Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Where To Go From Here
Be warned: spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy will follow.
By this point, everyone and their mother has seen Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) and loved it (that’s not a figure of speech: even older people are loving this film). So much so, in fact, that Guardians made an astounding $94 million in its opening weekend here in the US. As anyone with even the most basic knowledge of the film industry will tell you, a financial killing like that means that we will sooner rather than later see a sequel. But we didn’t have to wait until GotG’s opening weekend to know that: Marvel Studios and director James Gunn announced that the sequel was coming before the film even released.
And who can blame them? Minor gripes aside, the movie was awesome (I feel obligated to point out that in my review, I said it was just pretty good; I’ve now seen it multiple times, and every additional time I’ve seen it, I’ve liked it even more). Now, in terms of the impending sequel, the question is this: where can we go from here?
The Guardians of the Galaxy have a treasure trove of characters, stories and continuity to take inspiration from in future films, so there is no lack of source material to adapt. Perhaps one of the biggest teases to the sequel in the first film was what almost seemed like a throwaway comment by Sean Gunn’s Kraglin, when he mentions that The Ravagers were hired to bring Star-Lord to his long-lost father. As was teased at the end of the film, Peter Quill is only half human; his mother was a human, but his father was “something ancient.” In the comics, Peter’s father, J’son, is a member of an alien race called the Spartoi. He is not some random Spartoi citizen, however: he becomes the emperor of the Spartoi Empire, making Peter the prince. Most recently, he has played an important role in Brian Michael Bendis’ insulting excuse for a continuation of the Guardians mythos, propositioning Peter to take over as emperor of the Spartoi Empire. When Peter refuses, we see that J’son is not exactly the “angel composed of pure light” that Peter’s mother said he was at the beginning of the film. I find it hard to believe that the movie would tease Peter’s father simply as a throwaway comment, so it’s a safe bet we will see more of the Spartoi Empire and J’son in Guardians 2. A storyline involving Peter rejecting his place as emperor of the Spartoi Empire and J’son responding with some sort of galactic threat would be an exciting yet feasible continuation of the Guardians’ story. Personally, I would love to see Bruce Willis as J’son, but that’s just me.
Whatever the plot of the film ends up being, it will without a doubt feature something to do with an Infinity Stone. The Infinity Stones are gems of pure power that each embody one of six different universal concepts: Power, Mind, Soul, Time, Space and Reality. When all six gems are placed into a golden glove called the Infinity Gauntlet, the wearer essentially gains omnipotence. With all signs pointing to Avengers 3 featuring Thanos assembling the stones and using the gauntlet, we don’t have too much longer for the rest of the stones to be introduced. James Gunn confirmed on his Twitter that the purple Infinity Stone in GotG was the Power stone, and we know the Tesseract (from Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers) and the Aether (from Thor: The Dark World) are also being considered Infinity Stones. Many are speculating that Loki’s staff in The Avengers may have contained the Mind stone, but there is no confirmation yet (this article from ScreenRant.com makes the most compelling argument about which stone is which that I have seen yet).
With three (possibly four) stones already introduced, that means we still have two or three left to be shown. If the Tesseract is the Space stone, the Aether is the Reality stone, Loki’s staff had the Mind stone, and the orb from GotG had the Power stone, all we have left to be introduced to are the Soul and Time stones. Chances are good that the Soul stone will be introduced in the Doctor Strange movie, so that can probably be ruled out as a possibility. The last stone, however, the Time stone, is a perfectly viable option for Guardians 2. The Guardians are no strangers to the concept of time travel, as they have had several different story arcs involving travelling through time and space. While typically an Avengers villain, the Guardians have had a run-in with Kang the Conqueror, perhaps one of the most famous time-travelling villains in comics. A sequel featuring Kang as the villain would not only be an effective introduction to the Time stone, but would be a great way to connect to the comics.
One of the main things on everyone’s mind when it comes to team-up movie sequels is what new characters will be added to the team’s roster. The Guardians may not have had a roster quite as large as the Avengers or the Justice League, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bevy of characters to call their own. In recent interviews, James Gunn has said that in the sequel, there will be a bare minimum of two female characters on the team. Of all the female Guardians, the most likely candidate to join the team would be Mantis. Mantis, referred to as the “Celestial Madonna,” is a green-skinned telepath (who sports some bitchin’ antennae) who has been a member of the Guardians since their inception. In fact, under Peter Quill’s instruction, she slightly tampered with the minds of the other members of the team to make them more apt to join. With a personality so distant and straight-laced it’s humorous and some crazy fighting skills, she would more than earn her spot on the team.
Another character already (slightly) teased is Adam Warlock. In the post-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World where Sif and Volstagg visit The Collector, we see the cocoon that houses Adam Warlock in the comics, which eagle-eyed fans will notice is again shown in GotG. James Gunn has already confirmed that this is indeed Adam’s cocoon, so whether this is simply a nod to the comics or a tease of what’s to come remains to be seen. Adam Warlock would, however, fit very well into Marvel’s upcoming Phase 3. With a Doctor Strange film coming in Phase 3 and opening the door to the mystical side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a similarly mystical character such as Adam Warlock would serve as a good bridge between the space-faring Guardians and the rest of the earth-bound MCU.
So what say you, the fans? What are your ideas for the sequel to one of Marvel’s best films? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.