a shade of possibility to the idea.

And since Doctor Strange and Nebula are both important parts of the Infinity Gauntlet story as it appeared in comics pages, we'll continue to wonder if they'll play similar roles on film.

Thanos

At Comic Con, Feige told me that Thanos is shown in Guardians in order to establish the character as someone along the lines of the Emperor in Star Wars, and we know that he is not in Age of Ultron. But Guardians establishes the Infinity Gems as a specific plot device, and we know that Thanos is likely bent on gathering all the Gems to consolidate his own power. (And he'll have to grab them, or have lackeys do that work, since right now he has zero gems in his possession. I doubt Thanos is all that worried about such a thing. It certainly wasn't a problem for him when he needed to gather them in the Thanos Quest storyline, but they were also mostly held by different characters.)

Talking to IGN about Thanos, Kevin Feige waffled a bit on what can be shown, noting "anything I say would be a spoiler, frankly, on that." Feige did say "But the fun of our universe is that the characters can pop up in multiple franchises, so... perhaps."

One place that Guardians skimps a bit on the character front is the establishment of the relationship between Nebula, Gamora, and Thanos. We're told a few big things, but don't see very much. With Nebula promised as a participant in the sequel and teased as a possible inclusion in other Marvel films, expect to see more of this relationship defined and explored. And that leads to...

An Avengers Cross-Over

Clearly, there's the potential for a cross-over of sorts between the Avengers and Guardians. Given that the Thanos storyline has been seeded in all Marvel films so far, there's already a tie between the movies. Unless we see an Age of Ultron post-credits tag that features a Guardians character, chances are we're not going to see this come to pass until at least the Guardians sequel. And even then we might not see much, per Gunn in the Wall Street Journal:

Gunn said he's already working on the sequel. "I have a good idea," he said. "Frankly, it's more important that the story works by itself than by how it fits into 'The Avengers.'" He has to keep certain things in mind to connect to the overriding story arc, but, "first and foremost, I'm concerned with the Marvel cosmic side of things and these characters."

It's more likely that Guardians 2 will further build towards a crossover with the real action taking place in The Avengers 3, which we expect to see in 2018.

Avengers 3 fan logo

James Gunn talked to Yahoo about the possibility of an Avengers crossover:

We talked about all sorts of possibilities [for a crossover] and I kind of know what the basic plan is. It could always change at any minute. That could or could not include a couple of Avengers and a couple of Guardians meeting up, or all of the Avengers and all of the Guardians. But, we do inhabit the same universe and they're pretty big personalities that are likely to, at some point or another, run into each other.

The Avengers series director Joss Whedon previously stated at Comic Con,

Kevin [Feige] has a big plan and every now and then, he'll tell me part of it if he thinks it's going to affect what I'm doing or if he thinks what I'm doing is going to affect his. But as much as possible, I try to live in my own bubble. Guardians [of the Galaxy] is very much its own thing. They're not the Guardians of this galaxy; it's a different one. So, I can sort of keep them at arm's length, long enough to do my thing and then I'm sure everything is gonna get mixed together because it's Marvel."

Shortly after that, Kevin Feige told IGN the following:

You know, the fun about The Avengers, as we we're gearing up to that, was 'how would Tony Stark deal with goody two-shoes Steve Rogers in World War II?'" Feige said when asked how The Avengers would get along with the Guardians. "What would Tony Stark think of a Norse god who wields a hammer? The brilliance of Joss [Whedon] was having fun with that. So who knows if and when these guys would ever connect, but it is fun thinking about, how would Steve Rogers react to Rocket? Or, you're right, Drax couldn't even have a conversation with Tony Stark! [Laughs] I have a theory that the more time Drax spends with Peter Quill, the more he's going to start to learn, perhaps, that people aren't always as literal as his species would assume."

Further Adventures of the Guardians and Other Denizens of the Galaxy

Don't forget that between now and the release of the film sequel, an animated series will continue the adventures of Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Drax. While that series probably won't seed any specific story points that will be explored in the next film, there's a good chance that alien races and characters explored in that series will point towards what Marvel and Gunn have in mind for the sequel.

Beyond that, Gunn has also said,

There are a lot of things that are part of the overall schematic that already exist, not to mention a lot of stuff about all of the cultures. There's a lot of stuff about Xandarian and Kree culture that I've written down or I have in my head, as well as Krylorians and Ravagers.

And that leads to many more points to speculate upon. The Ravagers will likely be bound up into further exploration of Yondu's story, and the conflict between Xandarian and Kree will make a good backdrop for further Guardians adventures.

The Kree

The Kree seem like a wide-open field of possibility, and also an uncertain factor. They're one of the biggest players in Marvel's cosmic scene, and the origin point of the hero Captain Marvel, who has been a rumored addition to the MCU. The Kree are most famous for being aligned against another alien race, the Skrulls. But film rights to the Skrulls only partially belong Marvel, likely putting them off limits. One comics storyline has the Kree targeting Earth, and it's not a stretch to think that machinations by Thanos could set up that sort of conflict for The Avengers 3 as a backdrop or smokescreen for bigger plans on Thanos' end. That said, there's little evidence at this point to indicate how the Kree will be used going forward.

When we talked to Gunn on set, he said,

I don't feel too heavy about that kind of stuff. And we don't even like—we have plenty of Kree people in the movie. But the only thing we delve into is a little bit with Ronan's back story, which he tells us a little about in one scene. We don't go deeply into, "Hey this is who the Kree are and this is what they do," and all that. They're just a part of the overall galactic landscape.

The Kylorians, however, are an interesting mention, which leads us to...

Bereet

Peter Quill's Lady Friend Bereet

In comics, the Krylorians have a relatively small presence, tied to a character that has been the center of much speculation: the Hulk.

A Krylorian named Bereet essentially turned the Hulk into an action-movie star, by following him for a time on Earth and capturing footage of his actions. (This was later retconned to be a situation where Bereet had made a fictional film rather than a documentary.) Why? Here's what the Marvel wiki has to say about Krylorians:

"Prosperity has made most of them complacent, and they tend to live passionless, unambitious lives. As such, they are obsessive about escapist fantasies provided by techno-art films."

The aliens can also manipulate matter on a molecular level, and travel interstellar distances with ease. They're super-powerful, in other words, and super-bored.

Planet Hulk

Gunn has emphatically said "there's no Planet Hulk film," referring to rumors of the Hulk ending up marooned on an alien planet. But what if Bereet is part of a post-credits tag in Age of Ultron, filming the Hulk, and that becomes part of a link to the Guardians? Or perhaps the Guardians themselves could end up being media celebrities thanks to Krylorian interest. For some hints about potential here, check out this piece of spoilerish Age of Ultron discussion.

The first Guardians film even establishes that Bereet could have been doing this already. How? She's the woman on Quill's ship at the beginning of the movie, the one he has forgotten about. She's played by up-and-coming actress Melia Kreiling, and could easily end up in Guardians 2.

How meta does Marvel want to go in the future? At one point I would have said the "Bereet making movies" story would be far too unlikely. I still have a hard time thinking that's what's going to happen. But Marvel is getting to a point where I'd believe they could pull it off, perhaps even with shades of Peter Milligan and Michael Allred's media-heavy X-Force/X-Statix stories pulled in. Peter Quill as a galactic movie star? Yeah, that could happen.

Or is Bereet just a red herring? The use of one named character and one race — each of which is really known just for one thing — is so specific that there's reason to second-guess the intent.

What About the Collector? 

The post-credits tag in Guardians reveals that the Collector is not dead, and that his collection isn't even totally in shambles. Will he be back around? Given his interest in the Infinity Gems, it seems likely. In our on-set interview with Gunn, the director said,

The Collector's very connected to the overall universe and what's happening in the movie. But within this movie, he's a supporting character. Man, Benicio's the best. He's great. He's really creepy in the movie. He's the most unique character in the film.

As Peter mentioned in his Guardians easter eggs article, James Gunn has also hinted that there's more to see with respect to the Collector.

"I will say that is probably not the Collector's only museum," he said. "I think he probably has other spaces in which he keeps his incredibly vast selection. That's just his Knowhere wing [in the movie]."

If nothing else, it seems nuts to cast Benicio del Toro just to use him for five or ten minutes. The Collector still has one of the Inifinity Gems, so far as we know, and so there's every reason to think he'll be back in the sequel. And he's also conveniently in possession of a few other things that could be useful for the story. For instance...

Let's Speculate About Adam Warlock

adam-warlock-adam-warlock-easter-egg-in-guardians-of-the-galaxy-confirmed-by-marvel

A strange fan-favorite character, Adam Warlock (mentioned above) is a being who, in comics pages, would occasionally store himself in cocoon form. One of those cocoons is seen in the Thor 2 stinger scene that introduces the Collector (above). James Gunn has said specifically that this is a Warlock cocoon.

Here's his more impressive form when out of the cocoon:

warlock-v-thanos

Warlock has an Infinity Gem embedded in his forehead, which is a pretty useful thing. (It's the Soul Gem, on the right below. And in fact, the first real appearance of an Infinity Gem in comics pages was Warlock's.) There's a lot of really fun, kooky backstory to the guy, as Jim Starlin wrote the early Warlock stories when fully enmeshed in his counter-culture period.

infinity-gems

But the big Warlock stuff that could impact the MCU is his role in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, during which Thanos finally gets all the Infinity Gems together to create an almost unbeatable source of power. Just before that story, Warlock is part of an anti-Thanos coalition that also includes the Avengers, Captain Marvel, and Moondragon. (Oh, look, those characters again.) And when Thanos really starts building the Infinity Gauntlet, Warlock is really his prime opposition.

Could Marvel create a film version of the Inifnity Gauntlet storyline that doesn't involve Adam Warlock? Absolutely. But we've seen multiple teases of his existence, and at this point it's a safe bit of speculation that Guardians 2 will see the cinematic birth of this very strange Marvel character, priming him to square off against Thanos at the end of Marvel's Phase Three.