Before Guardians of the Galaxy ever made it into theaters, director James Gunn promised his sci-fi adventure would be filled with more Marvel references and cameos than any movie released to date. And the man did not disappoint. With this particular chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the studio is able to not only provide subtle nods for die-hard fans, but also set up more important elements in the overall arc being played throughout all of the movies. Here, we get to explore parts of the Marvel galaxy yet undiscovered on film, and some of the secrets and references are hard to notice on that first, second and even third viewing!
We've gathered nine of the coolest Guardians of the Galaxy Easter eggs for you here, which you may have missed. These mostly hint at a bigger universe to come. There are also inside jokes and references that tie in other aspects of the Marvel world, some of which may never come into play in terms of the bigger picture. They're just included for fun. Before you go see this cosmic cavalcade of awesomeness in theaters again, we have a comprehensive breakdown of all the Guardians of the Galaxy Easter Eggs and obscure Marvel comic book references for you to discover and enjoy. (WARNING: There will be MAJOR SPOILERS!)
1Peter Quill's Parents
After Marvel anounced that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will hit theaters on July 28, 2017, James Gunn promised fans that the sequel will focus on Peter Quill's real father and his relationship with Yondu. But who is Peter's real father? The film opens with a young Peter Quill having his last conversation with his mother (Laura Haddock) before she dies, and she claims Quill's biological dad is made of "pure light," teasing his human/alien hybrid origins. Peter is later beamed into a spacecraft and taken to a whole other world, where he is raised by the blue-skinned outlaw Yondu (Michael Rooker). At the end of the film, Yondu reveals that he actually plucked Peter from "Terra" (Earth) to deliver him to his father, whose identity is never revealed. In the comics, Peter's father was J'son, the son of a galactic Spartoi emperor, but it isn't likely the movies will follow this particular storyline. While the sequel will most likley reveal who Peter's father truly is, we'll have to wait until 2017 to find out for sure. It's also worth noting that Laura Haddock isn't new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She also played the "Autograph Girl" in Captain America: The First Avenger, though she is quite unrecognizable in this film.
2 The Collector's Menagerie
Of the many reasons fans should see Guardians of the Galaxy on the big screen more than once is to check out all of the hidden Easter Eggs located in the The Collector's (Benicio Del Toro) Museum. Among the items are Dark Elves from Thor: The Dark World, Chitauri from Marvel's The Avengers, Adam Warlock, one of the alien parasites from James Gunn's directorial debut Slither, and none other than Howard the Duck, who is also featured in the post-credits scene, voiced by Seth Green.
3 Director and Actor Cameos
Two of these cameos are plainly obvious, while the other two are hiding in plain sight. Marvel legend Stan Lee, who has had a cameo in every Marvel Studios movie, is seen early on as an Alien world playboy, as he chats up two attractive women on Xandar. He becomes the subject of a rant delivered by Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper). Lloyd Kaufman, the Troma Studios founder who gave James Gunn his start, is seen as one of the inmates in the Kyln Prison, and has fun yelling at Gamora (Zoe Saldana) upon her arrival. While you'll hardly recognize him, Nathan Fillion, who starred in James Gunn's first two features Slither and Super, is seen as a massive blue alien during a Kyln scene, where he reveals that he wants to "lather up" Chris Pratt's Peter Quill. Rob Zombie may have the most obscure cameo of them all, voicing the Ravagers' navigator aboard their ship.
4 Marvel Character Cameos
Also seen in the post-credits scene is Cosmo the Space Dog, who is seen licking The Collector's face, which naturally grosses out Howard the Duck. In the Marvel comic books, Cosmo is Knowhere's chief of security, which is essentially the skull of a long-dead, enormous Celestial. The distant planet Knowhere eventually became home base for the Guardians, but it's unclear whether Marvel Studios will follow that same path in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. It also isn't known if The Celestials will be featured in the sequel as well, but we'll find out three years from now.
5 The Milano Spaceship
The Milano is the spaceship Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) pilots in this cosmic adventure, although, in the comic books, Peter's ship did not have a name, simply dubbed "Ship." Since Peter left Earth in the year 1988, there are a number of pop culture references Quill mentions, but The Milano may be the most obscure of all. Director James Gunn recently confirmed that the spacecraft is named after Alyssa Milano, Peter Quill's childhood crush and star of Who's the Boss?, one of the most popular shows in the 1980s. Onboard The Milano, we get our first glimpse at Bereet (Melia Kreiling), a Krylorian film star who, in the Marvel comics, was often featured in The Incredible Hulk stories, although it isn't clear if she will re-emerge in the sequel or not. And then there is Michael Rooker's Yondu Udontu, who is changed significantly from his origins in the comic books, aside from his blue-skinned appearance. Instead of brandishing a bow and arrow, Yondu possesses a mystical spear that responds to his commands, which the actor discussed in detail in our interview. In the comics, Yondu is actually one of the founding members of the Guardians, although it isn't clear if that will happen in the sequel.
6 The Sakkarans
Every good superhero movie needs iconic villains, and Guardians of the Galaxy has more than a few. While the main villain is Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), hellbent on destroying the universe, we also get our first real glimpse at Thanos (Josh Brolin), who was teased during the end credits scene in Marvel's The Avengers, and his impressive throne. Also featured is The Other (Alexis Denisof), one of Thanos' minions, and the Sakkarans soldiers lead by Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou).
7 Morag and Beta Ray Bill
Morag is the distant planet where Peter Quill finds the mysterious orb that sets him on this grand adventure. The planet is named after the first Kree leader who lead an assault on The Skrulls, igniting a longstanding war between the alien races. While Peter is exploring Morag, he comes across a skeleton which has a horse head instead of a human's, mounted on a stick. Those versed in Marvel comics lore will recognize this as one of the Kymellians, the most famous of which is Beta Ray Bill. It hasn't been confirmed if this character will actually be showing up in future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies at this time.
8 Obscure 80s References
While the history and purpose of Nova Corps isn't fully fleshed out in Guardians of the Galaxy, Corpsmen Rhommann Dey (John C. Reilly) and Denarian Saal (Peter Serafinowicz) are featured in a few key scenes, along with Nova Prime herself, played by Glenn Close. It's possible that the Nova Corps, particularly Coprsman Dey, will play a larger part in the sequel, but that hasn't been confirmed at this time. There are also a few key supporting characters that offer more nods to the Marvel comic books, even though they may not have the biggest of roles. Ophelia Lovibond plays Carina Walters, The Collector's assistant who, in the comics, is actually his daughter, although that was never mentioned in the movie. James Gunn's brother Sean Gunn also stars as one of the Ravagers, Kraglin, while also providing an on-set motion-capture performance as Rocket Raccoon, before Bradley Cooper came on board. One of the most obscure references in the film occurs when Peter Quill refers to Groot (Vin Diesel) as "The Giving Tree," which refers to Shel Silverstein's novel, which shows how his pop culture knowledge ended after he left Earth in the year 1988. Quill also refers to Rocket Raccoon as Ranger Rick, the mascot of a children's nature magazine which was popular in the 1980s.
9 12% in the Marvel Universe
One of the most humorous moments in Guardians of the Galaxy is where Peter Quill tries to explain that he has "part of a plan" for defeating the nefarious Ronan the Accuser. When asked how much of this plan he has formulated, Quill says "12%," but you may recall that the figure is a nod to a scene from Marvel's The Avengers. The scene in question features Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) telling Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) to take some of the credit for the creation of Avengers Tower. When asked how much credit she should take, Tony says "12%," which Pepper referred to in another scene when she said she was having "12% of a moment."
Are you a fan of all these Guardians of the Galaxy Easter Eggs? Are there any we missed? Chime in with your thoughts below.