James Gunn Reveals True ‘Guardians’ Protagonist

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Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Drax (Dave Bautista)

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Guardians of the Galaxy are gearing up to make their final stand in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 this summer, and it’s set to be a game-changing showdown for the fate of the universe, and many members of the team are going to survive the event. While some fans might be rooting for the triumph of Star-Lord, director James Gunn recently stated that their focus has been on the wrong character.

Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan as the Guardians of the Galaxy in 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023). Credit: Marvel Studios
Credit: Marvel Studios

Rocket Raccoon has always been considered the mascot of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the eyes of the fans. In both the comics and the movies, Rocket has always been one of the most recognizable characters that have ever been a member of the team, and his gun-toting, one-liner-spewing, explosive antics have been enjoyed by a sea of dedicated followers. Now, James Gunn has come forward to reveal his thoughts on the character’s place in the films.

Related: Movie-Breaking Character Hits ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’

Peter Quill has seen quite a hefty helping of character development over the course of the trilogy, but his identity and daddy issues are only a part of the equation. In the grand scheme of the Marvel Universe, Rocket holds more weight and more star power than any roguish space pirate. While the rest of the Guardians have been running the emotional gauntlet. Rocket has been carrying some emotional baggage that he didn’t start properly managing until Avengers: Infinity War. The character has been given not one but four main core films to have his own character arc. Even James Gunn admitted his stance on the character.

rocket raccoon
Credit: Marvel Studios

Concerning Rocket, Gunn reportedly said

“For me, he was always the secret protagonist of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. You’ve never seen Rocket in any movie not do something altruistic. He’s never done anything other than for his friends. He’s not a hero in the typical sense of the word. Telling his story was really important to me.”

Looking back, Gunn is 100% right. Everything Rocket does after he joins the guardians of the galaxy is for his friends or for the greater good. Aside from antagonizing Quill on occasion, his actions are much more heroic than some MCU fans might give him credit for. Even after the Thanos Snap, Rocket plays a huge role in the fight against the Mad titan with the surviving Avengers, giving the heroes a strong foothold even in the darkest regions of the galaxy. To say he is an essential player would be a glorious understatement.

Related: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Actor Upset With Role, Wants to Pursue Other Options

While many fans speculate that rocket will be killed off in the final guardians film, there’s a lot more evidence suggesting that he’ll survive at least long enough to have a happy ending he truly deserves. Star-Lord can go run off with Gamora or join the Nova Corps., Drax can have his blaze of glory, and Nebula can have her redemption arc, but Rocket should definitely get his well-earned victory, and hopefully come back for another adventure. If James Gunn loves him as much as he claims, fans won’t be disappointed.

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