In a surprising (but wonderful) move, James Gunn announced that he would be returning to both write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn just loves working with Marvel and he especially loves these characters, and in a post on Facebook, he made it clear just how excited he was to continue this relationship. It's truly awesome news, especially once you realize how rare it is for a director -- especially in the MCU -- to stick with it for an entire trilogy. In the Facebook post, Gunn offered a little tease as to what fans can expect from the Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel over the next 10 years:
Much like how the roster of the Avengers is set to change for the next few years, it seems that we can expect the exact same thing from the Guardians of the Galaxy. Phase 4 may say farewell to Star-Lord, Gamora and Drax, and introduce new cosmic characters into the fold. It sounds like these characters will be big players in a post-Avengers 4 MCU, so we've assembled a list of the cosmic Marvel heroes who we think are the most likely candidates. The cosmic side of Marvel is huge and largely untapped, but these are just nine of the heroes Marvel could do lots of fun things with.
This name should be more than familiar to Marvel fans by now. Though the Nova Corps have already been established, the MCU has yet to introduce the singular character of Nova. Best described as a space cop imbued with flight, strength, durability and energy projection, Nova has been a premiere player in the cosmic sector of Marvel Comics, having taken part in some of their most notable events (The Annihilation series, The Thanos Imperative) . A few characters have held the title of Nova, such as the classic Richard Rider and the more current teenaged Sam Alexander (seen above), both of whom would be good picks for the live-action version. Nova's inclusion in the MCU is a matter of when, not if, and there's a number of directions Marvel and James Gunn could take with the character.
Obscure, thy name is Starhawk, but James Gunn is no stranger to reaching deep into the toy chest. Starhawk is notable for being one the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the 1969 team (the most famous line-up wouldn't happen until 2008). He's a bit of an oddball, to say the least. An alien, he, along with his adoptive sister, was given his superpowers from the Hawk God, granting him precognition and the ability to manipulate light energy. Oh, he also had to share a body with his adoptive sister, who also became his wife. He's in big need of an update, but James Gunn successfully did the same thing for Yondu (Michael Rooker). For a time, Starhawk was one of the frontrunners as the identity of Peter Quill's father. His ability to see the future usually means he really only shows up when it's about to hit the fan, which can make him an interesting oracle-type figure in Phase 4.
When it came to picking who should be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Moondragon was frequently one of the top choices on everyone's list. The character has a history with the team dating back to their relaunch in 2008, but she's also been a member of the Avengers and Defenders. She's an extremely powerful telepath who was raised by alien monks who, of course, taught her martial arts. She's a little morally dubious due to her complicated and negative relationships, but she's always tried to do good, making her a compelling character. Also, she's the daughter of Drax, whose origin is SUPER different in the comics, but that element could always come into play for a movie. There's plenty to be mined from her, and her bisexuality would bring some much-needed LGBT representation to the MCU.
Bug is an interesting character in Marvel Comics, if only for his odd origins. The character was originally a part of the Micronauts toy line, and when Marvel adapted the toys into comics, they realized that through some legal wizardry that they could own the rights to certain characters themselves. Thus, Bug entered the Marvel universe. He wouldn't really factor into anything until 2007's Annihilation: Conquest, and he would then go on to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. He can cling to walls, has exceptional agility and his helmet gives him enhanced sight. James Gunn originally had the character in an early draft for the first Guardians of the Galaxy, so he already has an interest in the character. It's easy to see Bug transitioning to the big screen as a member of the new Phase 4 Guardians team.
This one's another hotly requested character to make an appearance in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Phyla-Vell has gone by many names, but whether she's going by Captain Marvel, Quasar or Martyr, this Kree warrior is pretty badass. Like many of Marvel's cosmic characters, her backstory is complicated, but the important thing to know is that she was an original member of the Guardians of the Galaxy after their big relaunch in 2008. She has the powers of flight, super-strength and energy projection, all of which are amplified big time when she's wearing the Quantum Bands. She's also mighty handy with a sword, and can more than fill the upcoming Gamora-void. Any particular version would do fine for Phase 4, but she's most likely better served on a new roster of the Guardians -- hopefully with her sometimes girlfriend, Moondragon.
Vance Astro is another blast from the past -- both figuratively and literally. Major Vance Astro was an astronaut who in 1988 volunteered to pilot the first manned interstellar mission to an alien planet. Due to limited technology, it would take centuries for him to get there, so he wore a special suit that would keep him alive during cryo-sleep. When he finally made it to the alien planet, he found out that Earth had figured out faster-than-light travel after he left and had already visited the planet, making his entire mission pointless. Ouch. Astro made good out of his situation, though, and became the leader of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, eventually wielding Captain America's shield. His backstory would need some tinkering for a movie appearance, but his weird, loser status and psychokinetic powers make him a perfect fit with the MCU Guardians. Plus, his past alternate reality self (it's complicated) is known as the hero Justice, who is a prominent member of the New Warriors, which is being adapted into a show on Freeform. Could we already be getting a version of this character?
Quasar is one of those characters who always shows up when things are about to go apocalyptic. Using the Quantum Bands, Quasar is gifted with extraordinary and near limitless power, making him a valuable asset to any super team. He has frequently allied himself with the Guardians of the Galaxy in the past and had roles in big events like Annihilation. Though several characters have become Quasar through the use of the Quantum Bands, the most well known might be Wendell Vaughn, an Earthling who was notably declined from S.H.I.E.L.D. because he lacked a killer instinct.
Now there's a very solid chance that this particular character might show up in either Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers 4, but because his role may have already gone to Vision, we may not see Adam Warlock until Phase 4. Adam Warlock is a very important character to the cosmic side of the MCU and his battles with Thanos (ever heard of him?) have resulted in some of the biggest stories of the MCU. An artificially created "perfect human," Warlock is a god-like being who seeks to protect the universe. He normally possesses the Soul Gem, which grants him a host of extra powers, and he is a key figure inInfinity Gauntlet, the main inspiration for Avengers: Infinity War. Seeing as how every character under the sun is in that movie, it'd be understandable if he didn't make the cut, but make no mistake: Adam Warlock is not to be ignored in Phase 4.
It doesn't get much more cosmic than Captain Universe. Captain Universe is not a single person, per say, but an extra-dimensional force (the Uni-Power) that chooses one host in a time of universal strife to stop an upcoming catastrophe. Most of the time this host in an ordinary earthling, but some superheroes have been chosen, like Spider-Man. Once the catastrophe is averted, the Uni-Power leaves the host until the next universe-ending event. Captain Universe is arguably one of the strongest beings in Marvel Comics, granting its chosen host with unbelievable amounts of power. Because it can choose whichever host it wants/needs to, the MCU can have a lot of fun imbuing a familiar character with that kind of power. Whatever Phase 4 will build towards, the inclusion of Captain Universe would mean serious business.