Guardians of the Galaxy is the film franchise that has pretty much dominated the world stage as of late. The films, based off of the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, are directed by James Gunn, who has kept viewers and fans on their toes by stoking a number of juicy fan theories that have been circling around the Marvel fan-iverse (on the Internet and elsewhere).
Since the release of the first Guardians movie (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1., in 2014), it seems like people simply can’t help but speculate about undercurrents in the Guardians plot, and what future Guardians of the Galaxy movies may hold. These theories have only been stoked since the recent release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 (in May of 2017), and the announcement by Gunn that he will be writing the third GotG movie.
Here are some of the most up to date fan theories about the Guardians of the Galaxy, past, present, and future
15 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Is Just The Avengers Playing D&D
Okay, so we are all for out of this world meta-theories when it comes to fan theories (especially about magically real superhero universes), and this one is kind of the greatest.
Thought up by Tumblr user Blu, this theory postulates that the Guardians we know and love aren’t their own band of intergalactic butt kickers, but are actually just the imagined result of a Dungeons & Dragons game...played by none other than the Avengers.
Tony Stark would be Peter Quill/Star-Lord (a sarcastic ladies man with tech skills). Upon seeing the clever, elaborate backstory, Captain America would just go rogue and be a totally out there made up figure (“a genetically enhanced raccoon with a gun fetish,” AKA Rocket). The rest of the team would follow: Hawkeye wants to be a “sexy, green, alien assassin chick,” AKA Gamora; Black Window would be a “badass, tattoo-covered pro wrestler from a race that doesn’t understand metaphors,” AKA Drax; and Falcon, wanting to just go ham with the ridiculousness, would say, “I’m an eight-foot tree monster!” (you know, AKA Groot). Seems plausible...
14 'The Lego Movie' And 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Are The Same Movie
Okay, bear with me here. I know this one sounds kind of far fetched, but it’s worth a listen.
So both movies are wild rides full of pop culture references. Both are surprise box office hits starring Chris Pratt. The two main characters are ordinary boys, who enjoy listening to their favorite songs. Both of them discover ancient relics while getting angry, muscled, disgruntled cops on their tails in hot pursuit. They team up with a team of lovable, trouble-making misfits to use the relic in order to save the universe from a force of indescribable, insurmountable evil, and lastly, they're BOTH in spaceships!
Think about it. Just really think about it. The Lego Movie is just basically Guardians of the Galaxy, only in a universe where everyone is...you know...made out of Legos. I really didn’t start out all to convinced on this one, but by the end, especially if you look at them, (like, really look at them), side-by-side...well, you’ve got my vote.
13 Groot Is A God-Like Immortal
Spoiler-alert ahead, but if you’re reading this, you probably know by now that at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot—the super-tall, super-wooden tree-esque creature who is partnered with Rocket; the genetically engineered raccoon—makes a huge sacrifice in order to save the Guardians and therefore the world. However—SPOILERS—the whole gang comes out of their mess with a tiny sapling that came off of the side of Groot, which functions as a sort of baby Groot, and which will ensure that Groot lives on. This alone sort of nods toward some sort of god-like set up, but it goes deeper into the Marvel universe.
In the opening scene of Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull looks at a carving of a tree on the wall and says, “Yggdrasil, the world tree. Guardian of wisdom and fate also.” In the Thor movies, Yggdrasil is described as the tree that connects the nine realms. Yggdrasil is actually a world-tree from Norse mythology, which is what all of this is based on.
How does this connect to Groot? Well, it is established that any piece of Groot, when preserved, will generate into a living Groot, basically suggesting immortality. This theory therefore posits that Groot actually came from a piece of Yggdrasil planted in the earthly realm to be a “guardian” over the Guardians.
12 'Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2' Explains And Confirms How Groot Communicates
Speaking of Groot (come on, he's a fan favorite for a reason), it’s always a source of curiosity as to how Groot communicates. We generally don’t hear Groot say much except various permutations of his catchphrase/only line, “I am Groot.” While it does seem like most of the Guardians can’t really understand him (past some context-clue-based guesses), Rocket can totally understand him, to the point of nuanced conversation, even though all he is actually saying is, “I am Groot.” How is that?
Well, one theory says that Groot actually communicates via pheromones. This is actually closer to the way plants “communicate” to one another, and it would make sense that Rocket understands the pheromone language better since he is an animal with a heightened pheromonal detection sense. This theory gets a huge boost in a mid-credits scene in GotG 2, when the Star-Lord understands teenage Groot for the first time. Why would he be able to do that? Because teenage Groot is at the age when he produces the most pheromones, which would make him most easily understood. Bravo.
11 Stan Lee Is Uatu The Watcher
Stan Lee is pretty much the king of being a cameo actor when it comes to the Marvel universe. He has appeared in every single Marvel Comic Universe property to date, and nearly every live-action Marvel series, movie, or TV show since 1989. He also tends to pop up in DC Universe features. So people just sort of recognize him as the granddaddy of comics who keeps popping up in comic book movies.
However, this theory suggests that there’s an in-cannon reason for Lee to keep showing up everywhere, with the same face, around every superhero across multiple universes. The reason is that he is a single character in each of those appearances: namely, Uatu the Watcher. In his comic incarnation, Uatu is an alien being assigned to observe Earth and the surrounding solar system. He can also cross universes and dimensions with the ability to appear in alternate realities, exploring what would happen if different choices were made. Next time you see Stan Lee in a comic movie, know you are being watched...
10 Mantis Is Actually Ego's Daughter/Star-Lord's sister
Okay, so in Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, we meet (SPOILER ALERT) the Star-Lord’s father, Ego. We also meet a woman/creature named Mantis, who serves as his empathic servant. Mantis says that Ego found her in her larval stage on her home planet, which is how she came to travel with and serve him. However, Reddit user JMH1982 feels like there’s another, potentially way darker way that Ego came to meet Mantis.
Considering how his main drive in the film is trying to create a perfect child to help him take over the world, and considering that he came across Star-Lord’s mother and the many other women across the universe in a gambit to impregnate them with possibly the perfect child, isn’t it possible that Mantis is actually Ego’s offspring? Therefore being Star-Lord’s sister?
If you’re asking, 'why would he keep her around when he killed all those other non-light-producing/world-conquering kids?' The answer lies in her empathic ability to recharge him. It’s possible that Ego lied to her this whole time, so he could keep using her as a personal battery pack.
9 The Real Reason Mantis Changed Sides
Speaking of Mantis (who by the way has one of the saddest storylines in this whole franchise), there seems to be one idea about what made her betray her master and reveal Ego’s plan to Drax: namely, that it was a spontaneous decision made by Mantis because of her closeness and familiarity with Drax. However, there’s an even more compelling reason hidden behind the curtain here.
It lies in the scene where Drax reveals the tragic death of his family to Mantis. The memory of his his wife and daughter being slaughtered by Ronan (on Thanos’ orders) haunts Drax even when he’s already gotten his revenge on Ronan. When Mantis hears this, she places her hand on Drax’s arm to soothe him. However, as an empath, what happens is that she feels what he is feeling, the sense of immense sadness and grief a father feels when his child dies. She realizes in that moment that Ego’s total lack of caring about the death of his children is actually monstrous, and that no plan that comes from thinking like that can come to any good.
8 Ayesha's 'Adam' Will Be Adam Warlock
So, right at the end of the movie, we see a very pissed off High Priestess Ayesha (played by Elizabeth Debicki) continue to vow vengeance upon the Guardians of the Galaxy, who have evaded her grasp and generally subjugated her authority.
The High Priestess, during her general “I’m going to get those Avengers, I swear” ranting, also mentions that she has been working on a new project. She not-so-subtly then cues up something we should be on the lookout for in Guardian of the Galaxy: Volume 3, saying, “I think I shall call him Adam.” We then see a glimpse of a giant, golden incubation pod, with what looks like something humanoid inside. What will this thing be? Well, according to this theory, the “project” High Priestess Ayesha is working on will be Adam Warlock, a very powerful Marvel super-human, who will be born to Ayesha as a weapon against, you guessed it, the Guardians of the Galaxy. In the comic cannon, Adam Warlock has the ability to regenerate in a cocoon, meaning this connection is pretty darn likely.
7 Slither And 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Exist In The Same Universe
We all know Mr. James Gunn from his pivotal role in writing, directing, and bringing to life the Guardians of the Galaxy series we all know and love. However, less of us know about the film he wrote and directed before Guardians of the Galaxy was even a thing; namely, Slither.
Slither is a kind of goofy horror comedy that definitely has a whole lot of pop culture references and throw backs to '80s horror tropes. One connection between the two films (GotG and Slither) occurs when, in GotG1, the space slugs from Slither make an appearance in the Collector’s collection. But is this the only thing joining the two films? Well, one fan theory, says no. They apparently exist in the same universe.
Here’s how the connection works: In one scene in Slither, a character has one of the space slugs crash into her bathroom, enter her mouth, and implant its own memories into her brain. One of these memories is on a distant planet, definitely not Earth, where it attacks a rat-like creature and lays waste to an entire planet. The fan theorist notes that these creatures are basically identical to the Orloni, a race of creatures found in both GotG films. So it’s possible that the universe where the slugs have come to Earth (Slither) is the same universe where the Orloni exist (GotG). BAM!
6 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Is A Sequel To 'The Thing'
Okay, this one really blew my mind, so watch out, because this is some serious fan fiction ammo right here. Okay. In The Thing, an alien life-form comes to Earth with the intention of assimilating everything on the planet into it. It can take on any form it wants to, and is singularly focused on replacing all living things across the universe with versions of itself. SOUND FAMILIAR? Because that’s exactly the M.O. of Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The sequel theory goes like this: In 1982, an American research facility in Antarctica (a la The Thing) is destroyed. The only survivors (researcher Childs and pilot MacReady) are actually replicas that the alien made to look like them. The alien then plants a seed inside Peter’s mother before moving on to other planets and galaxies, and, ta da! Guardians of the Galaxy is born. In both cases, the form the alien chooses to take is Kurt Russell. Pretty trippy, right?
5 Peter Didn't Actually Lose The Powers Ego Helped Him Find
One of the big parts of Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 (once again, SPOILER ALERTS HERE, PEOPLE), is that Ego, Peter’s father, helps him discover godlike abilities, which Ego intended to use nefariously in order to take over the galaxy.
According to Ego, these powers are really only supposed to be able to work as long as Ego is alive, “as long at the light at the center of the planet is shining.” Therefore, when Peter uses his powers to battle and then destroy Ego, it is generally assumed that those powers will now be lost, and that Peter sacrificed them in his fight against his evil father.
However, according to a theory by Reddit user, CoriOreo, it’s actually possible that Peter really did not lose his powers, and that they were not, in fact, dependent on Ego to exist. CoriOreo holds that Ego was actually lying because if both Ego’s power and Peter’s power came from the same source, Peter would be useless as a secondary source of power: “if both of their powers draw from the same finite source, a second outlet doesn’t double, but halves what each of them get.” According to this theory, Peter will not actually lose his powers, and they will be re-established in the next GotG.
4 Peter Is So Attached To His Music Because It's The Only English He's Heard In 23 Years
This theory gives an interesting layer of depth to the music connection, which is one of the things that holds the whole Guardians of the Galaxy narrative together. For the uninitiated, Peter has a mixtape that his mother made for him before she died. He then finds a second mixtape at the end of GotG 1. The mixtapes provide the soundtrack for the movies and the general tenor of what’s going down. Anyway, it’s obvious that Peter is incredibly attached to his music and to those tapes (to the point where he is willing to risk his life over them), and on one level, that’s because it’s what he has left of his dead mother.
On the other hand, however, it’s possible that he’s so attached to the mixtapes because it’s the only English he’s heard in 23 years. Reddit user, DarthOtter, points out that it’s incredibly unlikely that the people in Guardians of the Galaxy are all speaking English. They appear that way to the viewer, just like movies set in Roman times also speak English (though they wouldn’t actually be). DarthOtter says that they’d likely all be speaking a different common language, which would make his mixtapes his last link to his mother's tongue.
3 Or, Peter Has Been Back To Earth Since His Abduction
This theory, by Reddit user, zakiszak, runs exactly contrary to the previous theory, but it’s still fun to think about. According to zakiszak, there’s evidence that Peter has actually been back to Earth since his abduction by Yondu. One big source of evidence is that Peter makes references to Earth culture that either happened after he was abducted, or that he would not have been aware of as a 10-year-old on Earth. Like Jackson Pollock and Pulp Fiction. This is also supported by two other points. For one, Peter has too much Earth gear on his ship for it all to have been contained in his one little kid backpack from when he was abducted. The second point is that no one actually says that Earth is an unreachable destination. The Ravagers know where Earth is, and Peter has his own spaceship capable of intergalactic travel, so why wouldn’t he have stopped by once or twice?
2 Possible Army Of Groots?
I felt like we needed a little more Groot action in this fan theory list, because who doesn’t need a little more Groot in their lives? What’s more, this theory is all about more Groot — a LOT more Groot. So, baby Groot in GotG 2 was created when adult Groot sacrificed himself to save the group and was blown apart by the spaceship that would have killed his friends. Rocket Raccoon picks up a cutting from the many pieces of Groot and pots it to grow a new Groot. But, as this theory from Uproxx asks, was that the only new Groot made from that explosion? After all, the Collector was there when Groot exploded, and could have witnessed Rocket collecting baby Groot. Wouldn’t it follow that he might have collected a bunch of Groot pieces himself...and that perhaps he is endeavoring to make an army of Groots to replenish his collection? Or by anyone else who could have been nearby and seen a Groot-building opportunity.
1 The Guardians Will Go To Earth
This has been speculated by a number of fans, as well as actually hoped for by many others. So far in the Marvel movie universe, the Avengers have had Earth as their turf, and the Guardians of the Galaxy have guarded elsewhere. However, according to this theory by The Little Hawk, just because the Guardians of the Galaxy haven’t yet come to do battle/guardianship on Earth yet doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.
With Thanos, the ultimate Marvel Universe bad guy, gaining power, it’s very possible that the Guardians of the Galaxy will team up with the Avengers to battle him as he pursues ultimate power — which may just mean coming to Earth. This would be especially cool, because it would mean Peter re-uniting with his home planet (either for the first time or for the first time in awhile, if you adhere to the 'Peter went back to Earth at some point' theory).