Marvel has had its fair share of hits, to say the very least. Launching itself into the stratosphere with 2008’s Iron Man, the studio has crafted a powerful and exotic cinematic universe for its fans to delve into. Despite their roster of Asgardian gods and super-soldiers, the company well and truly took a gamble on James Gunn‘s space adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy. Featuring, amongst other fun characters, a sentient tree and a gun-toting raccoon, it was truly a push into the unknown, both cosmically and tonally. And yet here we are, three years later, with the second in the series having not long hit theatres to roars of applause and a trove of box office earnings. And, already, it has us hungering for its third instalment. But what should Gunn and our Guardians explore next? Well…
6. Adam Warlock
Depending on your knowledge of Marvel lore, you may not know much about the titular Adam, also known as Him and Adam Warlock. While his history in print does cross over with the Guardians, his origins differ vastly from his film counterpart. He first featured in Guardians of the Galaxy as a cheeky Easter Egg, visible in the form of a large cocoon in possession of the Collector, portrayed by the oddly charismatic Benicio Del Toro. In the comics, Adam gestates in a similar fashion after being created by a group of Earth scientists known as the Enclave. This set the Internet communities alight with speculation, with many theorising that he would appear in the second film.
While he failed to make a direct appearance again, a new and much more striking cocoon appeared in a post-credits sequence in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. Ayesha, queen of the gold-skinned people known as the Sovereign, is seen to be furious at her defeat at the hands of our…let’s call them heroes. She croons over a large vessel, discussing how he will be unstoppable. However, it is her last few words that set the Net on fire: “I shall call him Adam.”
Why is this Adam such a big deal? Well, as you may have noticed from the picture, he is capable of wielding the incredibly dangerous Infinity Gauntlet. As you know, this is what the Mad Titan Thanos is trying to assemble, the big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it stands. This would make him a foil to the purple madman, as well as naturally setting the two up into a natural conflict. And not to mention his wide array of abilities which include, but are in no way limited to, superhuman strength, speed, flight, advanced healing and manipulation of cosmic energy.
With Infinity War broadening the scale of the MCU, and the third movie of the Guardians series due to appear after the two Infinity films, his inclusion not only makes sense but seems almost mandatory to tie the whole affair together.
5. A New And Improved Groot
Right, before you start screaming: it’s common knowledge that everybody loves Groot, in all his forms. If baby Groot doesn’t just melt your heart, you’re colder than the vacuum of space. Having said that, however, character growth, in this tree’s case a literal affair, is necessary to keep any character fresh and interesting. In the first film, we got to know him as the loving, emotional centre of the Guardian gang. After heroically sacrificing himself to save his newfound family, he came back in the form a slender little twiglette, dancing away to the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”.
The second volume launches off with a more toddler-like Groot, rebellious and cheeky, as well as mentally undeveloped. We get to see this in his total misunderstanding of instructions, almost resulting in a premature explosion that would have wiped out our favourite space-farers. Finally, there is one of several post-credit sequences that show a teenage Groot, complete with fringe, messy room and terrible attitude, giving Quill a grumpy glare. These are sides of the mostly-gentle giant that we may never see again. And that is why it would be a horrible decision to allow him to regrow into a carbon copy of the original alien.
Most depictions of Groot have him as a huge, hulking creature with a somewhat more hostile attitude. I understand that he made a great companion to the hostile and explosive Rocket but with the fuzzy gunman becoming a little softer and more well-rounded, this is the perfect time to break out the true beast beneath the bark. We deserve a more relatable and physically imposing Groot, with a more complex and diverse personality. It just wouldn’t make sense to return to the beginning.
4. Shake Up The Cast
Line-ups. Everybody loves them, until they have to change. Time ticks on, actors age and will eventually need replacing. It’s not been long since we said goodbye to our favourite adamantium-coated hero, and anybody who has seen Logan will testify that it was truly, undeniably traumatic. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is ever-expanding and simply thick with characters to choose from, some of which are primed to carry the torch for some of our more…aged heroes. Chris Evans’ contract is coming to a close, Robert Downey Jnr is approaching the twilight of his Iron Man years. Time takes us all. But that isn’t why I think we should shake up the Guardians. No, it’s so much more than that.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, we see four outcasts reluctantly come together to save a galaxy that shuns them and ultimately gain a family from their struggle. Their second outing shows their growing pains, as well as expanding other characters and adding new ones into their ranks, such as the empath Mantis. It’s fun to watch, as well as incredibly rewarding. Their third forage should show a near-completed group, working in unison, practically perfect. And then, as the climax arrives, have them pass the responsibility on to a fresh and unprepared group of new Guardians.
It wouldn’t be the first time we haven’t seen what is now considered the usual line-up, at least not in the comics. We’ve seen our favourite renegades work alongside Iron Man, Agent Venom, Nova and Captain Marvel, to rattle off but a few. While I’m not saying these should be the new Guardians, there’s clear precedent for the original members chopping, changing and collaborating and that’s something that would bring more flavour and diversity to the already stellar cast.
3. Show Us The Celestials
The Celestials are a group of cosmically powerful beings, with their origin story varying from species to species. None of these, however, have been validated. What is know is that they are responsible for shaping the Marvel Universe as we now know it. They’re gods (with a small g, as Ego would say) who have watched over all reality, and are even responsible for mutants, as they tinkered with Mankind’s genetic code. Naturally, this would tie them in quite well to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially considering that the third Guardians of the Galaxy film will take place after the two part Infinity War. Those films will have set up a more grandiose stage, where such beings would seem to fit on more naturally. Not to mention that Gunn’s series is comfortable with tackling larger, more out-there concepts.
Of course, we’ve already seen them make a few references in the Guardians franchise. The location that the Guardians visit while in possession of the mysterious Orb in the first film is Knowhere, the head of an ancient species. For those who know of the Celestials, this is a very clear nod to the cosmic beings. Once inside and covering the origins of the Infinity Stones with the Collector, the footage we’re treated to very clearly shows a Celestial using the Power Stone to ravage an entire planet. It seems clear from these two solid connections that Gunn was already putting some pieces into play.
In Vol.2, Star-Lord’s father, Ego the Living Planet, refers to himself both as a god and a Celestial. This lines up with what we know of them, as he is both near-timeless and incredibly powerful. Not only does this confirm their existence, it holds massive implications for Quill and how he could potentially interact with other Celestials, whose blood he shares. Speaking of character development…
2. Continue Expanding Characters
Nobody can question that the characters are what makes the Guardians of the Galaxy so loveable. Each feels like a real person, which is a tricky thing to pull off when those ‘people’ include a raccoon, a tree and a lady with antennae. And although the latter hasn’t had as much development time, Mantis already shows enough potential to be an excellent addition. Not to mention that her backstory is quietly tragic, as well as having room to expand upon.
That is what Vol.3 has the potential to bring to the table. Not only Mantis’ backstory, but many other characters. We’ve already learned that Yondu essentially saved Peter’s life, as well as secretly masquerading as Mary Poppins, as well as Star-Lord’s heritage. Let’s not stop the bus there, though. We should learn more about Drax and his tragic past, or Gamora’s childhood under the eyes of the Mad Titan. Or, and this is one that really has had very little attention, Rocket’s mutilation. Why was he made like he was? By who? Did they really visit Earth, and a single raccoon is all they brought back?
The point stands that we know these characters so well, and yet still stand to understand them to an even more personal degree. It would only make sense that as they become more and more close-knit, they would open up and share their experiences. Even the tight-lipped Rocket.
1. True Consequences
Consequences are, generally speaking, something that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a fleeting relationship with. This is especially present with death, with any popular, marketable character finding some way to come back from the great beyond. Loki, Agent Coulson and Nick Fury have all brushed off death like it were a cold, and some fans have found it incredibly frustrating. In a similar vein, many of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have found that their adventures have no major impact on the overall narrative universe. The true exceptions to this are, of course, the Avengers films. Only with those do we see everything change for the start of the new phase of films.
As it currently stands, the Guardians of the Galaxy films have almost no connection to the events unfolding on Earth. In saying that, their actions would have massive repercussions the galaxy over. Wouldn’t Thor know of these madmen saving all of existence? Doctor Strange then, surely? No? They saved the galaxy by wielding an Infinity Stone, and then took down a deranged Celestial, both worthy feats. And yet they are not especially well-renowned, something which doesn’t make much sense.
For their actions, there must be visible reactions and consequences. Thanos knows his daughters have actively betrayed him, and are partnered with a Celestial hybrid. He knows they last had the Power Stone, but has sent nobody to force its location from them. The third film could do with capitalising on these shifts and at least explain, if not directly use, these facts to craft a stronger film and cinematic universe.
It is these six main factors that could create a truly phenomenal third chapter to a great series of films, but that’s just our opinion. Do you agree with these points, or do you have some thoughts of your own? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!