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Guardians of the Galaxy Part I: Background

Greetings fair travelers of the Perilous Realm! Today, we bring you a look into another of the upcoming slate of comic book movies. As anyone with access to the internet and/or a movie theater knows the last few years have seen a plethora of superhero movies. And the biggest player in this rapidly expanding genre is Disney-owned Marvel Studios.
Those who follow the weekly shows Random Fandom and Beer and Popcorn will already be aware that I’m not 100% sold on the way Marvel makes its movies. That said, one of the things that I greatly respect is their willingness to take risks; and none of their films is more risky than the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy.
Now, if you just said “what’s a Guardian of the Galaxy?” you have just demonstrated one of the major reasons why this movie is such a risk. Outside of comic book fans, very few people have even heard of them, much less know anything about this particular team of heroes. Even amongst comic fans they are somewhat second or even third tier. So, before we talk about the upcoming movie, let’s get a little background shall we?


The team actually got its start way back in the sixties. Set in the 31st century, the team consisted of a group of aliens who were the last of their respected races and banded together to fight the Badoon, another race that went about conquering numerous worlds. The team was lead by Vance Astro, a human with telekinetic powers who also wielded a certain star-spangled shield. Through the weird vagaries of comics, Vance Astro also turned out to be an alternate future version of Vance Astrovik, also known as Marvel Boy/Justice of the New Warriors books which was was popular at the same time as the Guardians’ own stand alone title in the mid-to-late 1990’s.  Amongst their many adventures, the Guardians hung with Thor, the future Ghost Rider and time-traveled to the present day to join the Avengers in battling a super powered psycho named Michael Korvac. You might want to remember that last part for the second article.

In any case, that title was cancelled after 62 issues and relaunched years later with a completely different team, this time formed by a character who goes by the name Star-Lord in the aftermath of a clash between the alien races of the Phalanx and the Kree with the intention of preventing those sorts of cosmic cataclysms. A couple of important points are that the team still finds itself flying around in deep space but seems to be mostly contemporary with present day events. Another important thing to remember here is that one of the villains they’ve done battle with is none other than Thanos, that purple-faced cameo from the Avengers movie.

The connection between that team and the more recent version is somewhat tenuous and contrived but interesting.  Apparently the new team found a frozen Vance Astro who introduces himself as the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Lord and the rest like the name.  A bit cheesy but the the parallel with Captain America’s origin is interesting. Whether that will come into play at any point is completely unknown but if Marvel adds a little time travel flavor to their films it could happen at some point.

The current Marvel NOW! (Marvel’s response to DC’s New 52 reboot) team consists of Star Lord, Groot, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Racoon and…Iron Man. Yes, Iron Man is apparently the new Wolverine and can be in a minimum of three titles a month.  Seriously, when do these people sleep? Or shower? But I digress.

Thanos in the Avengers
Thanos in the Avengers

For our purposes here it is obviously the NOW! team that we should be most concerned with. So, who are these characters?

Star-Lord is actually a half-human, half-alien named Peter Quill who somehow or another (the origin story as related by wikipedia seems incomplete) winds up in deep space as a sort of intergalactic cop.

Drax the Destroyer is another difficult character to sum up. His soul is apparently human but has been placed in an alien body, a super-powered body with strength to rival the Hulk, plus the ability to fly and shoot nifty energy things from his hands. He has actually even managed to kill Thanos (who has apparently died plenty of times so no big deal really).

Groot is an alien sentient plant monster who has possibly died and resurrected more times than Jean Grey.

Gamora is the last of her species and was raised by Thanos to be the deadliest woman in the galaxy. She is cyberneticaly enhanced and trained in numerous martial arts. Apparently being raised by Thanos didn’t completely kill her conscience as she does eventually rebel.

And then we have Rocket Raccoon. Now, if you thought the others were out there…how about a raccoon genetically engineered to be a master of hand-to-hand combat, proficient in many weapons, a massive attitude problem and a penchant for flirting with the ladies?

We’re not going to worry about Iron Man here as we already know him from the movies and he won’t be a member of the team in the film.  Although a guest spot is not out of the question.  But more on that in part two.

So, as you can see, this is definitely the strangest batch of characters that has appeared in any major movie released…probably ever. Just how does Marvel plan on pulling this off? Stay tuned as next time we’ll look at the casting, comments and rumors surrounding the movie and see what they tell us about what to expect when it his theaters in August of next year.

About thefairytaletraveler

Catholic father of five and life-long nerd, theviking began nerd life as a socially awkward Star Wars fan who then branched out into comics thanks a boring summer vacation. These days, he reads most anything, watches a number of nerdy shows, plays with his kids, works as a proofreader for the fine folks at Grail Quest Books and volunteers at his parish and kids' school.


  1. Great report, Viking! I look forward to reading more!

  2. Keep up the great work Viking!