Guardians of the Galaxy might be Marvel’s most elaborate film to date when it comes to easter eggs. I’ve watched the film twice now and have noticed a ton of inside jokes, references to characters from the comic books, 1980′s callbacks and more. I attempted to compile the most complete listing of Guardians of the Galaxy easter eggs, including (possible spoilers teased in the following):
- Who is Peter Quill’s father? Does Peter Quill’s mother have a relationship with Captain America?
- The geography of the four revealed Infinity Gems (which stones have been revealed and where are they?)
- Many Marvel comic book characters you didn’t see appear in Guardians (including a prominent female Krylorian techno-artist)
- A look at many of the treasures which can be seen inside The Collector’s museum (who or what is in the cocoon?)
Take a look at the Guardians of the Galaxy easter egg list after the jump!
The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy, contains spoilers for some of the previous Marvel Studios films, and sometimes talks about the comic book origins of characters and storylines which could hint at the future direction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Be aware.
Updated: Nova concept art, An image of the Dark Elf in The Collector’s Museum, An image of Nathan Fillion’s character, Howard the Duck information and photo, Dancing Groot video, Spartoi concept art, James Gunn teases Peter Quill’s father.
Peter Quill’s Mother
Laura Haddock plays Peter Quill’s terminally ill mother Meredith Quill. But you might also recognize Haddock from a previous Marvel Studios movie. Haddock played a brief role as a woman seeking Captain America’s autograph in Captain America: The First Avenger. You can see her appearance about 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the following clip:
is it possible that Peter Quill’s mother was also in attendance at Steve Rogers’ 1940 show appearance? The ages make this rather unlikely, but hey, you never know. Meredith Quill did encounter Peter’s father, an alien from another galaxy — so its possible their journey together could have displaced time. However, its very unlikely the Marvel films will explore this.
The character Meredith Quill first appeared in Marvel Preview #4 – The Starlord: Who he is and how he came to be, and has had 15 appearances in the history of Marvel comics.
Who is Peter Quill’s Father?
In the movie Starlord’s father is teased in a couple different ways. In the opening of the film, an ill Meredith Quill tells Peter that his father was an angel made entirely of light. After the final battle of the film, the Nova Corps reveal to Peter that they have found something strange when they scanned him. Quill says, “You mean I’m not Terran?” and Nova Prime responds that his mom is human, but that his father is something incredibly ancient that hasn’t been seen before. Gamora theorizes that his mysterious biology might be why he was able to hold the Infinity Stone for so long without being destroyed. And a quick scene with Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) reveals that he was originally hired to abduct 11-year-old Quill to deliver the boy to his “jerk” father, which he decided against.
So who is Peter Quill’s father? Here is some information on the comic book backstory of the character courtesy of the ComicVine database:
Once there was a man called Prince Jason of Spartoi, and he was wrongly accused of being a traitor by his father. This action caused Jason to run away. When war broke out Jason was asked to come back home. But on the way home Jason’s ship converter blew out. He then had to make a crash landing in the Earth’s Colorado Mountains. A woman named Meredith Quill helped him out of the ship. She would get him back on his feet and help rebuild his ship. He fell in love with her and conceived a child. In order to return to the war he had to leave Meredith behind so she wouldn’t get hurt. Jason locked her memories so that she would be spared the pain he felt. … When the war against Spartoi and Ariguan had been in Spartoi’s favor, Jason asked his uncle Gareth to bring his family to him. But, instead Gareth put a hit on the Quill family. When Peter was eleven he saw men come in and kill his mother. The men left not knowing Peter was there. Peter swore that he would kill those men. Gareth had told Jason that his family had died during birth. Peter with much hope ran away from his orphanage to go to a greater destiny.
Now of course, the comic book storyline doesn’t play out with 11-year-old Peter escaping after aliens killed his mother. The fiery symbol which Star-Lord wears in the movie is actually the insignia of his father’s race, the Spartoi. Screenwriter Nicole Pearlman’s original draft of Guardians of the Galaxy involved Quill finding out about his father, and visiting the king on his planet.
When it was revealed Nathan Fillion has a small part in Guardians, some fans speculated that he may be playing Jason of Spartoi. He does not, but more on that later.
Update: Director James Gunn has now gone on record to say that Peter Quill’s father will “definitely not” be the character who was in the comics.
That’s been part of the plan since the beginning, that’s something I had to work out before we shot the screenplay. We wanted to make sure Yondu’s place in everything made sense and it does, so it’s all very specific stuff.
Gunn says that only four people know who Star-Lord’s father is: Kevin Feige, Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn.
The Planet of Morag
After the opening of the film, we see grown up Star-Lord on the planet of Morag. Peter Quill has landed on the deserted wasteland planet in hopes of stealing a treasure hidden inside the temple ruins, lost for many centuries. The planet doesn’t appear in the Marvel comics but the name Morag is a tribute to the first leader of the Kree.
The prison where the Guardians of the Galaxy come together is called The Kyln. In the comics, The Kyln looks very different, a series of spherical units located next to the galactic barrier known as the Crunch. The Kyln was primarily used as a power plant for neighboring worlds but also serves as an “inescapable, intergalactic prison known to hold very powerful prisoners inside.” Peter Quill even did time at the comic book version of The Kyln.
Straight out of the Marvel comics is Knowhere — the mining colony located on the edge of the universe in the decapitated head of a long-dead Celestial being. In the comics, Knowhere becomes the base of operations for The Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Fourth Infinity Gem
Guardians of the Galaxy introduces us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fourth Infinity gem. The Orb which Peter Quill steals from the Morag temple ruins contains the Power Gem (confirmed by Gunn). Star-Lord himself describes the orb as possessing “a real Ark of the Covenant, Maltese Falcon vibe”. So there are only two (or three) more Infinity Gems not introduced on screen (as far as we know).
Everyone is expecting [The Avengers 3](movie:738027) to be about Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet storyline. The classic comic book story was released as a six-issue comic book limited series in 1991. Written by Jim Starlin and penciled by George Pérez and Ron Lim, the story involved Thanos gaining control of the six Infinity Gems, which he mounted on his left glove to form the Infinity Gauntlet.
Each Gem grants its bearer complete mastery over one aspect of the multiverse: Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power. Now all-powerful and desperate to win the affections of Death, Thanos decides to offer the entity a gift of love by completing a task she had given him, erasing half the sentient life in the universe (including most of the X-Men, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four),quite literally with a snap of his fingers. The surviving heroes on Earth band together—guided by the newly resurrected Adam Warlock—to battle Thanos.
In the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki’s staff is with Baron von Strucker on Earth (speculated by some fans to be an infinity gem, while other dispute that theory), the Tesseract is on Asgard with Thor (or someone), the Aether is with The Collector on Nowhere and the Orb is on Xandar protected by the Nova Corps.
The Infinity Gauntlet has already appeared on screen in a Marvel Studios film, however very briefly. The infamous glove could be seen in the background of Odin’s treasure room during the attack by Frost Giants in Thor, seen above.
Inside The Collector’s Museum
There are a ton of Marvel comic book and movie references to be found inside the containers in The Collector’s museum. Director James Gunn told us in July:
There’s a lot of stuff in the Collector’s Museum. And for me, it was mostly just really fun. As a Marvel fan, giving the actual fans something that they can freeze frame on their Blu-Ray at home and just kind of pick out everything that’s in there. So there are, I mean, seriously all those boxes have something interesting in them, so it’s pretty fun.
Marvel head Kevin Feige explained to us how they chose which easter eggs to hide:
It’s the scene that was, you know, that we always wanted to do. The Collector. And we wanted to use him the way we use him in there. But as it came time to fill all those things, it became crazy, crazy potential.
Here are a few that have been confirmed:
Cosmo the Space Dog: A former test animal of the Soviet Space Program, Cosmo was launched into Earth’s orbit as part of an experiment but he drifted off into space, where he became mutated and gained powers of a telepathy and telekinesis. He came to serve as Knowhere’s security chief, and a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. In the movie, Cosmo the Space Dog (played by Fred the Dog) escapes the destruction of the Collector’s Museum and is likely roaming around Knowhere. The end credits scene features Cosmo licking the face of The Collector before he runs off. So if the Guardians set up shop in the celestial head, they could eventually adopt a new four legged member of the crew.
Howard the Duck: Blink and you’ll miss him during the movie — Howard The Duck can be seen sitting in a cage hanging from the ceiling of The Collector’s museum. But if you stick around until the end of the credits you will get to see and hear the forgotten Marvel character up close talking to the Collector in his destroyed lab.
Director James Gunn reveals how the end of credits stinger happened when talking to Empire Magazine:
“I think it was some combination of me and the editor Fred Raskin who said, ‘Let’s put Howard The Duck in there. What if The Collector looks over and sees Howard The Duck sitting there?’ And I wrote down the line, ‘Whaddya let it lick you like that for? Gross.’ Fred and I thought it was hilarious, but we weren’t sure that (Head of Marvel Studios) Kevin Feige would go for it. But we told Kevin and Kevin couldn’t stop laughing, so that’s how it came about.”
But could Marvel be setting up a Howard the Duck movie? Gunn dismisses it, but admits anything is possible:
“I’ll be honest with you, I was just talking about it with my assistant right now,” laughs Gunn. “It’s possible Howard could reappear as more of a character in the Marvel Universe. But if people think that’s going to lead to a Howard The Duck movie, that’s probably not going to happen in the next four years. Who knows after that?”
Marvel head Kevin Feige talked briefly to CBR about the cameo:
[Laughs] I think it would be fun to lay claim to Howard and to remind people that he’s more than just a pseudonym for film failure. And that he is a Marvel character. That would be fun. And no legal wrangling over pants with Disney this time! No. I wasn’t even aware of all that stuff until recently!
Ain’t It Cool News was able to confirm that Seth Green was the voice of Howard the Duck in the post-credits stinger. Howard The Duck was actually the first Marvel character to have a theatrical feature film. The infamous 1986 film was produced by George Lucas. Also of Note: Marvel recently made a bunch of the Howard the Duck comics available online.
A Chitauri Soldier: A Chitauri soldier is seen in one of the cages. You remember the Chitauri as the alien invaders who attacked earth in the battle of New York in The Avengers. There is no indication if this Chitauri was involved in the Earth battle or if he was acquired elsewhere in the galaxy.
The Tesseract aka The Cosmic Cube: You may remember that in the credits scene of Thor: The Dark World, Sif and Volstagg visit The Collector and hand him the Aether, because they don’t feel comfortable having two infinity stones so close together on Asgard. Of course, the reveal was that The Tesseract/Cosmic Cube is the other infinity stone, for now “safe” in the Asgardian safe. So, while the Tesseract isn’t actually in The Collector’s museum, in Guardians of the Galaxy a holographic image of it can be seen when the Collector is giving Peter Quill and Gamora his lesson on the history of the Infinity Stones, along with the Aether (which is in the museum somewhere).
Adam Warlock's Cocoon: One of the Collector’s treasures, more visible in the Thor: The Dark World end credits sequence (screencaped above), shows a container with a large cocoon. Fans noticed that the strange cacoon looks like the cocoon from the comics which housed Adam Warlock.
Beta-Ray Bill? A bunch of comic book fans believe they have spotted Beta-Ray Bill in the pan shot of The Collector’s Museum. Described as “some kind of brownish figure with a red cape behind glass” to the right of the Collector. We can’t confirm this appearance, although many people believe they saw the horse-headed alien in the museum. Created by writer-artist Walt Simonson, Beta Ray Bill first appeared in Thor #337 (published November 1983). He belongs to an alien belonging to a race known as the Korbinites, and is the first “being outside of the Marvel Universe’s Norse pantheon to be deemed worthy enough to wield Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.”
The Collector’s Museum is left in ruins at the conclusion of [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073), but director James Gunn hints that we might see more of that character and his many treasures in future Marvel films like the announced 2017 sequel.
“I will say that is probably not the Collector’s only museum,” he said. “I think he probably has other spaces in which he keeps his incredibly vast selection. That’s just his Knowhere wing [in the movie].”