Marvel and Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is rocketing to big numbers at the Friday box office for a domestic opening in the $140 million-$150 million range, well ahead of the first movie, according to early returns.
On Thursday night alone, the quirky superhero sequel nabbed $17 million in previews, compared to $11.2 million for Guardians of the Galaxy in August 2014. Guardians of the Galaxy — a surprise hit considering it features a rag-tag group of lessor-known superheroes — opened to a strong $94.3 million on its way to grossing $773 million globally.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 officially kicks off the summer season at the box office. This is the fifth year in a row that a Marvel tentpole has done so.
With James Gunn once again directing, Guardians Vol. 2 sees the return of Chris Pratt as Star Lord/Peter Quill, who brings his team back together to fight off evil forces while he seeks to unravel the mystery of his parentage. Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan star along with Vin Diesel as the voice of baby Groot and Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket. Elizabeth Debicki, Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone join the cast for the new installment.
Overseas, Guardians Vol. 2 opened last weekend in a raft of foreign territories, where it is well ahead of the first film. Through Thursday, it has amassed an impressive $167 million. (It debuts in China today.)
The film debuted in Korea on May 3 with a $3.3 million opening day ($4.4 million including previews) for the biggest opening day of 2017, the biggest May opening day and the No. 3 opening day ever for an MCU release there. Thursday brought another $1.9M, which brings the cume to date to $6.3M, with today being Children’s Day holiday.
It opened on May 4 in Russia with an estimated $2.8 million, 41 percent ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy.
|Courtesy of Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is a crazy disco gunfight of joy
It's hard for the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel to live up to its predecessor because the first film was a genuine surprise. Nobody expected it to be so weirdly great, nor so appealing to a broad audience. You can't ever re-experience that feeling of unanticipated delight. But you can fall for the characters' bozo chemistry again, and you can revel in their deepening bonds as they deal with challenges so loopy that they cross over into genuine WTF insanity. What I'm saying is even if you can't recreate love at first sight with this franchise, its sequel will make you really damn glad that you decided to hook up in the first place.
The action picks up pretty much where it left off in the last movie. Our misfit gang is now officially known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, and they're working as heroes for hire. Of course, they're still ruffians at heart, and Rocket Raccoon just can't stop himself from stealing stuff even when he's supposed to be saving the day. Right after defending a civilization of gold-skinned, eugenics-obsessed classic video gamers (don't ask—you'll see what I mean), Rocket decides it would be a great idea to steal some of their stuff. And so the giving-you-a-medal scene turns into a crazy, cross-galaxy getaway chase.
That's literally just the beginning.
Unlike your typical superhero flick, Guardians 2 isn't really about some Big Bad who must be stopped or some Terrible Thing that our heroes must escape. Sure, they're on a quest to save the galaxy, but that story is ultimately part of the rainbow-colored backdrop. What's in focus are our characters and what their relationships to each other really mean. In a way, the entire structure of the film is encapsulated in the opening action scene: Peter, Gamora, Rocket, and Drax fight a giant squid tooth thing in the background while Baby Groot dances to music in the foreground, just barely escaping tentacled death as he wriggles happily and waves. This childlike creature—later dubbed "too adorable to kill" by one of the bad guys—is just as important as how Gamora will use her sword on the ultrabeast.
The families we choose
The first Guardians film touched on the idea that our heroes have become a weird kind of family, and now that idea is central to the story. Peter is torn between his chosen family of misfits and his biological father, Ego (Kurt Russell, basically playing himself in a cinematic victory lap), who has finally shown up after all these years. Ego is a godlike entity whose true body is a planet with a brain in the middle, but he can take human form to do things like knock up cute ladies on Earth.
Should Peter become an immortal, omnipotent planet like his dad, or keep adventuring with a gang of aliens, a sentient tree, and a very angry cybermammal? That I can ask such a question is part of this movie's oddball appeal. But the fact that I actually felt emotionally torn while watching, and even cried a couple of times, is testimony to writer/director James Gunn's unequalled ability to draw real humanity out of a story that could easily have been a bunch of empty effects sequences.
All the major characters in Guardians 2 have family traumas that need resolving. Peter was abandoned by Ego and then kidnapped by Yondu; Gamora and Nebula were physically and psychologically abused by Thanos; Rocket was enslaved and modified by evil techies; Groot is his own parent, which seems like a lonely thing. Drax is a kindly father who lost his family. Even Yondu admits at one point that all his problems stem from the moment his family sold him into slavery. As the film unfolds, we can see how these characters fit together not because one is strong and one is smart and one is good with weapons. They are all damaged in ways that fit together; they can forgive each other's outrageous transgressions because they have each seen so much horror that they don't turn away love even when it comes in a very spiky package.
At one point, Peter worries about whether to trust Ego, and Gamora turns to him, holds his hands, and looks deeply into his eyes. "If he turns out to be evil," she says, "we'll kill him." It's a funny line. And yet it's also profoundly moving because it's the only kind of care that the Guardians can show for each other and really mean it.
I found myself comparing Guardians 2 with Avengers 2, and realizing all the emotional beats I wanted in the latter were fulfilled in unexpected ways by the former. It's hard to identify with the Avengers because they are all so physically perfect and have access to tons of money. Other than Hulk, they manage to keep their emotional messes mostly on the inside. But the Guardians feel more like real people, trying to make their way through the galaxy despite looking like trash pandas and plants and blue-faced cyborgs and fumbling dorks. Despite bearing the lifelong scars of fathers who jammed metal inside their brains or abandoned them. It's easy to identify with the Guardians' family because it's nothing like what a family is supposed to be. After all, the one rule of real-life families is that they never, ever behave like the idealized ones in Hallmark cards.
Rainbow sparkle action
That's a lot of profound crap to be thinking about while Rocket electrifies Ravager gangs and Yondu uses his mind-control missile in new and astonishing ways. But that's what director Gunn has been doing since his indie movie days. If you want to see a truly twisted yet emotionally nuanced superhero movie, watch Gunn's pre-Guardians movie Super. Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page star as regular people who decide to become heroes by killing people with a wrench and a hammer. Right alongside the gore and insanity, there's a tale of two fragile people finding sanctuary in each other. You can see traces of that film in Guardians 2, where love is expressed through insults and loyalty is building bombs together.
It helps that Gunn has assembled a cast that works brilliantly together. Chris Pratt has great comic timing as dorky-handsome hero Peter, Zoe Saldana continues to be steely and funny as Gamora, and Karen Gillan gets to show off her sarcastic side as Nebula, Gamora's wrathful sister. I remain astonished that Vin Diesel can inject so much variation into Groot's single line of dialogue (Groot gets even better in one of five post-credit sequences, which I won't spoil for you). Dave Bautista is still hilarious as Drax, and Bradley Cooper steals the show as Rocket, who finally realizes that his dickishness is a defense mechanism because he cares so much. Actually, you know what? Maybe it's Michael Rooker who steals the show as Yondu, who grows as a character in ways I was totally not expecting.
The visuals are even more astonishing and trippy than in the first Guardians movie. You already know that the music is going to be a delightful cheesefest, and it works perfectly with the nacreous sparkleworlds we visit. Rarely does violence look as cute and boppy and rainbowtastic as it does in Guardians 2. I'm a 3D hater, but I saw this one in 3-D IMAX and it was worth it.
If there's anything wrong with this movie or its cast, I'm afraid to say it's Kurt Russell. I love me some Snake Plissken as much as the next '80s kid, but Ego feels very one-note. Unlike pretty much every other character in the movie—including the bad guys—he never has any funny lines or zany bits. Of course he's supposed to be a grandiose egomaniac (duh), but that doesn't mean his whole part of the film has to be draggy and ponderous. He does a lot of unnecessary infodumping, and even his evil moments feel kind of blah. We get more snap and pizzaz in the brief cameo from David Hasselhoff than we do out of 15 minutes of Ego.
Still, the film overall is both a visual treat and surprisingly thoughtful adventure. It's about accepting your friends for who they really are and forming family where you find it. Oh and also? It's about blowing stuff up. Lots and lots of stuff. And exploding. And fire. Yeah, it's about fire, too.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Every Easter Egg You Missed
When it comes to comic book movie Easter Eggs, James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a high bar to meet. The first film threw almost as much secret or hidden story beats, reveals, and Marvel connections as the ones that formed the plot and cast, and the sequel is no different. But this time around, the loving touches fans won’t want to miss aren’t all to promise what’s coming… but to pay tribute to what, and who was lost.
There are still a variety of small details, loving throwbacks, and bombshells dropped about what comes next in the cosmic side of the MCU – not to mention all the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 post-credits scenes – but whether you’re a die-hard comic book movie fan, or just a lover of Star-Lord, Rocket, and the gang, we’ve got you covered.
36. STAR-LORD’S NEW GEAR
The nostalgia that came from Star-Lord’s signature Sony Walkman was hard to match, but another relic is sure to get as many laughs in just a single shot. We’re referring here to the handheld device Peter uses to warn his teammates that the Abilisk is approaching the Sovereign batteries (the grotesque cosmic space beast that they’re there to kill). It may be taken by some as just a standard piece of 1980s tech, but will be unmistakable to older video game fans as the handheld version of Mattel Football. With some noticeable upgrades, obviously.
For starters, the top screen seems to have been… updated, no longer three rows of lights signifying the ‘players,’ but an actual, functioning radar detecting his friendlies (the green triangles) and the approaching foe. We have to admit that this is a more intelligent bit of nostalgic functionality than Peter Quill would normally be credited with. Radar comes in handy, sure. But to keep it compacted inside a 1977 handheld video game… pure genius. Although the actual machinery under his thumb did have to replace the Status and Score buttons.
35. THE ORLONI ARE EVERYWHERE
Marvel fans may be more interested in the antics and escapades of the heroes than the local wildlife, but James Gunn and his effects team have made one thing clear: in the cosmos of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Orloni rule the ground level. In case some have forgotten, the Orloni are the small, bipedal pests that resemble a cross between an Earth rat, a frog, and some kind of small dinosaur. They made their debut in the first Guardians, planning an attack on Star-Lord before being caught in his hand and used as an impromptu microphone (as well as being kicked across the cave during his dance sequence).
The impression that they were native to that planet alone was eradicated when Orloni were shown in a betting game on Knowhere (where the last alive wins). But in Guardians Vol. 2, the Orloni prove they’re even more widespread than our planet’s pests, spotted among the Sovereign as Groot rides on during the opening sequence, and somehow finding its way aboard the Ravagers’ Eclector, allowing Groot to fetch it for Rocket and Yondu (with the former finally uttering their name in the films themselves).
34. CONFIRMED: DRAX HATES DANCING
Few will ever forget the first mid-credits button scene from the first Guardians, in which the sprouting Groot learned to love Earth music as much as Peter Quill – specifically, grooving to the tunes of the Jackson Five. At the time, one glance from Drax was all it took to freeze Groot in place, apparently not wishing to be seen dancing. The sequel offers a partial explanation since Drax outright states he does not dance, and seems to value those who resist any possible urge, as well.
It would seem Groot is intent on winning Drax’s affections, as he once again masks his dancing during Vol. 2‘s opening fight/dance/title sequence when Drax turns his attention to the now Baby Groot. It’s a nice callback to the original movie, but since Drax’s explanation of his views on dancing only come later, audience members may forget to apply the new context to the moment. Added to Groot’s snuggling up to Drax in the film’s final scene, it appears Groot may be seeking his musclebound murderer’s approval above everyone else’s.
To say that the film’s secondary antagonist is a bit… grandiose would be an understatement. When introduced, the gold woman sitting in a gold throne before her gold people wastes no time, explaining that her people (the Sovereign) are perfection, that she is perfection among them, and that their civilization has been engineered for exactly that purpose. The film itself doesn’t give much backstory or insight into this woman’s existence or motivations, but her name is enough for Marvel Comics fans to see where the film is headed before it gets there. She is Ayesha. And for the larger world of Marvel’s Cosmic characters, she’s a biggie.
Now, the Sovereign and Ayesha’s place as a monarch or leader is something new for the films (giving off strong vibes of Marvel’s ‘Universal Church of Truth’). In the comics, Ayesha was created, as she says, to be the perfect specimen of life by a group on Earth known as The Enclave. Going by the name of simply ‘Her’, Ayesha, or later ‘Kismet’, her life was strongly tied to another Marvel icon pointed to by several Marvel directors already. Primarily because she was actually The Enclave’s second attempt at perfection in the comics. Their first attempt? He’s known as ‘Him’… or Adam Warlock. More on that later.
32. THE SOVEREIGN MUST LOVE ARCADES
The decision to build the Sovereign armada out of remote-piloted drones is a clever way of keeping the body count down, while making sense in the film’s mythology (perfect creatures wouldn’t risk their lives flying ships themselves). But it also allows for one of the longest extended gags of the movie, with the similarities between the combat of this ‘perfected’ civilization to bear a strong resemblance to teenagers wasting hours at a local video arcade. From the moment the sound effects of the ships are revealed, it’s clear the arcades of the 1980s are the most direct influence on the look and sounds.
We’ve yet to pinpoint the exact source of the gunfire sounds as presented for the Sovereign pilots, or the small tune played when one of their ships is destroyed (leading them to angrily shake their fists like they’ve finally run out of quarters). And as Zylak becomes the squadron’s last remaining chance to take down the Milano, the group of pilots who gather around his station, cheering him on – before quickly dismissing him when he, too, loses – will ring true for any viewer who lived out the same brush with heroism before handing the controls over to the next player.
31. THE PLANET BERHERT
As the Guardians are fleeing from the Sovereign forces (and arguing over who is the superior pilot, Star-Lord or Rocket), Gamora notes that a nearby planet can be jumped to for safety. That planet is simply referred to as “Berhert,” and if you miss her naming it amidst the combat, there’s a chance to see it once again when the ship crashes the Milano onto its surface. The name appears with a string of coordinates before the settling Milano smashes the information out of view. For Marvel fans, it’s no ordinary planet.
In the film, Berhert appears to be largely uninhabited (at least in the forested area that the Guardians are restricted to before being captured by the Ravagers) . Yet the planet has strong ties to the Marvel Universe, first appearing in The Incredible Hulk #111 (1969). It’s home to the Sagittarians, a race of people thrust into a Hulk-centered conflict with the Galaxy Master involving their leader, Princess Daydra. No such luck in the Marvel Cinematic version, but a nice easter egg for fans, all the same.
30. STAR-LORD’S SHIRT DECIPHERED
Star-Lord’s jacket may be his signature costume, but a new shirt is likely to steal some of the spotlight in Vol. 2. The shirt’s graphic appears at first to be some sort of Asian-influenced alien script, along with a pair of molecules surrounded by writing of their own. Since this is Guardians we’re talking about, it was only a matter of time until fans cracked the code. Since the letters matched those used in the first film’s Kyln Prison – dubbed “Klyn” by the designers at Territory Studios – one Reddit user quickly deciphered the space brand as “GEARS SHIFT.”
Chris Pratt and Gunn had commented during the early marketing that the shirt wasn’t a grand mystery, just a piece of advertising common in the galaxy, but it’s hard to know exactly what it’s selling. The other words on the attached molecules read “dust, cement, stone, and ash” with the bottom subtitle reading “A TenEyck Galaxy Invention.” Enter that name into Google, and you’ll notice that Karen Teneyck, a graphic designer in the Art Department for Captain America: The First Avenger, among other films, returned tolend her talents to the wardrobe department on Vol.2.
29. THE PLANET CONTRAXIA
As Peter and his Guardians are trying their luck against the Sovereign’s patience, and crashing on a remote planet, the action shifts to the other cast of characters from the first film. Specifically, Yondu and the Ravagers, shown to be taking in some recreation befitting their character on the planet Contraxia. Despite the planet’s now, it looks to be a neon-fueled den of vices and alcohol, and a brothel populated by ‘Robot Courtesans.’ Which isn’t exactly the way it’s portrayed in the Marvel Comics Universe.
In the comics, Contraxia is really best known as the homeworld of Marie, the mother of the Marvel hero Jack of Hearts. Contraxians searched for a solution to their dying sun, and when an Earth scientist came up with a possible free energy dubbed Zero Fluid, Marie went to Earth in human form, and married the scientist. She was eventually killed in an accident, leaving their son, Jack Hart, to be doused in his father’s chemicals and imbued with spacefaring powers of energy manipulation. Don’t hold your breath for a big screen adaptation of that story.
28. TOMMY FLANAGAN AS TULLK
It’s on Contraxia that Yondu is called into the street by the newest member of the Ravager cast: actor Tommy Flanaga, playing one of the criminal gang known as ‘Tullk.’ His character doesn’t play too large a part in the events of the film, but does become the (frozen) face of the Ravager mutiny led by Taserface. The name is an easter egg on its own, since “Tullk” isn’t all that common – and belongs to an existing bounty hunter/mercenary in the Marvel Universe. Granted, there’s little resemblance.
Tullk made his debut in the Marvel Universe as part of the modern Annihilation storyline, working for Ronan the Accuser – the villain used for the previous Guardians film. So even if Tullk’s introduction to the MCU may be later than most would have expected, and he’s hardly the lumpy, green-skinned alien bounty hunter you would expect him to be… well, it’s just one more wink to the fans for those interested enough to investigate.
27. HOWARD THE DUCK MAKES ANOTHER APPEARANCE
It was the moment that elated countless scores of Marvel fans waiting to see what secrets lay beyond the credits of the first Guardians of the Galaxy… while others sat wondering why a humanoid duck, in a suit, drinking a tropical cocktail meant, well, anything. Soon every movie fan was reminded of the comic book series Howard The Duck, and the live-action adaptation of the story that director James Gunn openly hates. But as a fan of the source material, it only seemed right for Howard to also earn the affection of the Collector.
Apparently, the Collector didn’t attempt to reassemble his collection after it was destroyed or broken wide open by an Infinity Stone in the previous movie. Howard is enjoying the free life once more on Contraxia, with Seth Green returning to voice the character as he continues to drink and regale anyone who will listen with stories and sage advice. In this case, he’s entertaining actress Molly Quinn, credited as simply “Howard’s Date.”
26. STALLONE IS STARHAWK
The secret got out fast that Sylvester Stallone was playing Stakar Ogord, better known to the comic book world as Starhawk. In the original incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Starhawk was just one of many cosmic heroes claiming the Guardians name, operating as pseudo-stand-ins for other Marvel characters (or tropes) in the far-off future of the 31st Century. Marvel went with the modern version of the team that came years later when it came time to join the MCU, but Guardians Vol. 2 gives the original Guardians new life – beginning with Starhawk.
The character is revealed first when Yondu refers to him as “Stakar,” but audiences soon learn that he is one of the original, or elite members of the Ravagers, not the Guardians (it’s a little unclear, since Stakar implies there could be as many as 100 Ravager faction leaders). Yondu and Starhawk were partners in the original version of the team, so the exile is something new. An although Stakar remains in his human form this time around, there’s reason to hope for a more full-powered transformation.
Either way, the two ribbons of metal and light from the comic book costume are carried over to film, spreading out over top of Stakar’s shoulders, as opposed to his head.
25. MICHAEL ROSENBAUM IS MARTINEX
James Gunn’s efforts to bring the original Guardians of the Galaxy roster to the MCU go to full speed in the post-credits sequences, but start earlier than many will realize. When Stakar is telling Yondu that his exile brings the Ravager leader no satisfaction, he’s flanked by one a fellow Ravager with only his head and neck visible – formed not out of flesh, but hard, diamond-like crystal. Given that, it’s hard to notice that the actor beneath those effects is Michael Rosenbaum.
Rumors had swirled around the part that Rosenbaum, a friend of director James Gunn might have cameo’ed for in Vol. 2, – having originally read for the part of Star-Lord – but the answer is obviously Martinex. In the comics, Martinex T’Naga was a descendant of human ancestors on the planet– sorry, former planet Pluto, explaining his crystalline skin and ability to project hot and cold from each hand. The Pluvians were wiped out, leaving him as the sole survivor, teaming up with other outcasts to form the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
24. THE LONE CELESTIAL?
When explaining how he came to exist as both a planet and a man, Ego begins by describing his birth as suddenly becoming aware that he was a brain floating in the blackness of space (a symbol that later proves to be completely literal). Over millions of years he became a planet, and later a being capable of travel – all thanks to the fact that he was an immortal being, known as a “Celestial.” It’s a fitting name, since he was born of the cosmos itself… but the idea that he is truly alone in his Celestial existence goes somewhat against Marvel mythology.
It may be that the MCU is defining Ego as truly the sole Celestial ever encountered, but in the previous film, another can be glimpsed. It’s during the Collector’s holographic explanation of the Infinity Stones, showing the ability of the Power Stone to eradicate all life on an entire planet. The stone is shown glowing bright purple in the staff of a colossal being – designed as almost a dead ringer for Eson the Searcher, one of several Celestials in the world of Marvel Comics.
That being said, Ego was simply… well, a living planet in the comics, and not distinguished as a Celestial at all. So it’s possible the Eson easter egg is just a nod to fans, and in the MCU, only Ego is defined as a true Celestial… so far.
23. ROCKET FINALLY GETS HIS EYE
There’s callbacks aplenty in Vol. 2, particularly noticable to fans who rewatch the first film before taking in the sequel. Chief among them is the prize retrieved by Groot and returned to Rocket and Yondu. Despite the prototype fin Yondu seeks to regain control over his arrow being the real goal, Groot has some troubles with the translation. And when he brings a prosthetic, robotic eyeball to the pair’s cell – distinguished by Yondu as “Vorker’s eye” – Rocket decides that keeping it is the best course of action, since the Ravager will wake up to find that he can’t find his eye. The jokes write themselves.
It’s a reference to the first movie, when Rocket attempted to play that joke himself. As he broke down the plan that the Guardians and the Ravagers would launch to take down Ronan and save Xandar, he ended his speech by claiming that one Ravager’s robotic eye would be needed to make it work. Star-Lord soon cleared it up, claiming that was just a joke – itself a callback to Rocket demanding an artificial leg to break out of the Kyln. The sequel may have cut one of Guardians of the Galaxy 2‘s deleted post-credits scenes, so we’re happy at least on more Ravager got an extra laugh.
22. YONDU COMPLETES HIS LOOK
Speaking of that prototype fin… it’s a far more regal replacement than the low, blockier mohawk sported by Yondu in the original movie. At the time, the subtle mohawk was explained as a re-imagining of his comic book counterpart. It was shorter than Yondu’s ostentatious, massive head fin from the Guardians comics, but all in the name of fitting the more grounded, or at least less glamorous life of a scavengers and mercenary. That, and it also glowed to show how Yondu could control his arrow telepathically, guided by whistles (and his heart).
The sequel saw Yondu shuffled out of the living universe, but director James Gunn made sure to give him his true fin in all its glory before that. It’s fitting, too. As Yondu truly joins the ranks of the Guardians of the Galaxy and embraces a righteous path, only then is he granted to proud, powerful fin that was reserved for the hero of Marvel Comics. Perhaps more poetic than the usual costume upgrades sequels tend to bring. And just as effective at creating Ravager kebabs.
21. THE TRUTH OF STAN LEE’S CAMEOS
Marvel fans have enjoyed the always-unexpected appearances from legendary comic creator Stan Lee for years, across studios, universes, and even historical eras. Playing everyday schmoes or high-ranking officials, Lee’s omnipresence has even led fans to theorize that Stan Lee is actually Uatu the Watcher, the member of an ancient race of observers charged with keeping up to the minute on all happenings on the planet Earth. Guardians 2 settles this question once and for all, but stops short of revealing Lee as Uatu himself.
As Rocket and Yondu make their sequence of jumps across space towards Ego, they fly past Stan Lee in a spacesuit, sharing his experiences on Earth to a small gathering of caped, large-headed aliens. These are the Watchers, and as Lee recounts his tales of playing “a Federal Express man” (in Captain America: Civil War) the camera focuses in on one Watcher in particular – who may be the real Uatu. Lee is credited as the Marvel Universe’s Watcher Informant.
20. KRONAN CAMEO
Elsewhere in the Guardians’ montage of space jumps, a quick flit through the atmosphere of a barren, alien world shows what appears to be a battle to the death in action. The fighters are two large, rocky-looking behemoths with the standing fighter brandishing a massive stone club. In Marvel speak, that’s exactly how you would describe the race known as the Kronans, already glimpsed in the MCU when one of the rock monsters attempted to best Thor in The Dark World‘s opening battle. The armor even looks the same in both cases.
That armor look is typically associated with Korg, a character introduced as an opponent of Thor without much backstory – before being retconned into his very own character, playing a memorable part in the Planet Hulk storyline. Korg is also set to appear in Thor: Ragnarok, so it’s unclear if this is meant as a wink towards the character and film, or simply another Kronan battle that Marvel fans are guaranteed to spot.
19. A’ASKAVARIAN CALLBACK
Another callback! Perhaps, at least. When Rocket finally makes contact with Gamora after she has come to a truce with her sister, Nebula, and he and Yondu have put their vomit-inducing jumps behind them, he tells her they’re headed to the surface. As the Eclector’s main core remains in orbit with Kraglin at the controls, Rocket informs his teammate, he, Yondu, and Groot will be heading down to rescue them in “an old piece of construction equipment Yondu once used to slice open the bank of A’askavaria.”
That name should ring a bell, since it’s what first endeared Peter Quill to Drax aboard the Kyln in Guardians. Peter explained how he once had to romance an A’askavarian in Nova Records for a job, before she left him with a scar to remember him by. The ancedote led to Drax calling Peter simply the man “who has lain with an A’askavarian.” It would seem we now know the bank heist for which Peter was sent to romance said A’askavarian. Hope it was worth it.
18. THE PLANET’S FACE
Rocket and Yondu’s arrival carries a sense of foreboding with it, following hot on the heels of Gamora and Nebula’s discovery of a cave filled with bones (the remains of Ego’s other collected, and ultimately rejected, progeny). As the trio descend to the surface, they approach from the opposite side as Ego initially welcomed Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax to “his planet.” And from that angle, it’s clear to see Ego’s eyes, nose and mouth showing the planet to be a living entity – perfectly in keeping with the comic book version.
It’s easy to see why it was left out of the initial reveal, since seeing a planet in the face of Kurt Russell would have been not only silly, but telling. It’s only when they land that Ego informs his guests of his origin story, maintaining his persona of an affectionate, caring, and loving influence. A massive, emotionless, unblinking face on the planet sends the opposite message… even if we really do want to know how that majestic goatee would have been carried over to a planetary scale.
17. STAR-LORD GLIMPSES “ETERNITY”
It’s an easy moment to miss given everything happening when it appears, but as Ego attempts to convince Peter to join his cause, he changes his world with a press on the forehead. In that moment, Peter’s eyes are replaced by starscapes, apparently allowing him to see to the ends of the universe and existence itself. But before he is completely lost, he stands, mouth open, in awe… uttering a single word: “Eternity.” It makes sense, since most assume he is seeing time and reality as a being as ancient as Ego does. But it means much more.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, “Eternity” isn’t just a concept, but an actual figure. As is usually the case in Marvel’s cosmic mythology, the concept of all time and reality within the universe is embodied by Eternity, one of a number of beings existing before and beyond all creation. Paired with Infinity, and Death (and Entity, and Oblivion, and Galactus) he represents a cosmic force on a scale few can comprehend. So it’s possible that Star-Lord’s vision of eternity isn’t a gift of Ego’s, but a reality he can simply glimpse.
That implies the cosmic forces pulling Ego’s strings are greater than he can imagine, and since the first Guardians movie showed a temple mural depicting Eternity, Infinity, Entropy, and Death surrounding the six Infinity Stones… well, we would say this throwaway word is far more meaningful.
16. THE GUNNS JOIN THEIR SON’S ADVENTURE
Director James Gunn stops short of inserting himself into his own space epic (at least that we know of, since he appeared as the unmasked soldier under Ronan’s command in the first Guardians), but made sure to include some family members. When Ego taps into Star-Lord’s powers, he activates his many seedling around the universe, turning the small flower behind a Missouri Dairy Queen into an undulating, growing mass of blue energy. When that power ceases to be wielded, the energy darkens, hardens, and dies. In that moment, you get a look at an older couple taking in the phenomenon with some confusion.
Keep and eye peeled on the final credits, and you’ll see both James Gunn, Sr. and Leota Gunn among the cast, as that very couple. And if you’re wondering if Gunn’s sense of humor extends even to his family, their credits should make it obvious. James, Sr. and Leota are given the roles of ‘Weird Old Man’ and ‘Weird Old Man’s Mistress,’ respectively.
15. PETER’S GRANDFATHER RETURNS
The second time the blob stops spreading across Missouri, it does so permanently – and not a moment too soon for the occupants of one vehicle. The blob has lifted their SUV onto its front tires, just moments away from consuming it from the back end forward. The driver and passenger have only a second to consider their confused relief before the film cuts back to Ego, but it’s enough to identify the driver: Peter Quill’s grandfather, played by actor Gregg Henry, a past collaborator of Gunn’s – in some old age make-up to cover the intervening three decades.
Gunn has previously explained that he had intended to show Peter’s grandfather alive and well back on Earth in Guardians of the Galaxy, connecting the hero’s discovery of family to the family that still loved him dearly back on Earth. So it’s nice to see that moment achieved, even briefly, in the sequel. As for Peter’s grandfather’s passenger? She’s played by Damita Jane Howard, stunt performer on this very film.
14. YOUNG PETER RETURNS
It’s a blink and you miss it moment as Star-Lord’s entire family is being strangled by Ego around him, but one worth calling out, since most audience members will likely miss it. As Peter sits frozen by his father, Yondu tells him to use his heart, not his head – triggering a montage of the love in Peter’s life. It begins with a shot of him as a boy, laying next to his mother in a grass field, flying through the skies with Rocket, and finally, Yondu training him to fire his now famous blasters.
They’re short scenes, but it’s still actor Wyat Oleff called back to film them, showing Peter a bit older as he finally dons his own set of Ravager armor and his signature weaponry. Just as actress Laura Haddock was called back to reprise her role as Peter’s mother, audiences may not even recognize her, shown long before her brain tumor transformed her into the version of herself shown in Guardians‘ opening scene.
13. YONDU’S BLUE FROG
The movie’s emotional storyline comes to its conclusion as the Guardians lay Yondu to rest, dressing him with ceremonial ribbons, colors, and surrounding him with meaningful trinkets. It’s a small touch, but one trinket in particular stands out: a small, blue-colored, crystal frog half-cloaked in shadow. The devoted fans of the first movie will recognize it instantly as the same one Yondu acquired when visiting the Broker in Guardians of the Galaxy, explaining that he enjoys lining such small items along the console of his ship.
That frog has seen more than most characters, having been directly tied to the discovery of an Infinity Stone, and eventually shot out of the sky alongside Yondu during the battle with Ronan’s forces over Xandar. The frog is the only trinket Yondu picks out of the dirt before Ronan’s forces arrive to surround him, which makes it into something of a symbol for Yondu’s decision to do the right thing. To leave petty thieving behind, and pursue a cause more heroic. So it’s only right it should find its way to his side at the end.
12. YONDU’S TROLL DOLL
Following hot on the heels of the crystal frog is a shot of Peter placing a Troll doll at Yondu’s side, as well – distinguishable, thanks to his checkered coat – as the very same Troll doll masquerading as an Infinity Stone in the first film’s final act. It might seem a bittersweet trinket, since it was Star-Lord’s deception that landed that Infinity Stone in his hand to begin with, but the second film makes it clear that Yondu saw that ‘betrayal’ differently.
Since it was suicide to even open up the container and view the Infinity Stone, instead of simply selling it, Yondu had to suspect that the boy he mentored had pulled a fast one on him. But when the Troll doll was revealed, Yondu could only grin. The implication of pride was apparent, but the sequel confirms that Yondu felt he was Star-Lord’s real dad, explaining why he would hang on to the object that proved he had raised his son to do the right thing. That object, like that knowledge, is held close in death.
11. ONE LAST ARROW
When the other Ravager factions turn away from their decision to exile Yondu – perhaps once Ego’s villainous actions are exposed, and his raising of Peter are understood – and arrive to honor him in death, the “Colors of Ogord” flashing over his grave are charged with sentimentality. So it may be hard for fans to see through the tears the final loving detail reserved for the blue-skinned softie beyond death. As his son and teammates mourn his death, his cosmic ashes spread out in a stream of rainbow-colored particles.
But as the fireworks and music swell, the particles condense into an intense pink/red hue… in the shape of an arrow. The arrowhead is easiest to spot, even if it’s unclear whether that’s an indication of Yondu’s continued spirit, or simply the filmmakers paying a tribute of their own, and ramifications or physics be damned. Whichever one it is, it’s a memorable finish.
10. CHARLIE-27 PLAYED BY VING RHAMES
It’s Stakar who shows that Yondu is still held in the hearts of the Ravagers, beginning the further reveal of the other Ravager leaders. The first up is Ving Rhames, bringing to life the Marvel hero Charlie-27. No further information is offered or immediately visible other than his massive size, which is keeping with his comic book origin… even if the specifics may need to be altered for this version. Where Martinex was a human engineered to survive on Pluto, Charlie-27 was similarly engineered to survive on Jupiter.
The result was a super-sized, super-strong, super-dense hero gifted with military strategy and unwavering strength. Since these are no longer the original Guardians from the future, those origins will presumably be changed. But if the Ravagers assembled at the end of the film have a military-minded tactician among them, it’s most definitely Charlie-27 (even if his size and strength imply someone who prefers brute force… which he also enjoys, from time to time).
9. ALETA, STARHAWK’S OTHER HALF
The next, and perhaps most interesting addition to the team is Aleta Ogord, played by Michelle Yeoh. As the name suggests, Aleta is the adopted sister of Stakar Ogord… but that’s where this origin story stops being simple to describe. We’ve previously explained how Aleta and Stakar form Starhawk, so to keep a long story short, Stakar is adopted by the Ogord family and eventually gains powers from ‘the Hawk God’ alongside his sister, Aleta. The two merge to form Starhawk and use those powers, but only one of them can remain the physical form.
Since the movie shows both Stakar and Aleta separated, it’s obvious James Gunn is pursuing a different course. Perhaps the two remain separate, but when wishing to become the superpowered Starhawk, must merge. Either that, or they are simply both gifted with Starhawk’s abilities. Only time will tell, but considering how complicated and torrid their relationship has gotten over the years, don’t expect all of their origin or source material to be adapted for Guardians 3.
8. KRUGARR CONJURES “STRANGE” MAGIC
Among these humanoid Ravagers assembling only after Yondu’s death, one stands out as an alien-looking, snake-like red figure standing upright on its tail. That’s an easy character to identify, since it’s obviously Krugarr, the Sorcerer Supreme of the future (personally trained by the same Ancient One who showed Stephen Strange the ropes back in the 20th Century). He’s certainly the wild card of this new roster, but his form of approving their reunion is important. Important especially to fans of Marvel’s Doctor Strange…
Since he doesn’t speak, Krugarr shows his excitement by conjuring up two thumbs-up symbols in what some might assume is a bit of techno-wizardry. But look closer, and it’s the exact same magic at work in Doctor Strange, down to the tiny glyphs that surround his hands as he forms the image. It’s still unclear just how much attention Marvel intends be paid to this shared sorcery (especially given that Krugarr may only be a sorcerer this time around), or if they’re simply making sure that Marvel’s magic is uniform across the galaxy.
7. MILEY CYRUS IS MAINFRAME
The final comedic beat of this post-credits scene comes as the camera shifts to a severed robotic head. As the other Ravagers nod their ascent or intention to honor Yondu’s sacrifice, and get the gang back together, the robot can’t contain its sheer excitement, having missed these friends so much. That robotic head is harder to decipher than any other character (not having a body will do that), but James Gunn has confirmed it is Mainframe, an artificial intelligence created by Tony Stark, and tasked with guarding and administrating an entire planet in the 31st Century.
Gunn had intended to keep that voice cameo under wraps a bit longer, but when he let it slip in a single interview, the world soon knew: Miley Cyrus would voice Mainframe. The digital effects applied to the voice make it a bit harder to catch on first listen, so fans will probably need to wait for more scenes to really judge what Cyrus will bring to the apparently severed head? Here’s hoping Mainframe gets its body back in the future.
6. ADAM WARLOCK JOINS THE MCU
It’s hard to tell if this was the best secret post-credits scene of Guardians Vol. 2, or the most underwhelming – not for lack of punch or story potential, but the amount of people explicitly stating that Adam Warlock would join the MCU… or had already… whichever. For the newbies, Adam, or simply ‘Him,’ was the first creation of The Enclave mentioned earlier in this list. The perfect creation, and imbued with the Soul Infinity Stone, Adam Warlock remains one of the most respected stories in Marvel’s entire cosmic universe.
He has yet to be revealed or cast, with the final post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 dedicated to his reveal. Back among the Sovereign, Ayesha is forced to accept defeat, having failed to attain vengeance or justice against the Guardians for their theft and insult. She believes that her revenge, and her pursuit of true perfection lies ahead. Literally, it lies in front of her, in a new kind of birthing pod – promising to create a new kind of golden, perfected being: one she will call simply “Adam.” Strap in, Marvel fans.
5. GRANDMASTER CREDITS CAMEO
In keeping with the soundtrack of Guardians Vol. 2, the credits are punctuated by snippets of the cast showing their own unique brands of boogie. It’s a chance to see Chris Pratt, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan and others cut loose and just get down, but there’s one dancer that you’ll like want to watch out for. Keep your eyes on the right hand side of the screen, and after a return from a post-credits scene, you’ll notice Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster shaking his thang.
Now, why an antagonist responsible for throwing Thor into gladiator games in Ragnarok appears alongside the cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy is anyone’s guess. His presence has led many to assume that a cameo was cut, but it’s hard to say for sure. Which means fans have no choice but to let this question go unanswered, and just enjoy seeing how Jeff Goldblum got down in his prime (and obviously continues to, because he’s Jeff Goldblum).
4. COSMO RETURNS
We can’t tell if it’s fan service or cruelty that urged the filmmakers to place a glorious, heroic portrait of Cosmo the Spacedog at the end of the film’s credits… but if it’s all we’re going to get it’s better than nothing. For the Marvel movie fans, he’s the dog in a spacesuit shown in the previous Guardians film as a part of the Collector’s collection, giving Rocket a growl as the team entered his massive complex. He returned in the film’s post-credits sequence to give the Collector some kisses, having been seen fleeing the location after the Power Stone erupted.
It’s still heartbreaking for fans that as silly as the Guardians universe may get, there’s apparently no place for a Russian dog sent into orbit, knocked off course, and eventually gaining the powers of telepathic speech. Seriously, would the Guardians NOT be better off with a dog able to protect them from psychic attack? Perhaps with Baby Groot now aged out of his adorable phase, the door is open for a dog hero? Especially with Adam Warlock on the horizon – a character Cosmo has been shown powerful enough to counter. Fingers crossed.
3. GROOT-ED CREDITS
The love for Baby Groot may be strong enough to bring down mountains, with Vin Diesel once again on hand to voice the tiny twig (with some post-production help, obviously… well, we assume). His adorable and precocious nature may have taken the spotlight this time around, but the affection clearly extends beyond the audience and into the production team itself, judging by the credits.
It will pass by the notice of a vast majority of the audience, too busy discussing the film or its many sporadic post-credits cappers, but a number of crew members have had their names replaced with Groot’s universal remark. There are only a few seconds to appreciate seeing “I Am Groot” mixed into the credits before a flash reveals the actual credit, and the person credited. But for people like 3D Stereoscopic Supervisor Evan Jacobs, it’s as close to Groot as most people will ever come.
2. HASSELHOFF LENDS HIS VOICE
It was Kevin Bacon who got to wear the pop culture crown in the first Guardians thanks to his Footloose heroics, but in the sequel, it’s all David Hasselhoff. After Peter reveals to Gamora that he used to tell kids his father was the Knight Rider actor and singer, Hasselhoff makes an appearance himself in the film’s final act. Since it’s Ego taking on the visage of Hasselhoff while urging Peter to reconsider his plan, Hasselhoff is credited only as “The Form of David Hasselhoff” in the final scroll. But it’s not his only contribution.
The song that plays over the middle portion of the credits may sound less familiar than the rest of the movie’s soundtrack, and with good reason. It’s Hasselhoff himself serenading the audience with a song titled “Guardians Inferno,” written by James Gunn and composer Tyler Bates. As it turns out, a band was also artificially created for the performance, with the song credited to “The Sneepers ft. David Hasselhoff.
1. FINAL DISCLAIMER
Before the credits come to a close and return to Stan Lee informing the less-than-rapt Watchers on that distant rock, they end on yet another “I Am Groot.” As it reaches the center of the screen, that, too, changes to its full text. A disclaimer stating the following:
“No raccoons or tree creatures were harmed during the making of this feature. The same cannot be said for handlers of said raccoons and tree creatures.”
It’s a callback to the previous film’s own disclaimer, with the added implication that the ones tasked with keeping Rocket or Groot in check are the real victims, here. But what do you expect?