That Avengers: Endgame spells out big changes for all corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. As we said in our review, the long-awaited conclusion to Marvel’s Phase 3 gives fitting endings to some characters, while paving the way for others to take the spotlight.
And when the spotlight next falls on the Guardians of the Galaxy in Phase 4, they might look very different from their last film. Let’s analyze.
[Ed. note: This post will contain major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.]
The Guardians were among the silos of the Marvel Universe hit hardest by Thanos. Even after he brutally murdered Gamora in his quest for the Soul Stone, the Mad Titan snapped the rest of the group out of existence, with only Nebula and Rocket surviving. And even after the Avengers succeeded in undoing the Snap, the Guardians’ status quo is very different.
That’s all due to Past Thanos’ discovery of their attempt to change the past, his capture of the Present Nebula, and the subsequent coopting of her time travel tech to hitch a ride to his future — with Past Gamora, Past Nebula, and all of his Past Armies in tow. By the end of the film, Iron Man managed to destroy Thanos and his troops with a big heroic sacrifice; and both Past Gamora and Present Nebula managed to do away with Past Nebula all on their own.
That leaves a Past Gamora in the present, pulled out of the timestream mere days before the events of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. She’s never really met any of the Guardians, she’s barely processed her defection from her foster-father Thanos, and she certainly hasn’t been dating Star-Lord for years.
So it’s no wonder that it seems like she decided to jet off on her own at the end of Avengers: Endgame and do some soul searching. As the Guardians board the Milano, Gamora is nowhere to be found, except on Star-Lord’s screen where he’s attempting to search for her.
But that’s when we get introduced to the newest member of the team.
Thor is with the Guardians of the Galaxy now
Thor got put through his own ringer in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame, with the loss of, well, his brother, his father, a sister he never knew he had, his friend Heimdall, his home, a good deal of his people, and being unable to stop Thanos from snapping — all in about the space of a week. There’s no blaming him for dealing with all that grief and helplessness by checking out completely.
So it’s good to see him back on track at the end of Endgame, coming full circle to something he realized for the first time in Thor: The Dark World. That is, he’s an adventurer, not a ruler. Queen Valkyrie can watch over New Asgard in Norway better than he ever did. Thor is going back to the stars.
He brands the new teamup “The Asgardians of the Galaxy.”
The Asgardians of the Galaxy is already a real comic
Sort of spinning out of Marvel’s 2018 Infinity Wars event, Asgardians of the Galaxy is exactly what it sounds like: A team made up entirely of Asgard-related characters, jetting around space doing what the original Guardians were too busy dealing with their own drama to do.
Now don’t get too excited — you won’t recognize almost any of the characters here from the MCU. But if you squint, some of them might be familiar.
There’s Skurge the Executioner, who made his MCU debut and met his demise in Thor: Ragnarok (played by Karl Urban). The blonde with a braid is the Marvel Comics version of Valkyrie, who in this comic shares a body, Shazam-style, with the Midgardian archaeologist Annabelle Riggs. And the big robot in the back is the Destroyer, revealed at the end of Asgardians of the Galaxy #1 to be a disguised Kid Loki, a precocious teen version of Loki.
Rounding out the team is the Midgardian hero with an Asgardian hammer, Thunderstrike; Angela, Thor’s part-angel half-sister; and Throg, the frog of thunder.
Throg is the best part of the book, and I mean that quite seriously.
Together, the Asgardians find themselves battling Nebula as she tries to use a zombie god army to trigger Ragnarok, so pretty usual Marvel Comics space adventures. If you’d really like to dig into something called Asgardians of the Galaxy even if has almost nothing to do with Thor and the MCU Guardians, you can pick up a collected edition of issues 1-5 right now.