ByTom Bacon, writer at Creators.co
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

Perhaps the most powerful and dangerous villain in the to date, Ego is a ruthless villain who sees himself as a god. In truth, though, he's something far more — as we learned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, he's actually a Celestial. And that's big news for the MCU...

What Are The Celestials?

The severed head of a Celestial. [Credit: Marvel Studios]
The severed head of a Celestial. [Credit: Marvel Studios]

In Marvel Comics, the Celestials are one of the most powerful alien races of all time. Their origin is a mystery, and subject of constant speculation — but what is known is that they predate all other life in the universe. According to the Dreaming Celestial, they hold themselves responsible for the balance of life across all of creation; the Celestials traverse the stars, seeding genetic changes to ensure races develop and grow. Disturbingly, though, they also judge; should a world's inhabitants "fail" by the Celestials' unknowable standards, they call upon the powerful Celestial named Exitar to destroy that planet.

So far, we've seen scant evidence of the Celestials in the MCU. In the first , the Collector played a recording that showed the Celestial Exitar using the Power Stone to exercise judgment upon a world. It seems that, back in those ancient days, the Celestials were the ones to wield the Infinity Stones. Their fate since is unknown — fans had even wondered if they'd gone extinct — but the mining colony Knowhere was actually the severed head of a Celestial.

Intriguingly, Ego isn't the first living Celestial we've seen in the MCU. The trailer for included a brief glimpse of what fans recognized as a Celestial. So maybe they aren't as extinct as we thought...

What Ego Reveals About Celestials In The MCU

Ego, of course, changes everything. If we assume that Ego is simply your typical Celestial, then we're dealing with a vastly powerful beings whose essence seems to be composed of some sort of "living light." They can manipulate matter on a molecular level; Ego used this ability to build a planet around himself, and then to create avatars as extensions of his own being. Intriguingly, Ego revealed that he had to return to his world at regular intervals; if he stayed away from this mysterious cosmic "light" for too long, he would splinter apart from it, and his avatar would become mortal.

We can assume, then, that in ancient days, the Celestials typically took on the form of gigantic humanoids (the Collector's recording and the severed head that is Knowhere suggest that). Given that the Celestials can be killed, though, it's likely that the galaxy's inhabitants eventually waged war against the Celestials, rather than sit under their judgment. That would explain why the Celestials seem to be rarer now, and also how they lost possession of the Infinity Stones.

Are There Other Celestials Out There?

A Celestial in the 'Thor: Ragnarok' trailer. [Credit: Marvel Comics / Marvel Studios]
A Celestial in the 'Thor: Ragnarok' trailer. [Credit: Marvel Comics / Marvel Studios]

That brief glimpse of a possible Celestial in the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok raises some fascinating possibilities. If that is a Celestial, then it's possible that the race isn't nearly as extinct as we'd believed. That human-sized figure would clearly be an avatar, akin to the human form of Ego played by Kurt Russell. Of course, we'd have no way of knowing whether or not that particular Celestial had somehow become divorced from its "light," and is now mortal.

Meanwhile, there's some evidence that Ego may not have been the only 'living planet' out there. Season 3 introduced us to the planet Maveth, a world that had once been home to life but had fallen to the Inhuman parasite known as Hive. And here's the catch; on Maveth at least, Hive seems to have a strange degree of control over the elements. Dillon Casey's Will Daniels considers the planet to have "moods" rather than seasons; the world itself seems to react to Hive's presence in order to make its hunts easier; and valleys mysteriously widen as obstacles to prevent Simmons and Daniels escaping back to Earth. When Hive eventually returns to Earth, though, he shows no hint of elemental power.

According to Hive, life on Maveth didn't derive energy from the sun; it derived energy from the planet's core. That sounds eerily similar to the life-forms we saw on Ego's Planet. Is it possible that Hive arrived on the surface of another Celestial world, and that the reason that world began to crumble and die was because the Inhuman creature managed to infect the "light of the planet"? It's impossible to know for certain; the threat of Hive was dealt with long ago, and we're unlikely to return to Maveth anytime soon. But it's an explanation that would fit the facts.

Looking Forward To The Future Of The MCU

The glimpse of a Celestial. [Credit: Marvel Studios]
The glimpse of a Celestial. [Credit: Marvel Studios]

The Celestials of the MCU seem to be very different to those of the comics — they're even more powerful. If one Celestial has survived, then it's likely others have too; and that fascinating glimpse of a Celestial design in the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok is a hint that the ancient race may soon return.

According to , Thanos is seeking to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet in order to "rebalance the universe." That sounds intriguingly close to the Celestial idea of maintaining the balance of life across all creation, and raises the possibility that the Celestials themselves are somehow responsible for inspiring Thanos's quest. At the very least, it's certainly likely that any ancient Celestials would seek out the power of the Infinity Stones that they used to wield...

We've finally met out first confirmed Celestial in the MCU, and let's face it: Ego made quite the impression! But with Celestials finally introduced to Marvel's ever-widening cosmic range, it's pretty sure we haven't seen the last of them. Will the Celestials return in Thor: Ragnarok? Will they be somehow tied to Thanos's insane quest in ? Only time will tell...

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