SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has stormed theaters nationwide en route to a $145 million domestic opening, and worldwide to a tune of nearly half a billion dollars, but it’s not just the premiere bunch of a-holes who captured the attention of audiences. The sci-fi sequel introduced a different group of characters led by Sylvester Stallone as Starhawk, but savvy comic readers will quickly realize they were anything but new.
Before the Guardians became synonymous with the likes of Star-Lord and his lovable band of misfits, the inaugural team’s lineup actually consisted of the characters Stallone assembles during the credits of Guardians 2. Following the death of Yondu, Starhawk honors the Ravager’s death alongside Charlie 27 (Ving Rhames), Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), and Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus).
In a recent interview with Collider, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige elaborated on whether the group’s inclusion was just a treat for die-hard fans, or if their futures held something more. “It’s always a bit of both,” Feige admitted. “It’s always, we do it because it’s fun in the moment, and it’s fun as a potential sneak of what’s to come. I think all things being equal, I think James and everybody at Marvel would love to see the continued adventures in some aspect, whether it’s a large part in a future movie or as James just said to somebody else, a Howard the Duck level appearance down the line of any or all of those original Guardians. But really the most important immediate thing for us really just to establish and showcase that yes, those original Guardians, though they may never call themselves that in our movie mythology, but they exist.”
In theaters now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stars Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Glenn Close as Irani Rael and Kurt Russell as Ego.