The first Guardians of the Galaxy was a hit, and expectations are high for the sequel. One of the strangest twists so far announced, though, is that we're about to see one of Marvel's more unusual cosmic creations - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will introduce us to Ego, the Living Planet! In the comics, Ego is the only true living planet; but we may already have seen one of these ancient worlds in the #MCU. And it's not where you think... Check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' Theory below...
Welcome to Maveth!
We're introduced to the planet Maveth - named from the Hebrew word for "Death" - in the #AgentsOfSHIELD episode "4,772 Hours," and given a lot more information in the episode appropriately entitled "Maveth". Maveth is a desert world, and appears to be the moon of a gas giant; its orbit means it gets precious little sunlight, but energy for life is generated from the planet's core. Millennia ago, the Kree trapped the Inhuman monster known as Hive on Maveth by transporting him through the Monolith; since then, early forms of Hydra have sent explorers through, ostensibly to find a way back, but also partly as sacrifices to keep Hive alive.
In the early 2000s, Hydra agents took the Monolith to NASA; an expedition was sent through, but was unable to return. Trapped on Maveth, the expedition studied the world; their geologist found evidence that the world had once been a paradise, but that something had destroyed it. As Hive began to prey upon the expedition members, they began to suspect that the 'something' in question was Hive.
Later, Hive would give us insight into Maveth's past:
"There used to be nine cities on this planet. The beings who lived there were fairly advanced. But they feared change. They were easily divided. They warred among themselves, destroyed their entire race."
Assuming this is accurate, there was a thriving civilization on Maveth when Hive arrived. Although Hive would never view itself as responsible for the destruction, it's telling that the nine cities only warred among themselves after Hive's arrival. It feels like a twisted version of the Garden of Eden, with Hive as the Serpent who brings sin into the world.
But There's One Mystery
We're introduced to Hive and Maveth in the episode "4,772 Hours". Elizabeth Henstridge's Jemma Simmons was unwittingly transported through the Monolith, and wound up allying with Dillon Casey's Will Daniels - the last survivor of the NASA expedition. Daniels is terrified of Hive, and seems desperately paranoid. He views Maveth as a threat in and of itself; he declares that the planet has "moods" rather than seasons, and flees from any sighting of Hive. He believes he's survived for years out of luck, although it's possible that Hive was merely saving him for when it needed a new host.
Here's the catch: as paranoid as Will seems to be when he insists that the entire planet of Maveth is out to get him, he's quickly shown to be right. Some incidents can be put down to coincidence - the widening of a valley so Will and Jemma can't get to the portal, for example. But others can't be so easily dismissed. Whenever Hive approaches, it's as a dark figure in the midst of a dust-storm; the very world seems to react to Hive's presence, contributing to make Hive's hunt easier. For that to happen once would be a coincidence; for it to happen consistently, all the way through the episode? That's no coincidence.
Upon the Inhuman's return to Earth, Hive shows no ability to manipulate the elements. Its natural powerset is that of a parasite, possessing and influencing others, while living within the host body of a dead person. So how was Hive doing this on Maveth?
Is Maveth a Living Planet?
In a surprise twist, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is going to introduce us to Ego, the Living Planet. In the comics, Ego is a cosmic experiment conducted by a being known as the Stranger. In the #MCU, though, it seems likely that living planets are a natural phenomenon; we're told that Chris Pratt's Star-Lord - son of Ego - is the child of something "ancient". In another significant difference, we know that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will feature Kurt Russell playing the part of Ego, manifesting as a humanoid and interacting with the Guardians. Biologically, this physical manifestation must have been real enough to impregnate Peter Quill's mother...
Now for the theory: what if Maveth was a living planet too? Rather than derive their energy from the sun, life on Maveth derived energy from the planet's core - its heart, if you like. According to this idea, Hive came to a living world, but divided its peaceful cities against one another. Perhaps Maveth made the mistake of manifesting a physical form to confront Hive.
We have no way of knowing how Hive's parasites would interact with a living planet. If we assume that Hive was able to take control of the physical manifestation, then by extension Hive would gain control over the entire world. We know that Hive's parasites do damage to the host form, so over the millennia you'd expect to see the planet gradually begin to die. Paradise no more, Maveth would become a dead world, with only a handful of predators surviving by feeding on one another. By the time of Simmons's arrival, Maveth is mostly dead; the last fragments of the planet's consciousness are still under Hive's control, and Hive effortlessly manipulates these to generate its signature dust-storms.
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It all seems to fit. According to this theory, in Ego and Maveth we have a natural, ancient race of living planets; when Hive was cast through the Monolith, the creature arrived on Maveth and preyed upon the entire world. The theory reconciles Hive's later comments with Simmons's experience on Maveth, while giving us a surprising and unexpected continuity nod to the comics. I suspect we'll never know the truth; I doubt S.H.I.E.L.D. will ever revisit Maveth, and I can't imagine the world will get a nod in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. For now, though, it's a cool possibility, and adds some real depth to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s strongest episodes.
What do you think? Was Maveth a living planet? Let me know in the comments!