When we look at such heroes as Hulk or Thor, we marvel (no pun intended) at the amount of raw strength they possess. They have abilities far beyond those of the mightiest mortal, but what about beings so strong that they're beyond our ability to comprehend their power? If you were told to envision a "space god," would it look like a 2,000 foot tall, 260 ton humanoid clad in armor, wielding weapons capable of destroying whole planets? What if we told you that at one point there were billions of these space gods? Let us introduce you to the Celestials.
The Celestials were some of the first entities ever to come into existence. Each Celestial has a specific function, like Gammenon the Gatherer, Ashema the Listener and Ziran the Tester. They influence the fate of life everywhere through genetic manipulation as well as destruction. As powerful as they may be, who do the Celestials call their master? How did the Celestials contribute to the formation of the X-Men? Just what's inside that crazy armor of theirs? We answer these questions and more as CBR investigates 15 things you never knew about Marvel's weirdo space gods.
15 WHO CREATED THE CELESTIALS?
In the beginning of the Marvel Universe, there was The First Firmament and nothing else. The First Firmament decided to create life and in doing so, made two types of beings: one group was black and white the other was colored. The black and white beings became the Aspirants and the colored beings became the Celestials. So why did they wind up fighting?
The Aspirants were obedient to the First Firmament, whereas the Celestials wanted autonomy, even to go off and create life and influence the universe around them. The Celestial War was fought and not only did the Celestials defeat the Aspirants, they also overthrew The First Firmament. The Firmament left the universe behind it and went on to create what would later become the multiverse, allowing for alternate realities and parallel worlds.
14 HOW ARE CELESTIALS BORN?
We knew this day would come, where we'd have to explain to you the cosmic birds and the bees; however, the creation of a Celestial, although a beautiful thing, is not quite fully known. For the Blue Celestial to be created, it involved the entirety of the biomass in the Black Galaxy. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Ego tries to create new Celestials... well, the old-fashioned way.
In an alternate reality referred to as Earth X, virtually everyone on Earth has superpowers. It's also revealed that the Earth is actually an incubator for a Celestial embryo and the Fifth Celestial Host intended to destroy the planet to retrieve it. The lives of everyone on Earth-9997 were saved by Reed Richards, Black Bolt, and Galactus (who was, in that universe, Franklin Richards).
13 WHO DO THE CELESTIALS SERVE?
The Celestials have a master plan of shaping the destiny of life throughout the universe, but they report to a higher authority. If the power of the Celestials are off the charts, then who is in control of them? How could such beings possess a master? If a Celestial shows up late to work, which person will be brave enough to dock their pay?
The Celestials, along with The Hoarde, answer to a being that has several names. The entity is referred to by some as The Fulcrum, but to others it's known as The One Above All, in theory the most powerful entity in the Marvel Universe, second only perhaps to Stan Lee... unless, of course, he IS Stan Lee... or Jack Kirby. Or both? Although he's as close to "God" as you can get in Marvel, TOAA also been depicted as a bartender named Jack. Kind of reminiscent of the last episode of Quantum Leap, no?
12 CELESTIALS CREATED MUTANTS
The whole reason for the Celestial War eons ago between the Aspirants and the Celestials was over the Celestials' desire to influence the destinies of life on different planets in the universe. Eventually the Celestials beat the Aspirants and kicked their creator out of the cosmos. This left them with the ability to tinker with life in weird and wondrous ways.
The Celestials did genetic experiments on the planet Earth five million years ago. Early humans were genetically modified to form the handsome Eternals and the grotesque Deviants. Both groups developed advanced technology and the Eternals eventually left to live on Saturn's moon, Titan. The genetic manipulation that the Celestials performed also would eventually result in the creation of the mutant gene. The creation of Inhumans, however, was due to the genetic engineering of the Kree.
11 THERE'S A CELESTIAL BURIED IN CALIFORNIA
Yes, even the incredibly powerful Celestials can have political drama and in-fighting. Tiamut the Communicator (also known as the Dreaming Celestial) came to Earth and was going to purge the planet of the dominant species at the time, which was the Deviants. Arishem challenged Tiamut as a way to gain more political standing. Other Celestials backed up Arishem and Tiamut was imprisoned for thousands of years in California under the Diablo Mountains.
In modern times he's awoken by the Deviants, but decides not to destroy all of humanity. For a period of time, Tiamut froze in place, standing by the end of the Golden Gate Bridge. There, the Dreaming Celestial stands, a golden two-thousand foot, 260 ton statue. As powerful as Tiamut is, Mr. Sinister temporarily gained control of the Celestial, transforming part of San Francisco into a city filled with Mr. Sinister copies.
10 A CELESTIAL FOUGHT THE AVENGERS DURING THE STONE AGE
The Celestials fighting the Avengers sounds like it would be an exciting battle, pitting the sheer might of Thor and Hulk as well as the technological genius of Tony Stark against these Gods from space. However, what if we told you that the fight between the Celestials and the Avengers occurred over one million years ago on Earth during The Stone Age?
Believe it or not, way back in 1,000,000 BC, the Avengers were around and consisted of Agamotto, Star Brand, Phoenix, Thor's father, and versions of The Black Panther, Iron Fist and Ghost Rider (no motorcycles back then; he had a wooly mammoth). They encountered a Celestial referred to as the Fallen. Once defeated, the Fallen was trapped in an underground chamber in an area that would eventually become the country of South Africa.
9 CELESTIALS CAN DIE
The Celestials are all powerful, but as we learned in the events of Time Runs Out, even such abstract entities as Eternity and The Living Tribunal can be destroyed. So if that's the case, then what could possibly destroy the Celestials besides destroying the entire universe? One weapon is as old as the Celestials themselves referred to as the Godkiller, another weapon has Asgardian origins.
Before Mjolnir, Thor sported an axe called Jarnbjorn. He used it to fight Apocalypse back in the 11th century and it became lost, only to be retrieved by Uriel and Eimin, the Apocalypse Twins. The twins used Jarnbjorn to assassinate a Celestial (first time in history) known as the Celestial Gardener and used the Celestial Death Seed to create the new Horsemen of Apocalypse in the resurrected forms of Banshee, Daken, The Grim Reaper, and The Sentry.
8 WHAT POWERS THE CELESTIALS?
The Celestials have both created and destroyed whole worlds. The Celestials have as much power as Odin and Galactus does. However, Galactus gets his power by consuming the energy of an entire planet, so what exactly is powering the Celestials? Remeber, the entities you're looking at aren't technically the Celestials; you're looking at a Celestial encased in space armor, so in theory the Celestials could be the power source for their own armor.
The Celestials have also created pocket universes and could be drawing energy from extradimensional sources. Reed Richards postulated that they could be powered by hyperspace, the source of all energy in the Marvel Universe. Reed has a vested interest in learning about the Celestials since they at one point considered making his son a Celestial Host!
7 BILLIONS OF CELESTIALS WERE KILLED BY ONE WEAPON
How many Celestials comprise the Celestial race? At one point there were billions of them in the galaxy, and it's kind of hard to imagine that kind of raw power in one entity, let alone billions! When we look up into the sky, it's not littered with weird space gods, so what happened to them? What has the power to take out so many universal superpowers? Would you believe it was just one weapon?
In the battle between the Aspirants and the Celestials, the Aspirants created the ultimate weapon that would later be known ominously as the Godkiller. How menacing is this thing? It stands approximately 5 miles tall, looks like the ultimate Jaeger from Pacific Rim and eons ago killed billions of Celestials. For unknown reasons, the Aspirants took the Godkiller off-line, which gave the Celestials enough time to mount a counterattack and defeat the Aspirants.
6 BLUE CELESTIAL
The Celestials work in mysterious ways, and our minds may not be able to fathom their actions or their motivations. In the 1990 issue of Thor #424 wrapped up the Black Galaxy Saga, the Celestials became a little less enigmatic when Thor, as well as several others, got to witness the birth of a Celestial. It was dubbed the Blue Celestial because of its color (although the armor was originally green).
Just how was the Celestial born? It involved absorbing the contents of the Black Galaxy, a bioverse comprised of living matter. Combined with the detonation of the the living armor of Stellaris, the genetic material of Hercules and Eric Masterson, the Blue Celestial was created, with the event fully documented by The High Evolutionary. The Red Celestial constructed the armor that housed the Blue Celestial.
5 CELESTIALS WEAR ARMOR
The Punisher and Iron Man both wear armor, because at the end of the day they're just regular flesh and blood human beings. Guys like Hulk and Luke Cage don't need protection because their skin is just as strong as armor. When you look up at the Celestials, you're seeing a being encased in armor, but why do they need armor when they're so incredibly powerful?
The Celestials are enigmatic so it's hard to say. Perhaps they're made of energy and the armor is only there to help them preserve their form. The Celestial Gardner's armor was punctured by Jarnbjorn, an Asgardian weapon wielded by the Apocalypse Twins. The Dreaming Celestial removed its helmet when talking to One Above All, revealing a fiery humanoid head. Their armor also contains tools and weapons that they use in passing judgment on planets.
4 THE GUARDIANS WORK FROM A CELESTIAL HEAD
If you watched the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, you saw the Guardians meet Taneleer Tivan also known as the Collector. In the film, The Collector operated out of a place called Knowhere. If at first glance it looks like Knowhere could be the severed head of a giant robot... that's because it is! The Collector's home just happened to be the head of a Celestial. What happened to the rest of his body?
In the comics, Knowhere is located in a place considered to be the End of the Universe, a designated port of call for cosmic wayfarers. The Chief of Security is a telekinetic space dog named Cosmo, who originally was a part of the Soviet space program. If you're in the area, grab a drink at a bar called Starlin's, named after writer Jim Starlin, who helped create the (in)famous Marvel characters Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, and Thanos.
3 CELESTIAL HOSTS
The Celestials wanted to be active participants in the evolution of life in the universe, so much so that they fought a war and ousted their creator from reality over it. The Celestials got their wish and played an active role in the fate of life in different galaxies. What does their master plan look like exactly? It involves Hosts (not the kind that have dinner parties) taking active roles in the planets they visit.
The First Celestial Host came to Earth about one million years ago, resulting in the creation of the Eternals and Deviants, as well as what would later become the mutant gene. Celestials can destroy just as easily as they create: The Second Host resulted in sinking Atlantis and the Third Host fought the Sky Gods over rights to mess with humans. Celestial Hosts can deem a planet unworthy and have it destroyed.
2 FRANKLIN RICHARDS WAS ALMOST A CELESTIAL
The Celestials are thousands of feet tall, encased in space armor, and are some of the oldest, most powerful entities in existence. They control the fate of whole galaxies through genetic engineering as well as pure destruction. It's rare that they can look at another being and see someone that comes close to their awesomeness. The Celestials actually did find someone so powerful they wanted him to join their ranks, and that person was a little boy.
He wasn't just any boy, though. No, we're talking about Franklin Richards, the son of Sue Storm and Reed Richards. Although there are different versions of Franklin displaying a variety of power levels, he's often thought of as being one of the most powerful mutants in Marvel. The Celestials refer to Franklin as a Universal Shaper with powers beyond Omega classification. Future versions of himself have fought and even destroyed Celestials.
1 THERE'S ONLY ONE LEFT
At one point there were literally billions of Celestials in the universe, and the Celestial race was decimated by the Aspirant weapon aptly known as the Godkiller. Eons later, the rest of the Celestials were eradicated from the galaxy by an enigmatic race some call The Ivory Kings but most people will know as The Beyonders. These events would lead up to the 2015 event Secret Wars and the reboot of the Marvel Universe.
The Beyonders went on a cosmic killing spree. Not only did they kill the Celestials, they also destroyed the abstract entities Infinity, Eternity, and even the Living Tribunal. However, one Celestial was saved by the entity called The Queen of Nevers. The Celestial was named One Above All (not to be confused with The Fulcrum) and The Queen has plans on using the Celestial in a battle with The First Firmament.