Now, I'm not claiming that Kurt Russell has an inflated sense of importance, but if you were paying attention this weekend to the San Diego Comic-Con reveals then you should have heard one of Marvel's big announcement. As a part of a teaser trailer reveal, it was announced that Kurt Russell's formerly top-secret role was in fact as the character who fathered Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star Lord. Most fans of Guardians of The Galaxy have assumed for a while that Kurt Russell would be portraying Quill's father, but we weren't quite expecting the character choice, Ego: The Living Planet.
So, Kurt Russell is set to portray an entire planet, and that's a pretty massive concept to wrap your head around, so I'll give you a moment to contemplate what that means. OK, now that you've imagined Kurt Russell's face on a planetary scale, let's ask the obvious question:
What Or Who Is Ego: The Living Planet?
Let's get the basics out of the way. Ego: The Living Planet has been a part of the Marvel Comic Universe for over 40 years now after being created as one of the countless "cosmic entity" characters that dot the Marvel Universe thanks to the collaboration between Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Ego was created as a sort of experiment that Jack Kirby described like this in a Comics Journal interview in 1969:
I began to experiment …and that’s how Ego came about. … A planet that was alive; a planet that was intelligent. That was nothing new either because there had been other stories [about] live planets but that’s not acceptable. … You would say, ‘Yeah, that’s wild,’ but how do you relate to it? Why is it alive? So I felt somewhere out in the universe, the universe … becomes denser and turns liquid — and that in this liquid, there was a giant multiple virus, and if [it] remained isolated for millions and millions of years, it would … begin to evolve by itself and it would begin to think. By the time we reached it, it might be quite superior to us — and that was Ego.
Technically the comic book history for Ego is fairly confusing, enough so that Ego himself (itself?) has trouble keeping it straight. Which isn't surprising when you consider that Ego is a quasi-immortal, sentient, cosmic being with nearly beyond human comprehension that struggles with the ever present existential crisis that everyone must face some day.
How The Hell Is This Going To Work?
Ego historically has been a jackass of a planet and originally was a Thor supporting character, but over time has become a much larger player in the grand scheme of things. Ego has been both antagonist and protagonist, depending on his mood at the time and how involved he was in the cosmic comings-and-goings of the various other characters in the Marvel Universe. Ego potentially has a large part to play, and it will be very interesting to see how connected James Gunn and the team behind Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 are going to connect Ego to the bigger story of the universe.
Ego has a deep connection to the Marvel Universe, and a long history with two Elder's of the Universe: Benicio Del Toro's Collector and Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster, so it makes sense for Ego to appear, but nobody was expecting it in this form.
Ego has been alone for a long time and James Gunn even confirmed a little bit more when he took to Facebook after the Marvel panel at SDCC by explaining:
Ego seemed, in many ways, like an even more ridiculous character [than Rocket Racoon]. But I asked myself, if a planet was alive, how could that be? And how could it father a child?
The answers to those questions took me to a far deeper place that I expected. I don’t want to give away too many answers at this time. But what Nova Prime said about Peter’s father at the end of 'Vol. 1' is certainly true — he is something ancient and unknown. And, as we will discover, being a cosmic being, alone for eons, is perhaps even more lonely than being the universe’s sole talking raccoon.
It appears as though we will be unlikely to see Kurt Russell in the form of a planet though, as he introduces himself in the reveal trailer after emerging from an egg-shaped "thing." Ego took the form of a biological being to experience what it was like to be human. The reveal trailer ended with Drax asking Ego if he also created a penis to match his biological form, to which Ego answered: "Yes, Drax, I got a penis. It's not half bad, either." [Newsarama]
So from all this we can assume that Kurt Russell's version of Ego is set to spend a great deal of time in this biological form as he interacts with the Guardians and deals with the existential crisis that only a living planet can deal with.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters May 5th, 2017 — Are you ready?