James Gunn is already penning and directing the third chapter in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise because Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, was already confident that the second movie would blow fans away. This places Gunn in an interesting place in terms of making movies for the MCU. It seems he’s not just Feige’s golden boy at present, but also he’s the man who Feige has given full creative freedom and control to in order to tell visually stunning stories outside of Earth, making the entire Avengers-in-space routine all the more important.
Since the first film, Gunn brought the obscure Guardians (Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, a talking Rocket Raccoon and a big tree called Groot) to a mainstream audience that was focused on the Avengers, as he went on to open up the cosmic realm in a bigger manner with a bunch of new faces that were even more unknown, such as Yondu. The sequel actually had quite a couple newbies as well, although, barring Ego and Mantis, they didn’t affect the overall plot that much. With that in mind, Gunn is clearly angling to freshen up the franchise the next time around, so CBR decided to look at 15 new faces we need to see in Vol. 3!
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and comics!
It was disappointing that Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 didn’t bring the Nova Corps back in full like the last movie where we got to see them as a major police force in the universe. They ended up safeguarding the Orb (an Infinity Stone) in the first film but here, we just glimpsed Xandar when Ego tried to unleash his plan of colonizing the universe. One member that we need to see in Gunn’s next outing is fan-favorite Richard Rider.
He’s the no-nonsense and most popular Nova who values Earth (his home) just as much as he does space, drawing a lot of parallels to Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern. We want to see him, not as comical as Gunn made the Corps out to be in the first film, but more action-oriented, gritty and of course, with a much slicker, refined costume that doesn’t look like cosplay.
By the time Gunn makes his trilogy, it’s likely that Thanos’ reign will have ended as well as Phase Three in the MCU. Once Avengers: Infinity War and its follow-up wraps, Feige has said that we’ll be entering a new age which may well be totally different, so if that’s the case, then the Mad Titan may leave a gap that needs to be plugged in the galaxy. Who better than his son, Thane, to do so?
In the latest Thanos book, Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato followed up from the Infinity event where Thanos was seeking to kill Thane, and explored how the son began assembling a hit-squad (including his uncle, Starfox) to kill daddy dearest. Thanos was also dying of a god-cancer, which made the book all the more intriguing, but it now painted Thane as being just as ruthless as his dad was, complete with a god complex too.
When Sony and Marvel Studios worked out a deal for Spider-Man in the MCU, fans rejoiced. In return, Iron Man will be in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which addresses Spidey’s life after his Captain America: Civil War appearance. Sony will be making a Venom film as well that stands alone and is rumored to be an alien/sci-fi thriller in space. When the symbiote does eventually touch down on Earth, hopefully it bonds with Flash Thompson.
In the comics, he grew out of his Spider-Man rivalry and with the symbiote, he transitioned into Agent Venom, who controlled the alien parasite and became a superhero due to its abilities. It gave the war veteran new meaning, as he felt useless after losing the use of his legs, so powering up such a hero and adding him to the team as was the case with the GotG comics could be a big way of revitalizing Gunn’s vision.
Bug featured in the Micronauts comics before his transfer to Marvel Comics later on shot him to prominence via the Guardians books in 2007 from Abnett and Lanning. He was rescued from Kree imprisonment by Star-Lord and forged a key partnership with Rocket, as seen with how he helped out during the War of Kings and Realm of Kings events.
Bug wasn’t the most famous face on the roster, but was quirky and endearing, despite his looks. Gunn toyed with using him in the first movie, as the insectoid could have showed Fox just how X-Men’s Toad should have been done. He can cling to walls, has exceptional agility, extraordinary sight, with enhanced peripheral vision gained via his helmet, and possesses a heightened sensory awareness that can sense when danger is near. He would actually be the perfect cross between Spider-Man and Mantis if Gunn wanted a wildcard inclusion next time.
The Badoon are an alien reptilian species from the comics and could well be the new alien army that Gunn deploys to threaten the galaxy. They are a misogynistic species, older than the Kree and Skulls, who are hellbent on extending their galactic reach. In terms of strength, they pack cloaking technology, cyborg/alien hybrids and are able to space-travel faster than light, making them very potent.
They appeared in the Avengers Assemble cartoon and were slated for the first GotG movie, but rights issues with Fox scuppered a deal. However, we’re hoping Fox decides to share rights with them in a way similar to what Sony did with Spider-Man, because they aren’t that popular in the books and it’s unlikely Fox will give them proper screen-time as they already have Galactus, his heralds (such as Silver Surfer), the cosmic X-Men links (such as the Shi’ar’s Imperial Guard), along with Annihilus and all the Annihilation Wave components.
When Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took over Marvel’s cosmic comics, they introduced the Cancerverse, which was a dark reality known as Earth-10011. There we met the Revengers, that reality’s version of the Avengers who were warped by their Captain Marvel, a corrupted despot. They were allies with the Defenders of the Realm and the Ex-Men, who were also just as twisted and horrific. It would be a huge twist if the Guardians, after partnering with the Avengers to beat Thanos, now had to fight these wicked versions of Earth’s mightiest.
Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Thor, War Machine and Wasp were among the demented opposition that Star-Lord and his team faced there. Gunn may have hinted of such a realm too via the monster in the opening sequence of Vol. 2 looking like a Cancerverse deviant. Some exploration may be needed!
The mantle of Quasar goes to whomever dons the Quantum Bands, alien technology that powers up its bearer and allows them to manipulate energy. Wendell Vaughn is the most notable person who took this role on and was also seen as a space protector in the books. Quasar is right up there in terms of being a sentry in the cosmos the same way Nova is in the comics recently. Avril Kincaid also donned the mantle only to be thrown into a Chitauri war in Secret Empire.
Both would be great candidates to introduce, maybe with Vaughn mentoring Kincaid, because we need another powerhouse player in space, and the diversity factor would be enhanced in the MCU via another strong female lead. Carol Danvers and Maria Hill already tried to dictate Kincaid’s pace, so perhaps her and Vaughn exploring with the Guardians would be much more liberating to diehards.
With Caron Danvers getting her own Captain Marvel film, it would be a travesty if at some point the original didn’t appear. Gunn has the perfect opportunity to do so by introducing the Kree warrior, Mar-Vell, who used his nega-bands to eventually safeguard Earth and the galaxy. He became an Avenger before he died from cancer, with his genetics later used to create Genis-Vell or Photon, who also carried the Captain Marvel mantle at some point.
Phyla-Vell was also artificially created in similar fashion to Genis, and she would fight her brother for their father’s title before taking on roles as Quasar and Martyr. Seeing as Gunn loves family stories, this dynasty would fit right into the fabric of his films. Noh Varr, another Kree experiment, could also appear, as he was Captain Marvel in Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers before joining the Young Avengers and eventually becoming the Protector.
Moondragon would be a very interesting character to bring to the table for the next movie. She was born Heather Douglas, but lost her father, Arthur, to a car accident. Ironically, his soul would end up in a body that became Drax the Destroyer, and Heather ended up being taken in by Mentor (Thanos’ dad). She then honed her psionic powers and martial arts ability to become Moondragon.
In the films, Drax has always spoken of how he lost his wife and daughter, so Gunn could recton things and actually have her survive only to be groomed by Thanos in a fashion similar to what we saw happened with Gamora and Nebula. That would be a crazy twist to the family dynamic of these movies.
Vance Astro is a mutant (which we’re sure Gunn can retcon) who got lost in space as an astronaut and became one of the earliest members of the Guardians in the deep future. He often deals in time travel and even ended up as part of the War of Kings event, helping Star-Lord and his posse fend off disaster. Donning Captain America’s lost shield, he’s also known as Major Victory, with his younger self on Earth actually donning the moniker of Justice.
While the younger Astro is unlikely to appear in the recently-announced New Warriors television show, as he was part of the modern team, the older galactic hero could be a great foil for Quill to riff off, as both were displaced from Earth only to grow into cosmic warriors. They already have a great relationship in the books and Gunn could use Astro as the brother Quill never had.
The Starjammers appearing in Gunn’s next movie also hinges on sharing rights with Fox, and the reason why it could be an easier partnership with Marvel Studios is that they are spacefarers who are very similar in nature to the Ravagers — in terms of their family dynamic and the action-packed drama that always surround them. Corsair leads this team in the comics and he usually cuts a similar figure to Yondu, namely brash but altruistic.
It doesn’t seem that Fox are ready to go cosmic in their films, which means they probably wouldn’t be using him as Cyclops and Havok’s father. If the Starjammers do go over to the MCU, they may not even need Corsair though, because their space pirate ensemble, including the likes of Ch’od, Raza and Korvus (who wielded the Blade of the Phoenix in the comics) are more than enough to carry the team forward.
Angela was created by esteemed writer Neil Gaiman and artist Todd McFarlane as an adversary for Spawn at Image Comics. After a legal battle, Gaiman won the rights and sold them to Marvel where she entered the fray after Wolverine’s actions in the Age of Ultron comic event. Angela would join the Guardians in the process as she arrived enraged from the Tenth Ream of Heven.
She would leave the team later on as it was revealed she was Odin’s daughter, which drew her into major feuds with Thor and Hela, which saw Angela take over as Queen of Hel. An appearance in the MCU here could see her eventually join the Thor franchise, but not before Angela goes on swashbuckling missions as the new muscle for the Guardians. She could literally bridge the gap between these space Avengers and Asgard, which is expanding its cosmic links via Thor: Ragnarok.
New life was breathed into Darkhawk (Chris Powell) in War of Kings. He found someone similar like him, Talon, who belonged to the Fraternity of Raptors, only to discover that they weren’t allies but cosmic assassins. This gives Gunn the ideal opportunity here to use Darkhawk and the Fraternity for potential conflict for his next Guardians team. When his power amulet corrupted him, Chris turned into an evil persona by the name of Razor, so that’s another possible wildcard in the mix like how Nebula was.
The Guardians may not be as trusting anymore after Ego tried to play them, but with Darkhawk’s cult following, it would be smart if Gunn adds him as a power-player should the film venture into the Fault and the Cancerverse. Due to his speed and energy projections, which have a similar feel to Nova and Iron Man, he’d be perfect for roaming uncharted territory.
Gunn went nostalgic with the cameos in the last movie, introducing Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone) as the man who excommunicated Yondu from the Ravagers for dishonoring them. Eventually, Yondu won back their respect and we saw Starhawk and the others paying respect at his funeral. However, the post-credits showed Starhawk with a team aiming to go on another mission.
This team was actually similar to the original Guardians from the books in the 31st century, featuring Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex T’Naga, Ving Rhames as Charlie-27, Michelle Yeoh as Aleta Ogord, Krugarr and Mainframe (with the latter voiced by Miley Cyrus). Seeing as Gunn loves throwbacks, we want to see this squad assisting the Guardians and also helping all the Ravagers become allies, which may well result in them all taking up ranks and gaining membership. Couple this with the Nova Corps and space could well have an epic police force.
Adam Warlock was set to appear in Gunn’s sequel, but was cut so that he could focus on developing Mantis and ensure that things didn’t get too crowded. However, Ayesha (of the Sovereign planet) showed Adam as her secret creation in the post-credits, which confirms him for the third film. This is a very different history from the comics where he was created under the moniker “Him” and used to battle Thor. He was later tied to the High Evolutionary, but most notably, Adam ended up feuding with Thanos.
This is exactly what makes him crucial to bring over from the books to the MCU because he also wielded the Infinity Gauntlet in the process. It’ll be interesting to see how Ayesha uses him, given her hatred for the Guardians, and how often they showed her up. Perhaps this is where his evil persona, Magus, may emerge.
Let us know in the comments who else you’d like to see in the next Guardians of the Galaxy film!