Writer/director James Gunn closed out his successful MCU franchise when Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 hit theaters. The third entry in the series explored the origins of Rocket Raccoon while it followed up on events from the Guardians franchise as well as the MCU’s larger “Infinity Saga.”
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 featured a few fun cameos from Gunn’s usual collaborators, though it also included quite a few references that might have only been caught by a few dedicated comic fans. These subtle details included a possible reference to Star-Lord’s real father as well as the post-credit debut of Phyla-Vell that kept comic fans talking after the credits rolled.
8 Ani-Men/New Men
When the Guardians first encountered the helpers and technicians of the incredibly weird character known as the High Evolutionary, they sang his praise and shared a few of his accomplishments. They revealed that the High Evolutionary had created both the Xeronians and the Ani-Men in the past.
The Xeronians are a peaceful alien society in the Marvel universe whose king became a powerful warrior to protect his people from invaders. The Ani-Men in the comics were human/animal hybrids, but the High Evolutionary didn’t create them. However, the reference could be teasing High Evolutionary’s New Men who inhabited Counter-Earth in the film and the comics.
7 Recorder B-246
The Guardians spent the majority of Vol. 3 trying to locate important information to save Rocket Raccoon’s life. After a failed attempt to steal it from one of the grossest bio-organic space stations in the universe, they found their real target, Recorder B-246.
Recorder B-246 was one of High Evolutionary’s assistants who had a memory implant on his head. In the comics, there are a number of robotic units created by the Rigellians who observe and recorded information across the galaxy. While Recorder B-246 didn’t look like a Rigellian Recorder, his designation reminded some fans of one of Iron Man’s deadliest enemies, Recorder 451.
6 Drax’s Daughter
The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie teased Drax’s past as a husband and a father, though didn’t explore his family much. He wanted revenge on Ronan the Accuser and later Thanos for their role in the deaths of his wife and daughter. When the Guardians of the Galaxy found imprisoned Star-Children in GotG Vol. 3, they frightened the High Evolutionary’s terrified experiments.
Drax shared his daughter’s story and gained their trust. In the comics, Drax’s real daughter was Heather Douglas. Thanos’ father resurrected her and the Priests of Pama trained her to become the telepathic Avenger and Guardian known as Moondragon. While the MCU changed Drax’s story, the mention of his daughter still had fans thinking about Moondragon.
5 High Evolutionary’s True Face
The climactic final battle with the High Evolutionary reunited the Guardians of the Galaxy after they were split apart by the film’s events. After a pitched battle, Gamora ripped off the skin mask covering his scarred features. She exposed the High Evolutionary’s true face to his enemies for the first time in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
While Rocket Raccoon scarred High Evolutionary’s face in their shared past, comic fans saw a different unveiling in Uncanny Avengers. When High Evolutionary lost his iconic mask, the experienced leaders of the Avengers were shocked to learn the true extent of his self-experimentation. His face was a grotesque mixture of animal components and human facial features.
4 Jason Quill
Star-Lord was one of the best parts of the MCU when he was with his team, though he decided to leave the Guardians after their battle with the High Evolutionary in Vol. 3. He returned home to reconnect with his grandfather who he hadn’t seen since his abduction as a child. When he arrived at his grandfather’s home, he asked for Jason Quill.
This could potentially be a nod to Star-Lord’s comic father, J’Son. In the comics, J’Son of Spartax was a member of alien royalty who crashed on Earth and fell in love with a human woman before he left the planet. The MCU reimagined Star-Lord’s father as Ego the Living Planet, so Peter’s grandfather Jason might have referenced his comic parentage.
3 Legendary Star-Lord
The final post-credit scene in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 featured a quiet moment between Peter Quill and his grandfather. The film then ended with text that read ”The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return,” teasing the adaptation of a very specific comic storyline.
Legendary Star-Lord followed Peter Quill as he returned to Earth and reconnected with his past. He fought to protect an orphanage where he spent time as a youth. He even battled the Baddoon who would eventually lead to the original Guardians’ creation. Legendary Star-Lord helped define the modern Peter Quill away from the Guardians, which could shine a light on his MCU future.
2 Knowhere’s Poker Game
After the Guardians’ climactic encounter with the High Evolutionary at Counter-Earth, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 wrapped up back in Knowhere. Kraglin attended a poker game that featured a few recognizable faces to fans of the franchise and comics.
The Broker from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 played cards alongside the band leader from the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. However, comic fans couldn’t help but notice yet another of the best MCU cameos from Howard the Duck, hopefully teasing a larger future for Seth Green’s comedic take on the Marvel character.
One of the final post-credit scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 introduced a new roster of the cosmic team led by Rocket Raccoon. The new team also featured Kraglin, a massive version of Groot, the powerful Adam Warlock, and one of the rescued Star-Children.
Rocket called their young ally Phyla, which teased the comic character and long-time Guardians member Phyla-Vell. Phyla was the genetically engineered daughter of Captain Mar-Vell who took on the roles of both Quasar and Martyr. While the 616 version of the character died in the comics, an alternate reality version operating as Captain Marvel is a current member of the Guardians.
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