Once upon a time, the Guardians of the Galaxy were regulated to short boxes of hard-core comic book fans. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had no idea what lay in store for them when director James Gunn dug out characters like Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and Groot the talking tree out from the bin of obscure Marvel Comics.
Now, there isn’t any Marvel fan that does not know the story of the galaxy’s ragtag team of jerks turned reluctant heroes. But who could have known that a cybernetically enhanced raccoon with emotional attachment issues would one day become one of the MCU’s most beloved characters?
That is of course Rocket Raccoon. So you may be asking yourself who is Rocket Raccoon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? He is the result of the work of two MCU actors in the Guardians of the Galaxy films as he is voiced by Bradley Cooper and Sean Gunn worked as the motion reference actor for Rocket on set. Sean Gunn also played the ravager, Kraglin in the Marvel movies.
Rocket Raccoon’s origin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
In the MCU, Rocket is also as known 89P13. His name and aspects of his character are a nod to The Beatles’ 1968 song “Rocky Raccoon”. He was the result of alien scientists who brought him to a planet called Halfworld and experimented on him. While Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) or its sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) go into detail about the experiments that Rocket underwent it was clearly traumatic. Rocket describes his creation in Guardians as:
Well, I didn’t ask to get made! I didn’t ask to be torn apart and put back together over and over and turned into some… some little monster!
In Marvel Comics, Halfworld was a world that was run by abandoned robots called “Shrinks”. After their alien creators abandoned Halfworld a nearby star went nova and gave the robots sentience and they went on to experiment on the animal life of Halfworld using genetic engineering to give intelligence and awareness to the beings that became known as Halfworlders.
What happened to the rest of the animals created with Rocket Raccoon?
The MCU has not shown any of the other Halfworlder that were created with Rocket Raccoon. There are quite a few in Marvel Comics like the leader of Halfworld Lord Dyvyne, who is some kind of enhanced reptile. In the comic books, there are also the members of the mercenary group known as the Black Bunny Brigade run by Blackjack O’Hare, a rabbit whose proclivity for guns rivals that of our favorite talking raccoon.
Also, worth mentioning is Shocket Raccoon, a female clone of Rocket created by the Collector aka Taneleer Tivan. She has a much different story than Rocket’s origin since she was not created on Halfworld. She traveled through time with a clone of Howard the Duck called Linda.
One of the most notable Halfworlders is Lylla, an otter who has been described as Rocket Raccoon’s soulmate. There is even mention of her in Guardians as a known associate of Rocket alongside Groot. And theory suggests Marvel Studios might introduce her character in the next movie. This would help wrap up Rocket’s story arc.
Other Halfworlders include Rocket’s engineer friend Wal Rus, a walrus who traveled with Rocket and Groot to help save Princess Lynx from Lord Dyvyne. Rocket and the Halfworlders first appeared in Marvel Preview #7 (Summer 1976), when he was called “Rocky”. He would next appear in The Incredible Hulk #271.
What is Rocket Raccoon’s expected lifespan?
A normal earth raccoon reaches maturity around two years of age and can live up to twenty years. When Rocket Raccoon is introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie which is set in 2014, he is already fully grown. His age is not revealed but based on his extensive criminal record he has been around committing crimes for some time. He has escaped from 22 prisons, at least seven of which had to have happened before he even meets Groot, who has only escaped 15 times.
Assuming he did not get arrested every other week starting at age two, he must be at least four in Guardians. He survives Thanos’s (Josh Brolin) snap in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and by the time he is seen again in Avengers: Endgame (2019) it is 2023. This puts him at a minimum of thirteen years old in Endgame if his physiology is at all like that of an Earth raccoon.
This would put him past middle-aged by the time Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 hits theaters on May 5, 2023. Rocket Raccoon noticeably aged during the Blip which makes fans expect he will reach the end of his lifespan in the third Guardians movie
However, Rocket is not a typical raccoon and has been cybernetically enhanced. These include enhanced intelligence, strength, durability, agility, and reflexes. The scan by the Nova Corps shows that he has a cybernetic skeletal structure, enhanced phalanges and metacarpal bones (fingers), and a genetically augmented cerebral cortex. Neither the MCU nor the comics go into detail about the specifics of his enhancements but in Marvel Comics he has lived for much longer than twenty years. It was hinted that his DNA was altered to make him more like an Inhuman.
Related: Who Are Marvel’s Inhumans?
Will Rocket Raccoon Die in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3?
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is still two years away so very little is known about the plot. Guardians 2 did set up Adam Warlock in the post credits scene. Adam Warlock was created by the Sovereign as the perfect human being and it seemed like Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) was going to set him up against the Guardians in revenge. In Marvel Comic Warlock was a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy after his crucial role in the Infinity Saga so he will most likely end up teaming up with them as a hero.
However, rumors have been circulating that Rocket Raccoon is doomed in the third movie. James Gunn already confirmed that someone will die in GOTG 3. He has also said that the Marvel film will finally explore Rocket’s backstory beyond the small tidbits we got of his origin story in the previous movies.
He shared this detail on Twitter back in April 2020:
I’ll just say Rocket is a big part of what’s happening in the future – and a lot of this stuff (like the scars we’re about to see on his back) sets up what I’ve been planning for Rocket all along.
I’ll just say Rocket is a big part of what’s happening in the future – and a lot of this stuff (like the scars we’re about to see on his back) sets up what I’ve been planning for Rocket all along. #QuarantineWatchParty #GotG https://t.co/WLqoiG7Wzg
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 8, 2020
Marvel fans have also eyed Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) as another likely victim. Bautista has said multiple times this will be his final appearance in the MCU. Now that he got his revenge against Thanos for murdering his family, Drax’s story could be near its end.
Rocket Raccoon’s role in the Guardians of the Galaxy series
Rocket Raccoon is an essential member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He is a skilled tactician and an expert marksman. Beyond that, he also serves as the crew’s go-to engineer. Between his genius-level intellect and his sarcastic attitude, he is sort of the Guardians’ Iron Man aka Tony Stark (Robert Downing Jr.). He is the one who conducts the repairs on their ship the Benatar.
He also whips up crazy weapons and inventions seemingly on the fly, including the Hadron Enforcer. He does what he can to help get him and his teammates out of jams, usually ones Rocket caused. Who knows what chaos he will bring in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
He often stands at odds with his teammates Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). He was definitely most attached to Groot (Vin Diesel) as they had been working at mercenaries together before meeting the rest of the team.
He and the other Guardians of the Galaxy were the first superheroes we saw weild an Infinity Stone – the Power Stone – in the Marvel Universe. Though they have a dysfunctional dynamic they are clearly deeply connected. There is also no doubt that he now has a special connection with Nebula (Karen Gillan) as they were the only two surviving members during the Blip.
Much of Rocket Raccoon’s arc in Guardians 2 was about him accepting that he was now part of a family. He acts like he does not care about his fellow Guardians, but he replanted Groot without knowing he would regrow. Then he took on a paternal figure for Baby Groot.
If Rocket Raccoon’s lifespan is only twenty years that means that during the Blip, his friends and family were gone for about one-fourth of his entire life. And while he butted heads with Peter Quill on multiple occasions, he is seen wearing a red scarf in Endgame, which fans believe to be Peter’s scarf from Guardians 2. I am not crying – you are.
When will there be a Rocket and Groot movie?
There are no plans right now for a Rocket and Groot movie. There was an animated series of short called Rocket and Groot that aired on Disney XD in 2017 and is currently available on Disney+. The official description of the mini-series gives some details about what a potential Rocket and Groot movie might look like:
Before joining the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket and Groot were just your average, everyday bounty hunters. When the duo’s trusty ol’ ship breaks down, they are forced to shop for the most expensive ship credits can buy.
Rocket Raccoon was voiced by Trevor Devall in both Rocket and Groot as well as the animated Guardians of the Galaxy Series, neither of which used the MCU Actors. Bradley Cooper, husband of Irina Shayk, will provide Rocket’s voice in the upcoming What If…? series on Disney+.
Rocket Raccoon’s role in the Avengers movies
Sadly, from the time that the Guardians were introduced in 2014, it took four years for them to finally meet the Avengers. When they rescued Thor (Chris Hemsworth) after his defeat by Thanos at the start of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), he and Groot split off from the rest of the team. He meets the rest of the Avengers when they land in Wakanda, home of T’Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). He briefly threatens to take Bucky Barnes’ aka the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) prosthetic limb to add to his collection before the Snap.
It probably haunted Rocket for the next five years as he thought he would never see his family again. He is seen at the start of Endgame running missions in space for Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johanson) alongside Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). He has become an Avenger and not just a Guardian of the Galaxy after Infinity War.
Of all the Guardians of the Galaxy, he bounded the most with the Avengers over the course of the five-year Blip. He is still far from the most family friendly character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though he has clearly bonded with the God of Thunder over their shared grief. He is one of the few characters who is shown not just dismissing Thor’s trauma but instead encourages him to snap out of it – though he could have been gentler.
Upcoming Superhero Movies that will feature Rocket Raccoon
Bradley Cooper’s next appearance as Rocket Raccoon will be in the Marvel Studios What If…? the new animated series coming to Disney+ on August 11th. The series will expand on Marvel Phase 4’s theme of the multiverse by exploring alternate versions of characters like a version of Star-Lord voiced by the late Chadwick Boseman and an evil version of Gamora who followed in Thanos’s footsteps.
From then Marvel fans will have to wait to see their favorite trash panda until 2022, when Marvel Studios releases Thor: Love and Thunder on May 6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will come out a year later on May 5, 2023. But The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is expected to release on Disney+ in late 2022, near Christmas.
There is also another series of shorts aimed at young kids called I am Groot, that will focus on the talking tree but will most likely also include his best friend Rocket since it is hard to imagine one without the other.
Hopefully, this complete guide clears up any questions you have about Rocket Raccoon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let us know in the comments below if there is anything else about the trash panda that you would want to know.