In 2014, writer/director James Gunn brought the Marvel Cinematic Universe to space with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy. Bringing in the cosmic characters of the Marvel Universe was always going to be tricky (there’s some zany stuff out there), but Gunn threw everyone in the deep end with all kinds of fun characters, monsters, and technology. Although the first film really hit us with a bunch of lore, we never felt lost because Gunn understood the need to have a simple, identifiable story for the audience to latch onto.
He continued to do so in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which made us love (and then hate) one of Marvel’s strangest concepts: Ego the Living Planet. Although the sequel also brought members of the original Guardians of the Galaxy team into the fold, it left plenty of other characters out. With the third and final Guardians film of this space-faring trilogy on the horizon, the question of just how many other members of the Guardians of the Galaxy will be introduced — besides Adam Warlock, of course. In anticipation of this, we’re taking a look at several Marvel characters who have been considered Guardians in the comics, but have yet to appear in the MCU itself, and some of them may surprise you.
Nova (Richard Rider)
We saw the Nova corps in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, but we have yet to meet perhaps their most famous member, Richard Rider. The human character who was given a Nova Corps uniform and the powers that came with it has had a long history with the Guardians in the comics. Not only has he helped them out and even asked for their help on multiple occasions, he actually helped Star-Lord assemble the team. It was announced in March 2022 that a Nova project was in the works, but it’s unlikely we’ll see him with his Guardians pals in Vol. 3. However, he does one day become the leader of the team, so if Marvel wants to bring the Guardians back in the future, we may actually get to see him fighting beside them.
There’s a very good reason that Bug has yet to appear in the MCU: rights. Thanks to the fact that Bug appeared in the Micronauts, he is mostly owned by the toy company Hasbro, who created the Micronauts line. Gunn confirmed in a tweet from January 2022 that he keeps trying to include Bug in the Guardians films, but was denied. It’s certainly possible that this warrior thief from the Microverse (which sort of exists as the Quantum Realm in the MCU) could make an appearance someday, but don’t hold your breath.
Victor von Doom
In the comics, Doom is one of the original big-bads of the Marvel universe. He joined the Guardians of the Galaxy for a short time after failing to force them to serve him. Not only can Marvel introduce Dr. Victor von Doom into the MCU, chances are they will be doing so by 2025 since that is when their Fantastic Four movie is set for release. With the inclusion of John Krasinski as Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic) in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, there’s also a chance we might even get to see him sooner, even if he’s from an alternate reality, as was the case with Richards. After two divisive attempts to bring the iconic Doom to the silver screen (three, if you count the Roger Corman movie), Marvel fans the world over will doubtlessly be thrilled to see the character handled with the care and attention he deserves.
A human raised partially by an Eternal but predominantly by monks, Heather Douglas (aka Moondragon) got her powers after defeating the Dragon of the Moon. After dying and being resurrected more than once, she joined the Guardians. There have been plenty of rumors and suspicions that Moondragon would be appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (to be played by Daniela Melchior), but Gunn has denied those rumors. Given that fact the third installment is also intended to be the last, it seems unlikely that the character would be introduced, especially with having to give Adam Warlock some time to shine. However, that doesn’t mean the cosmic wing of the MCU will be going away, so they could always bring Heather in to shake things up.
Whether it’s because you’ve read the comics, watched the classic X-Men animated series, or you’re devoted to the cinematic exploits of the mutant team, chances are you know who Katherine “Kitty” Pryde is. If not, here’s a quick rundown: Katherine Pryde is a mutant with the ability to pass through solid objects and disrupt electricity. She’s been included in so many iterations of X-Men media that there’s no chance we won’t see her in the MCU someday. Whether or not they’ll include the storyline where she obtains cosmic powers and marries Star-Lord remains to be seen, however.
Vance Astro is an alternate reality version of Vance Astrovik, a telekinetic mutant who would later be known by the names Marvel Boy and Justice. Vance Astro’s abilities didn’t manifest until much later in life when he was already scientifically altered to make the trip from Earth to a new star system. Although he was intended to be the first person from Earth to reach the new planet, he discovered others had already reached it. After meeting Yondu, he became a founding member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. With Yondu’s death in Vol. 2, it makes sense that Astro (who is also called Major Victor) could pop in and pay his respects.
Speaking of characters who’ve gone by the name Marvel Boy, Noh-Varr is a genetically altered Skree from another dimension, who lost everything when his ship was destroyed upon arriving in the mainline Marvel Comics universe. After seeking revenge and eventually joining several superhero teams, Noh-Varr joined the Guardians and helped to destroy New Olympus. Since the MCU is heading into the Multiverse saga, it’s only natural that we’ll see all kinds of new characters enter the fold, and there’s no reason Noh-Varr can’t be one of them.
Everyone’s favorite curmudgeonly mass of sentient rock, Ben Grimm (The Thing of The Fantastic Four) is definitely going to be joining the MCU in the near future. The story of how he became a short-lived member of the Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty complicated (it has to do with the destruction and reconstitution of the multiverse) and would require a ton of screen time, but it would be really neat to one day see him in space arguing with the Guardians about some inane subject only to get fed up and shout, “It’s clobberin’ time!”
When Star-Lord is first assembling his team, he recruits people he’s worked with before, including Phyla-Vell, who is known by the code names Captain Marvel, Quasar, and Martyr. Created by Elysius, Phyla-Vell replaced her brother Genis-Vell to become Captain Marvel before joining the Guardians. However, when she discovered that Star-Lord had Mantis psychically manipulate everyone into joining the team, she went off and became the avatar of Oblivion. Given the incredible scope of her life, it’s unlikely she’d be introduced in the third Guardians film, but there’s still time to bring her into the Captain Marvel fold.
As you can probably tell by her name, Aldrif Odinsdottir is the eldest child of Odin and his wife Freyja. Kidnapped by the Queen of the Angels, but raised by a handmaiden named Loriel as a member of a warrior race called the Angels, she was renamed Angela. Forcibly brought from her dimension to Midgard after Wolverine fractured the universe, Angela was so furious that she headed directly to Earth for revenge. After a violent encounter with the Guardians, she temporarily joined them in order to attain passage to Earth. Given her lineage, it only makes sense that this character would be introduced in a Thor movie.
Beta Ray Bill
The cosmic side of Marvel Comics can get pretty wild – case in point: Beta Ray Bill. While Bill’s existence was confirmed in Thor: Ragnarok (a sculpture of his head is seen), he has yet to make an appearance “in the flesh,” so to speak. Originally a Korbonite chosen to be the champion of his people, Bill was infused with cybernetics to better protect them. After picking up Mjolnir following a battle, Bill was awarded the power of Thor, but was eventually given his own weapon: Stormbreaker (a version of which appears in the MCU). He went on to have all kinds of epic adventures before temporarily joining the Guardians after saving them from an all-consuming black hole. Together, they stopped the resurrection of Thanos. Should the MCU decide to bring Thanos back in some form, that would be the perfect time to bring Beta Ray Bill to the big screen in all his glory.
Inspired to be the kind of hero Captain America could be proud of, Jack Harrison pushed himself physically to be able to hold his own in a fight before getting doused with the Hyde Formula while trying to infiltrate the Serpent Society. Under the name Jack Flag and with new powers which include super strength, stamina, durability, and a healing factor, Jack eventually took over Prison 42 in the Negative Zone. After the prison was invaded by Blastaar and his forces, Flag escaped to Knowhere and joined the Guardians upon healing from his wounds before eventually returning to Earth. With a new era beginning for the Captain America films (with Sam Wilson now carrying the mantle), there’s plenty of room to introduce Flag.
With both Secret Invasion and Fantastic Four on the way, it seems likely we might actually get to see Kl’rt (Super-Skrull) in some form since his race plays heavily into the former, and he wields the same abilities as the latter. Originally an enemy of Marvel’s First Family, he eventually joined the Guardians to help monitor threats to the galaxy and keep the peace. Who knows, the character might even have a small role in Vol. 3.
There have been a few people with the name Quasar (all of whom wore the Quantum Bands, granting them their powers) who have been members of the Guardians of the Galaxy. We already mentioned Phyla-Vell, but there was also Richard Rider (aka Nova), and Avril Kincaid. The original Quasar, Wendell Vaughn only played a small role with the Guardians. Perhaps the likeliest candidate for inclusion would be Kincaid because she has ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. which has always featured prominently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.