Now that majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU) earthbound heroes fought alongside each other on the big screen, Marvel's priorities for expanding its shared universe are currently aimed at outer space and beyond. To do this, Marvel's next three movies - Dr. Strange (2016), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017) - will take place in the MCU's astral planes to emphasize Marvel's cosmic themes.
Outside of Thor: The Dark World's (2013) post-credits scene, the scattered Infinity Stones and a few mentions of the mysterious Quantum Realm in Ant-Man (2015), there have been few links between the world the Avengers live in and the realms beyond human understanding but this may change if the rumored link between Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is true.
The Rumored Race
According to That Hashtag Show's Marvel insider, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Incredible Hulk aka Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) will bump into the Cotati: the same alien race of the newest addition into the Guardians of the Galaxy cast.
Thor and the Hulk will in some way encounter the Cotati, one of the oldest species of aliens in the Marvel universe. The Cotati are best known as the race of aliens to awaken the powers within Mantis.
Since Thor: Ragnarok has been described as "an intergalactic buddy road movie," it's likely that Thor and Hulk will go from planet to planet and interact with each place's populace before getting down to the business of fighting Hela (Cate Blanchett).
Mindful Space Plants
In the comics, the Cotati are a race of plant-like beings who are known for their telepathic powers and their bitter rivalry with the Kree - the villains of the first Guardians of the Galaxy and the ones responsible for the Cotati's near extinction.
The races' long rivalry stems from a Skrull sponsored contest to prove which of the two races was worthy of an evolutionary aid that guarantees physical, technological and mental advancement. The Cotati won the Skrull's favor but the Kree - feeling slighted, envious and offended - struck back by killing the Skrull ambassador overseeing the contest right before embarking on a violent ethnic cleansing of the Cotati.
To save the future of their race, the Cotati developed their mental abilities and plant-like appearances to better hide from their murderous Kree oppressors. Thankfully, not all of the Kree were as hostile as feared. The Priests of Pama - a sect of pacifistic Kree who don't agree with their race's violent methods - helped the Cotati repopulate and migrate to a new home in the planet Tamal and the birthplace of their future messiah: Earth.
The ancient Cotati prophecy foretold the birth of the Celestial Messiah through the perfect human and plant being, with Mantis pegged as the mother. How this will play out has yet to be seen but Mantis' god-like presence in the MCU is something worth waiting for.
The Galactic Connection
Mantis is set to be played by Pom Klementieff in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and while her origins may or may not be slightly altered to fit with the sequel's style and narrative, what's guaranteed is that Mantis will have a big role to play and this will definitely have something to do with her origins.
Since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be focusing on the titular team's adventures and the search for Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) father, it would make sense for Marvel to introduce the Cotati and their celestial relevance early on to help ease audiences into the ancient race's mythology.
Case in point, the purpose and backstories of the Infinity Stones were only explained in the MCU's second phase even after the stones were used by multiple characters in the movies that preceded Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). The same treatment for Mantis and the Cotati can be expected from Marvel and its two upcoming space themed movies - both of which will be released on the same year.
The possibilities for the Cotati's role in Thor: Ragnarok are endless and can range from a small nod to a full fledged intergalactic plot point and for all we know, Mantis herself may appear as a representative of the Cotati in Thor's third movie. Add in the confirmation that Thor: Ragnarok will incorporate elements of the popular comic book arc Planet Hulk where the Hulk goes on a gladiator styled rampage and Thor: Ragnarok looks a lot grander than its predecessors.
With the MCU's scope and setting continually expanding with each new entry, it will be interesting to see how a growing universe will depict a race of sentient plant aliens - who are dead-set on fulfilling their religion's prophecies of birthing a savior - to the big screen.