Following on from an ass-kicking session at San Diego Comic-Con and a recently released teaser trailer, director James Gunn has well and truly started the hype train moving for the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The world is craving more of what Gunn brought with the first film — namely, an eccentric, fun-loving adventure. He took a comic that even hardcore #Marvel nerds knew next to nothing about and turned it into one of the surprise hits of 2014.
One trick Gunn has up his sleeve in terms of taking Vol. 2 to the next level is the big reveal of #StarLord’s dad. A reveal that’s as big as a planet, because it was revealed at #SDCC this year that Star-Lord’s father is Ego the Living Planet, who will be played by Kurt Russell.
While we’re certainly happy that Gunn didn’t prolong the reveal in a never-ending series of mystery box teasers, we have to wonder how a planet managed to hook up with Star-Lord’s mom in the first place. Well, apparently Ego the Living Planet decided to explore the universe using a Kurt-Russell-shaped avatar as his way of navigating smaller spaces. Like many of the characters from the first Guardians of the Galaxy, most of you probably aren’t familiar with Ego the Living Planet. With this former planetary villain now being unmasked as Star-Lord’s dad in the #MCU, we thought it’d be worthwhile to dig through the character's comic book history to bring you some of his most interesting facts and tidbits.
1. Ego Was Originally A Thor Villain
The character of Ego the Living Planet was originally created by Jack Kirby and #StanLee, and was introduced as a #Thor villain in Issue 132, September 1966. His debut soon followed that of Galactus, when Kirby was building out his cosmic pantheon of creations for the Marvel Universe, and before the introduction of the alien Kree and the Colonizers. These characters formed the backbone of what would soon become Marvel’s space age mythology, with Kirby explaining of the character’s origin 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. ... [Y]ou 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."
2. Ego Fought The Weird Alien Version Of Thor
OK, so I’ll be entirely honest. This section is going to be less about Ego and more about Beta Ray Bill, because if there was ever a reason for Guardians of the Galaxy to cross over with the #Avengers, Beta Ray Bill would be that reason. But who is Beta Ray Bill? He is some weird combination of sci-fi alien and Norse god who fought Thor and was deemed worthy to wield Mjolnir, Thor’s enchanted hammer. Bill gets the costume and everything when he does. Of course, Thor eventually gets his hammer back and Bill is given what is essentially a duplicate of the hammer, called Stormbreaker. And he also fights a giant living planet with a beard.
There is no better place for intersecting Guardians of the Galaxy’s wacky hijinks with the Avenger’s slightly-less-wacky hijinks than a weird alien monster who proves his worth against Thor and the Norse pantheon. That's not all, though, as Beta then goes off to start a fight with Star-Lord’s dad, all while dressed like someone who doesn’t quite get what he should be wearing to a renaissance festival.
3. Ego Has a Brother Named Alter-Ego Who’s Held By The Collector
When it was first announced that Benicio Del Toro would be joining the cast of the original movie, it was suspected that he would serve as the main villain, the Collector. Instead, his was more of a supporting role that barely even served as an antagonist, considering how much screen time Big Bad Ronan the Accuser was given. But the Collector played a unique role in Ego’s history.
In the comics, Ego eventually learns he was created by the Stranger as part of a science experiment. This experiment resulted in the creation two sentient bodies, one being Ego, and the other his brother Alter-Ego, who’s been held captive by the Collector ever since he was born. The Stranger had programmed Alter-Ego to hate Ego in a bid to discover which would create a stronger will: freedom or captivity.
The two brothers are forced into conflict, but eventually Thor intervenes, saving Alter-Ego. Now his remaining fragments orbit around Ego, forming a moon, and the two travel across the cosmos as a family. The larger story of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Is currently being kept under wraps, but given the fact any major actor involved in a Marvel movie has a contract for multiple film appearances, there is a chance we could see some form of this storyline appear in Vol. 2. It would make for a great story arc to see Peter Quill team up with his dad to take down Alter-Ego, and could also make for a great plot point to have the Collector serve a greater role within the series — aside from introducing Howard the Duck to the MCU.
4. Ego Hired Rocket Raccoon To Kill Space Lice In His Beard
Ego the Living Planet had space lice. No. really, that’s a thing. Apparently there are some downsides to growing a giant beard if you’re a living planet with no way to groom yourself. So how do you handle that? Well, you hire #RocketRaccoon to kill them for you. That’s right. You hire a small, fur-covered varmint to delouse you.
This is actually a relatively recent development; the storyline was featured in the Rocket Raccoon comics, so maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to see a nod to it in the new movie. On the other hand, maybe it’s best that we just let that be. I can’t see anyone ever letting the self-proclaimed Star-Lord live down the fact that a smart-ass gun-toting raccoon had to remove parasites from his weird planet-sized father.
5. The Ultimate Match Between The Living Planet And The Giant Pink, Armored Planet Gourmand
Ego once faced off against the planet-consuming giant #Galactus. Of course, because we’re dealing with comics, nothing particularly conclusive has ever happened, but man, oh man do we end up with some wacky stories out of it.
First, Galactus tries to eat Ego after Ego is thwarted in his plans for interstellar conquest by means of eating every spaceship he could find. Thor intervened, and Ego, being grateful, decided to let all the refugees from the planets Galactus keeps eating live on him. Then Ego goes completely insane after someone wandered off with a piece of the planet for research, and Thor has to once again intervene because Ego just ate all the refugees he let live in him. And this time Galactus has to help Thor stop Ego by jamming a giant star drive into the planet’s south pole to prevent the planet from staying in one place long enough to eat anyone else.
Eventually, Ego gets his shit together and manages to figure out how to control the star drive, which lets him travel faster than the speed of light, and he decides to hunt down Galactus for revenge. Long story short, he couldn’t find Galactus but decides to take his frustrations out on Earth instead. The #FantasticFour slap Ego around and that star drive he has loses control and pushes him into the sun. A while later, Ego reforms himself from leftover particles and joins a plot to destroy Galactus, because this feud can transcend death itself. It keeps going from there, but I think we’ll put a pin in it for a little while.
Obviously most of this won’t make it into the movie, and if it does, it will be very much altered by the necessities of keeping decades of comic book lore from confusing the average moviegoer. But what do you think? What parts of the rich and crazy history of Ego the Living Planet will make into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? Gunn was able to turn Groot and Rocket Raccoon into household names, so maybe, just maybe we’ll get to see him and Russell really cut loose.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, but before you do, check out this sneak peek of the movie, which is set to hit cinemas on May 5, 2017.