Featured Image of the Og Guardians

Marvel prides itself in thinking twenty moves ahead like a chess grandmaster. Films are planned and characters are teased years before their solo films. Many end credit scenes even tease possible futures for the MCU. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 unites the original Guardians in an end credit scene as both an homage to the original and joke to the audience. Not a laugh out loud joke, but one that says, “look we care about the source material! Aren’t we fun?”  It’s certainly a sweet gesture for the fans. However, it begs the question: did Marvel waste story potential in THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY for an end credit joke?

End Credits Introduce The OG Guardians

The OG GAURDIANS Stoic as ever
Image Courtesy of Marvel

Marvel’s end credit scenes are infamous. Many movies have done end credit scenes before, but Marvel took it to a new level. Marvel’s first movie, IRON MAN, sets the tone for all future end credit scenes. Indeed, the scene includes the iconic Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) turning around and uttering the now famous line, “I want to talk about the Avengers Initiative.” But before we examine the role end credit scenes play in the MCU, we need to get to know the Original Guardians.

OG GUARDIANS

Full Line Up Of Original Guardians
Image Courtesy of Marvel

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was created in the late 1960s. The ideas originated from Roy Thomas and later on went to the hands of writer Arnold Drake with Stan Lee as editor. The original comic was far different from the one we know and love today. First, there were only four original Guardians. Second, it didn’t take place in the “present” (which is relative as the comic came out in 1969). Instead, it takes place in the year 3000.

Each of the four original Guardians is supposedly the last of their species. The first member of the team is the New Yorker Astronaut from the past, Vance Astro. Alongside Vance Astro is Martinex, the crystallized alien from Pluto; Charlie-27, a super soldier from Jupiter; and Youndo, the Zatoan tribe archer. More characters join the team later including fan favorites Stakar and Aleta, heroes who shared a body and formed the hero Starhawk

The original team embodies the ideas of the time. For instance, the colorful space themed designs and story elements inspired by the era’s sci-fi films. Some common elements include liberating earth from enslavement, traveling the galaxy to fight Badoons, and even searching for Captain America’s lost shield.

More Than A Punchline

The end credit scenes of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXIES VOL 2 is carefully used to deliver jokes as well as set up future storylines. For example, the scene hints the appearance of Adam Warlock. However, the scene where the original team unites isn’t given the same seriousness as Adam Warlock’s scene. In the film, Sylvester Stallone plays Stakar and has a decent role in the movie, but he’s the only one who does.

It Colbering timee
Image Courtesy of Marvel

The characters’ existence in the MCU is solidified. Indeed, Marvel has an established history and a locked cast. This may seem like a small topic to focus on, but when it comes to the MCU, there is no such thing. As of today, the entire cinematic universe takes place in one consistent timeline and canon. Even the smallest hints have repercussions for the next series of films and tv shows.

Marvel does it again and again. Marvel has teased a character in one film, then given that character their own. For example, Dr. Strange’s name appears in WINTER SOLDIER and Wakanda is mentioned in AGE OF ULTRON. As a result, even the smallest details become the key to what will happen next. For Marvel to use the Guardians frivolously in an end scene seems a bit short-sighted.

Possibilities Of The Galaxy

There is a charm to an old sci-fi story. Indeed, it is a charm Marvel that takes full advantage of in THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films. Every Marvel movie evokes its own tone, blending with the superhero genre. Examples include everything from government-conspiracy-thriller in CAPTIN AMERICA THE WINTER SOLDIER, to the Jone Hughes-esque teen movie vibe in SPIDERMAN HOMECOMING. Similarly, GUARDIANS film mixes the superhero genre with old 80’s films. It’s campy fun meets sci-fi action, and includes all the superhero tropes. Consequently, the James Gunn films nicely compliment the style of the original GUARDIANS comics.

Full Battle Sequence of the Original Guardians
Image Courtesy of Marvel

Marvel has experience blending genres and altering characteristics of their comic book characters and stories. However, certain aspects of their stories have to change to fit the movie medium better. We have seen it work well already in the films and with one member of the original Guardians, Youndo. He became a father figure and one of the fans’ favorite characters.

With how far Marvel plans ahead, it’s shocking to see them use these Original GUARDIANS characters so loosely, especially since they are founding members. Marvel has the potential to replace the current iteration of the Guardians when the actors feel it’s time to hang up the mantle. THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY doesn’t have to be the only series they star in. We could have seen familiar faces join Thor’s team now that he has taken on a cosmic comedy tone thanks to Ragnarok. Alternatively, they could have been altered to fit into a more grounded hero like Captain America.

Is There Hope?

Certainly, an end scene joke doesn’t spell the end for the GUARDIANS’ characters. However, it raises some problems for future storylines. The actors attached to the names are big-name stars with experience on the big screen. We have seen recasting in the Marvel films — for example, Don Cheadle playing Rhodey in IRON MAN 2 — but changing many characters at once will raise questions. One thing is clear, though, Marvel can still use the original GUARDIANS in future films. But it won’t be as smooth as we might hope.

No More Original Guardians?

Guardians page
Image Courtesy of Marvel

Was using the Original GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY characters for the “Elbow jab from your friend who recognized them” worth it in the end? The answer is unclear. It wasn’t a completely wrong move for James Gunn. Indeed, it paid homage to the comic’s roots. But was it right for Marvel to give them up in the long run? The MCU wants to keep this gravy train as long as they can. To do that, Marvel will need all the characters they can get.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *