Guardians of the Galaxy Crash Course

I'll admit, I'm not a comic reader, but I have really gotten into the current surge of superhero movies!  Guardians of the Galaxy is an upcoming Marvel film that has been getting a ton of coverage since its first teaser trailer released at Comic Con 2013.  So, what do you need to know before stepping into the theater on August 1, 2014? Yes, it doesn't come out till August. I've been doing my research to get you a quick cliffsnotes version of what you need to know before purchasing your popcorn!

First things first: Setting

This is one of Marvel's first movies set entirely in space.  Even movies like Thor have left some scenes on Earth; however, Guardians of the Galaxy is taking on space in a big way.  Some critics says that this is Marvel's response to Star Wars. We'll see if A2D2 agrees!

Origin Stories

What I've read, across the inter-webs, is that Guardians of the Galaxy has a complex (and convoluted) origin story.  What you need to know is that they originally appeared in comics in 1969 in Marvel's Super-Heroes #18.  The Guardians that appeared in 1969 are not the Guardians used in the 2014 movie.  The 1969 Guardians were 31st century freedom fighters with similar goals as the 2014 team, but with drastically different characters.

The 2014 Film version of Guardians of the Galaxy appeared in 2009 in the first Guardian of the Galaxy comic.  So, what connects these Guardians to the rest of the Marvel (movie) universe? Thanos.  Remember the villain that appeared at the end of The Avengers credits?  That's Thanos, and he's a big deal with Guardians of the Galaxy.  No one knows (or is releasing) how this will effect future films, but there have been whispers of a Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers crossover.


I'm not going to lie, I'm relying on Wired for the majority of these great character descriptions, enjoy!

Peter Quill grew up believing he was just an ordinary human, but that turned out to not be entirely true — he’s half-alien, thanks to an affair his mother had with a crash-landed E.T. that she didn’t tell him about. Unfortunately, other aliens knew about it, and they murdered his mother as a result. Unsurprisingly, this leads to an interest in space which quickly translated into a short-lived career as an astronaut that blossomed into rebirth — thanks to a handy cosmic entity — as a space hero with cosmic awareness, if one a little dulled by an inherently bad attitude. Chris Pratt, it’s up to you to make us want this jerk to win in the movie."

"Drax the Destroyer
Proving that death really isn’t the end when it comes to comics, Arthur Douglas’ death was actually the start of his origin as the giant green-skinned Drax. Murdered by Thanos — in short, the death-obsessed alien who audiences glimpsed in the mid-credit sequence of The Avengers — Douglas’ spirit was placed in an artificially-created new, almost indestructible body by Thanos’ enemies with the thinking that the first thing he’d want to do would be to try and kill Thanos in return. The good news: Their guess was right on the money. The bad news: Thanos turned out to be pretty hard to kill. Somehow, the movie casting of wrestler Dave Bautista seems right on the money."

Complicating things slightly, one of Drax’s fellow Guardians just happens to be Thanos’ adopted daughter, who was raised to become the self-proclaimed “deadliest woman in the galaxy.” Unsurprisingly, being raised by a genocidal alien despot as a living weapon didn’t leave Gamora feeling particularly warmly towards her father, and she ultimately turns on him in favor of, you know, not destroying everything that lived in the entire galaxy. These days, she’s pretty much a good guy — if one whose methods may not be the kind of thing Star Trek‘s Spock would approve of, so watch it, Zoe Saldana."

Groot is a living tree. No, really, that’s pretty much it; he’s an alien plant monster who can be regrown from a twig in the case of dire emergency, and a creature that can control plant life. He’s not particularly verbose, preferring instead to say “I am Groot” over and over again (Vin Diesel, who voices the movie version of the character, shouldn’t really expect too much of a vocal workout). That’s pretty much all there is to him. The Guardians’ Hodor, everybody."

Rocket Raccoon
The first thing Rocket would want you to know is, he’s not really a raccoon — he’s just an alien who happens to look just like one. A former space cop and space explorer from a planet where animals were genetically modified to give them human-like qualities, he’s a surly strategic genius and weapons expert who just so happens to look entirely cuddly and adorable (in the movie he’ll be voiced by Bradley Cooper, who is also cuddly and adorable). Just, you know, don’t tell him that."  

Something else I found interesting about Rocket Raccoon, who has quickly become immediately recognizable with the Guardians of the Galaxy film is this quote from director James Gunn:
 “If Rocket does work the movie’s gonna work. And so for me, the whole time it's been about making something that some people could think of as a cartoon or a ridiculous character into a real creature.”

So, what about Karen Gillan? Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about her, but she's on Team Bad.  Let's take a quick look at some core players. What I cannot tell you is where in their timeline this movie will take place.

A brutal space pirate and mercenary, she claims that Thanos is her grandfather. Other stories claim she is an adopted daughter of Thanos and was raised with Gamora. In the course of her timeline, she previously had a brain implant which helped her absorb energy and power. She has fought The Avengers (Captain American, Thor, Spiderman, and Sersi to be exact) and lost her powers when Sersi removed her brain implant.   She escaped The Avengers.

Thanos was born on Titan, Saturn's moon.  As a young child, Thanos was a pacifist and had limited social interaction.  By his adolescence, he became fascinated with death and eventually worshiped it through a female embodiment of death, Mistress Death. As an adult, Thanos attempts to create a new life for himself by starting a family, but murders them for Mistress Death.

Thanos is considered a mutant member of superhumans known as the Titanian Eternals.  He possesses amplified powers compared to other Eternals characters due to a combination of his mutant heritage, bionic amplification, mysticism, and Mistress Death.  Thanos can absorb and project vast quantities of cosmic energy and is capable of telekinesis, telepathy, and matter manipulation.  This combined with his superhuman strength, stamina, and durability make him rank #47 of IGN's top 100 comic villians.  Oh, and he's a master at all known fields of advanced science.

I hope you're looking forward to the next Marvel installment as much as I am - see you at the movies!

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