How the ‘Guardians 3’ Connects to the Comics

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Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as Groot, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, and Karen Gillan as Nebula stepping off a spaceship

Credit: Marvel Studios

For only being barely two minutes long, the new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 packs quite the punch in terms of content. From scenes hinting at Rocket Raccoon’s tragic backstory to the introduction of Adam Warlock, the film is truly shaping up to be the ultimate blaze of glory for the team’s final chapter. From the choice of music and the overall tone of the trailer, this isn’t going to be the average adventure with the gang, and it’s likely going to be the hardest-hitting member of the trilogy. What’s even more worth mentioning is how much from the original Guardians comics the film seems to be inspired by. In short, this is going to be a Marvel fan’s dream with their favorite rag-tag team of outlaws.

Guardians of the Galaxy Poster with Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) Nebula (Karen Gillan), Groot (Vin Diesel)
Credit: Marvel Studios

As Peter Quill so elegantly stated, “We were gone for quite a while” but it’s great to have them back. The return of the Guardians of the Galaxy to the silver screen is going to be an enormous endeavor. By little exaggeration, this is where the Guardians get serious. Already, this movie is shaping up to be one of the biggest superhero events of 2023, and fans of the Guardians have been craving another sequel since Vol 2. at the earliest, and since Thor hitched a ride with them at the end of Avengers: Endgame at the latest. By the trailer alone, James Gunn seems to be well on his way to delivering a final adventure that’s as big and bombastic as the Guardians themselves. However, the thing that’s getting the die-hard fans’ attention is how much the original comics seem to influence the upcoming film. Various designs, characters, and beats are teased over the trailer’s runtime and it’s certainly enough to have most fans already chomping at the bit, but what core elements from the comics are really going to make this movie the smash it needs to be to give Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, and all the rest the ending they deserve? Either way, it’s certainly a creative choice for the Guardians’ last stand in the MCU.

The New Look

New look for the Guardians
Credit: US Weekly

One of the first and most obvious things introduced in the trailer was the Guardians’ new uniforms. This military-inspired look might be a change from the practical and tactical gear the fans have seen the team wearing thus far, but fans of the comics will instantly recognize them as a take on the original blue/purple uniforms they wore in the comics. Taking cues from the original appearance of the team, but possibly inspired by the outfits they wore in the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy run by Abnett and Lanning, this design choice could be interpreted as a sign of growth for the team. Considering the fact the Guardians’ team consists of a space pirate, an alien fugitive, two daughters of Thanos, a talking tree, and a machine-gun-toting cyborg raccoon, this more serious approach is a solid way to get the galaxy to take them more seriously as its defenders. Does that mean they won’t be prone to some intergalactic antics? Absolutely not, but this is definitely a side of them from the comics the MCU has yet to play with.

Rocket Raccoon’s Backstory

Rocket Raccoon
Credit: Marvel Studios

In almost all the MCU, no character has suffered more than Rocket Raccoon. James Gunn and Bradley Cooper have both shared thoughts on this being Rocket’s send off, but there’s more evidence in the comics for the “death” scenes surrounding Rocket could all be flashbacks from his time on Halfworld. For those unfamiliar with Rocket’s origins, Rocket is a cybernetically-enhanced creature created by a team of scientists and researchers on a planet that was essentially designed to be the galaxy’s biggest insane asylum. When Rocket said he was “torn apart and put back together over and over…” he wasn’t kidding.

Related: Rocket Raccoon Will Survive, But He Will Suffer For It

These images are likely flashbacks to some of the most gut-wrenching scenes depicted in the comics, especially that bloody scalpel. He might not die in the movie, but he might wish he had if he returns to Halfworld. One thing fans can take away from the trailer as far as Rocket is concerned is that he’s done running.

A Deadlier Threat Comes to the Galaxy

High Evolutionary in the comics

The Guardians have fought Ronan the Accuser, they’ve fought Ego the Living Planet, they’ve even defeated the forces of Thanos with the rest of the MCU, but the High Evolutionary is perhaps one of the most sinister characters they could possibly encounter for a final adventure. Warlords, monsters, and supervillains are just another day at the office for these guys, but they’ve not faced a threat like this before. The character is a far cry away from the average mad scientist, as this cruel and corrupt geneticist has created legions of monstrosities in his quest to play god. In the comics, some of the High Evolutionary’s experiments have resulted in some of the strangest and most shocking creations. Somewhere between a David Cronenberg body-horror film and The Island of Doctor Moreau, the villain knows no limits when it comes to his view of science. From breeding a race of hybrids to  creating an evolutionary bomb, his acts of dominance are on a much more unsettling scale. The planet of humanoid animals seen in the trailer could definitely be a reference to the creation of Counter-Earth.

Adam Warlock

Warlock Joins MCU
Credit: GamesRadar

The post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is finally going to pay off with the introduction of Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock. This isn’t just a good move for the MCU, but it unites the Guardians with one of their greatest allies and deadliest enemies as one of the most powerful beings in the universe finally makes his appearance. While there are those who would argue that he needed to make his debut during the events of Infinity War, Warlock makes his golden-faced debut just in time to join in on what’s said to be the team’s last adventure. Fans who have read the comics know that Warlock has joined the Guardians on more than a few occasions, but he has also been known to be possessed by an evil alter ego, the Magus. While it’s more likely that Warlock will be used for good rather than evil, seeing him introduced to the MCU in general could be a movie-breaking move. That being said, it could also open the door for him to become one of the franchises biggest assets.

A Love Story For Rocket Raccoon

Lyla the Otter
Credit: Marvel Comics

Easily the biggest part of Rocket’s arc for this movie is represented by the presence of the anthropomorphic otter seen in the trailer. Some viewers might not catch her importance at first glance, but others will immediately recognize her as the raccoon’s love interest, Lylla. In the past, Lylla has been both part of Rocket’s tragic backstory and his happy ending. Knowing James Gunn, it’s hard telling just which direction he’ll push them until we actually get to see it on the big screen. While most recently featured in a brief appearance during Mike Mayhew’s Rocket, Lady Lylla’s primary role was as Rocket’s companion in his Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant series. If Gunn is truly looking to give Rocket the send off he deserves, especially since he reportedly adores the character, there’s no better way to give him exactly that than by having him fly off into the sunset with Lylla on his arm.’

Related: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Franchise Could Be Completely Changed

At the end of the day, it’s amazing what can be teased by such a small amount of screen time. The final chapter in the franchise is going to hit viewers hard, and that’s no understatement. The group has come a tremendously long way compared to the gang of galactic vigilantes seen in the original film from 2014, and their final outing needs to be one that will ripple throughout the multiverse. As of writing, all fans really have to go on are the scenes presented in the trailer. Although it does provide some insight as to how things will eventually go down, there’s still a lot of time between now and May.

Comic buffs might be able to make connections, discuss, and speculate as to what James Gunn has in store for this final entry in the Guardians’ franchise, but the main points of the film are being kept perfectly ambiguous. They can read the latest issues, go back and research some of the one-shots, special runs, and ongoing storylines in the comics, but it’s still all up in the air. That being said, the visions presented in the trailer clearly have a tremendous amount of respect for the source material, and fans are absolutely going to eat it up. There’s a lot of room for debate, but one thing that can absolutely be said for certain is that the Guardians are going to give viewers the biggest show of their cinematic careers. If they’re going to go out, they’re going to do it with the biggest bang possible. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to premiere May 5, 2023, and fans can’t wait to see the team burst onto the screen one last time.

How many comic book references and easter eggs did you catch in the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer? Tell us in the comments below!

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