Ever since the release of the first Iron Man movie, Marvel Studios has looked to its comic books for inspiration. The source material was always there to inform the cinematic portrayal and adventures of our favorite characters -- some movies adapted direct storylines from the comic books, like Captain America: The Winter Solider and Civil War, while others veered into their own, all-new directions, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2.
Director James Gunn created his very own little cosmic corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing audiences to his particular twist on the team of misfit space heroes. Gunn is already slated to return for Vol. 3, and the director could easily continue the original story he started back in the first film. However, were Gunn to turn to the comics for story ideas, he would find that the latest issue of All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #146, by Gerry Duggan and Marcus To, might just be a perfect source of inspiration for the Guardians next solo cinematic adventure.
The Guardians will next be seen in the massive team-up movie Avengers: Infinity War and its still untitled sequel Avengers 4 and, obviously, we have no idea where these two movies will leave the cosmic team -- but we can take a few guesses. With Thanos making a play for the Infinity Stones, it's a safe bet he'll leave no stone unturned across the universe. The first stop on his list could very well end up being the planet Xandar, home of the Nova Corps, where the purple Power Stone is currently being kept safe. And if the Mad Titan and his Black Order come knocking, there's a good chance that the admittedly weak Nova Corps will not stand a chance.
This is exactly where All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #146 comes in. As the series' inaugural Marvel Legacy arc, "Infinity Quest," begins, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Baby Groot, Rocket Raccoon and the newly recruited, Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, have all signed up to become members of the Nova Corps. It turns out that the Nova Corps is in the early course of rebuilding itself, having been completely decimated by the events of The Thanos Imperative event series. With less-then-passionate new officers and limited resources, this new version of the intergalactic police force is having a hard time emerging from its predecessor's ashes. Thanks to their reputation and experience, the Guardians have joined in, to try and help return the once powerful galactic force to its former glory.
With a version of the Nova Corps having been firmly established in the MCU, and with them poised to meet the wrath of Thanos, it's pretty feasible that they might be all but wiped out of existence in Avengers 3 or 4. This would open the door for Guardians in Vol. 3 to see that they have to take it upon themselves to rebuild the Corps, in order to protect the entire universe. On top of that, how great would it be to see Paul Rudd's Scott Lang join the team after Avengers and Guardians inevitably meet in Infinity War? This would be a fascinating development for the character, and could lead to a freshening of the space shenanigans in Vol. 3, with a new Earthling on board the Milano.
While he didn't figure in the issue, thanks to advance solicitations and reports, it's already been announced that Adam Warlock will figure into Marvel's GotG comic as soon as issue #150. Seeing as James Gunn confirmed that Warlock would feature in Vol. 3 after the director included an after-credits stinger that prepared Warlock's imminent arrival in Vol. 2, there might be a lot to mine in the comic''s upcoming issues. The character will no doubt receive a blank slate of sorts under James Gunn's care, and his appearance in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy could end up providing the perfect blueprint to bring the character to life on the big screen.
At the end of the day, there are many directions that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could take. James Gunn has more than proven that he can take the least expected road and give us an exciting and emotional spectacle. Considering Star-Lord and his friends originally met while they were all detained by the Nova Corps in the first movie, having the Guardians help the Nova Corps rebuild and reach their full potential could certainly be a great way to bring things full circle, as well as propel the MCU forward into the future... and the furthest reaches of space.