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A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

Updated: May 2, 2023

Catch up on the Guardians before the final movie is released.

The most kickass team in the galaxy is returning for one final adventure together — we’re, of course, talking about the lovably dysfunctional Guardians of the Galaxy.

With Marvel’s Phase 5 officially underway, the next release will probably be a sad one, as it’s likely the last Guardians movie we’ll get with the entire ensemble.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 releases in theaters May 5, so if you need a little refresher about what the Guardians have been up to since we’ve last seen them, here you go.

Guardians of the Galaxy in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Credit: Disney

Who Are the Guardians of the Galaxy?

The Guardians of the Galaxy are a group of intergalactic superheroes who, well, guard the galaxy. The group met under less-than ideal circumstances (where they basically all wanted to kill each other), but have morphed into one big family of misfits who work together (and sometimes with the Avengers) to guard the different planets.

The Guardians of the Galaxy gang is made up of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), and Nebula (Karen Gillan).

Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Credit: Disney

Who Is Star-Lord?

Star-Lord, also known as Peter Quill, is a human who was taken from Earth shortly after his mother died and raised by a group of Ravagers. The Ravagers, led by Yondu (Peter’s father-like figure), were well-known thieves. Peter eventually leaves the Ravagers to thieve on his own — when he decides to steal the Orb.

Peter beats the Ravagers to the Orb, steals it first, but then is thrown into jail. The jail is where he teams up with Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot — who decide to work together to steal the Orb back, but then never work together again. However, after they defeat their mutual enemy, Ronan, they decide to continue to work together as the Guardians of the Galaxy with Peter as their leader. And the rest is history — well, sort of.

What Are Star-Lord’s Powers?

Star-Lord is half-human, half-celestial — which we find out in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. His father, Ego, was a Celestial who had been looking for Peter and wanted the two to combine their powers to create new worlds — Peter eventually defeats Ego after he learns that Ego killed his mother.

Because of his parentage, Peter has superhuman abilities and can control energy. He’s also a scrappy fighter and thief — and can fly spaceships impressively. Star-Lord also wears a helmet that allows him to survive in space and gives detailed visuals.

Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Credit: Disney

Who Is Gamora?

Gamora is a trained assassin who was raised by Thanos (yes, that Thanos). She served in Thanos’ army until she realized his plan to find all the Infinity Stones and wipe out half the population. So, she betrayed her “father,” and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Gamora and Peter have a special relationship — while the two never officially became a couple, it’s clear they have feelings for one another.

Unfortunately, they never got far enough to make it official because Thanos captured Gamora and took her to the planet Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone. To gain the Infinity Stone, Thanos must sacrifice the thing he loves the most, which is Gamora. He throws her off the cliff — her life in exchange for the Soul Stone.

What Are Gamora’s Powers?

Gamora is deemed the “deadliest woman in the galaxy,” so while she has no special powers, she is trained in combat — and is exceptional with a sword.

If Gamora Is Dead, Why Are We Talking About Her?

Well, in true Marvel fashion, when one version of a superhero dies, another one appears. Current timeline Gamora did die at the hands of Thanos. However, as you may remember, in Avengers: Endgame, there was a bit of time travel involved.

Past-Thanos and his army, which included Gamora, got word that present-Thanos had accomplished their goal but that the Avengers were trying to undo everything. So, past-Thanos comes to the present day, bringing his army to fight the Avengers.

Past-Gamora is convinced to betray past-Thanos and she teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers to kill Thanos. So, present-Gamora is still dead, but past-Gamora is still alive — she just doesn’t know about the events that happened in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It’s unclear if/how she will be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but we don’t put anything past Marvel nowadays.

Who Is Drax?

Drax the Destroyer is on a quest to avenge his slain wife and child. He is a total lunkheaded ex-criminal who speaks his mind and whose first instinct is to attack. He is incredibly strong, but also the comic relief of the group.

What Are Drax’s Powers?

Drax is a skilled fighter — he has super strength, quick reflexes, and agility. He’s exceptional at both hand-to-hand combat and fighting with knives.

Drax can heal himself quickly — his skin is quite impact resistant, but it also regenerates quickly if he is injured.

Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Credit: Disney

Who Is Rocket?

Rocket the raccoon, along with his partner Groot, is a freelance criminal. He was created as a result of an illegal experiment, so he is a talking racoon — but never call him that.

Rocket is a great engineer and often builds the Guardians’ new weapons and tools for fighting bad guys. He also helped Thor build his battle ax, Stormbreaker, in Avengers: Endgame.

What Are Rocket’s Powers?

Besides being a talking racoon, he doesn’t have any “super” powers. But, he is incredibly smart and can engineer almost anything. He’s also a skilled marksman and pilot — and can hold his own in combat.

Who Is Groot?

Groot is a walking tree-like figure — who can speak, but can only say “I am Groot,” which some of his pals are able to translate. Groot has taken on many forms over the course of the Guardians and Avengers movies because he died in Guardians of the Galaxy. In an attack, Groot sacrificed himself by growing around the Guardians to save them.

However, Groot is able to regrow himself from just a tiny twig. So, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Groot was just a baby. And in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Groot was around four years old, but behaved like a teenager. It seems Groot will physically be in his pre-teen era in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but who knows how he’ll act.

What Are Groot’s Powers?

When unprovoked, Groot is a lovable tree, but when he’s angered, he turns into a true fighter. He has super strength, can grow and retract his body and limbs as needed, and he is essentially weapon-proof. As mentioned, Groot can also regenerate himself from any shard.

Who Is Mantis?

Mantis joined the group in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 after Ego is destroyed. Before that, she was working for Ego who used her powers to help him sleep.

Mantis and Drax have a close, friendly relationship. It was also revealed in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special that Mantis and Peter are siblings.

What Are Mantis’ Powers?

Mantis can feel others’ emotions just by touching them — and can also alter their emotions as well as put them to sleep. She is also resilient to injury and can hold emotions and sleep alterations for a while.

Who Is Nebula?

Nebula was also raised by Thanos — making her Gamora’s sister. Nebula and Gamora were raised always fighting one another, which Gamora always won, so Nebula held a grudge against her for years.

Additionally, every time Nebula would lose, Thanos would force a cybernetic enhancement to be placed in her — making her nearly half-robot.

Nebula and Gamora (as well as the rest of the Guardians) have a pretty rocky relationship. Nebula is known to backstab anyone and everyone who gets in the way of her plans. She eventually teamed up with the Avengers for good to try to stop Thanos from getting the Infinity Stones — and was the one who convinced past-Gamora to betray past-Thanos in the final battle.

She left the final battle with the Guardians so only time will tell if the rocky relationship is finally on the mend, which it seemed to be in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, but you never know with Nebula.

What Are Nebula’s Powers?

Nebula is a deadly assassin, second only to her sister. She is well-versed in combat and often chooses to fight with her electroshock batons.

Because she is made up of many robot modifications, she can withstand great pain and also regenerate quickly — or easily replace her body parts with new, robotic ones.

Kraglin in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Credit: Disney

Is There Anyone Else I Need To Know About?

The only other confirmed character in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 that we have seen before is Kraglin (Sean Gunn). Kraglin was a member of the Ravagers and semi-joined the Guardians of the Galaxy after Yondu’s death in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

He’s more of a thief than a fighter, but after Yondu’s death, Kraglin learned to use the captain’s Yaka Arrow, which is controlled by a mohawk-esque fin and a simple whistle. While he may have skipped out on the battle with Thanos, he seemingly joined the Guardians full-time when Thor was with the team.

Cosmo the Spacedog is another character that we’ve met before but seems to be a full-time member of the Guardians now. Cosmo was sent into space by the Russians but was captured by the Collector — who we met in Guardians of the Galaxy. Her cage was broken open and she was able to escape, but we didn’t see her in any other Avengers or Guardians movies until The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special where she seems to be working closely with Rocket.

Cosmo can talk and has telekinesis powers.

Where Did We Last See the Guardians?

After the final battle in Avengers: Endgame, the Guardians, along with Thor, take back off into space. At the beginning of Thor: Love and Thunder, we see the god fighting alongside the Guardians, but he eventually decides to leave to find the God Butcher.

The last time we saw the Guardians was during Christmas time when Drax and Mantis teamed up to give Peter a great Christmas after Gamora’s death. The short Christmas special showed The Guardians all together, without past-Gamora, on the planet Knowhere, which is where Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is also set.

Guardians of the Galaxy in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Credit: Disney

What Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 About?

Truly, we’re not sure why we even include this section anymore because we never really know anything. But, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will follow the Guardians (sans Gamora) on a dangerous mission to protect the galaxy — and one of their own.

This movie seems to lean heavily into Rocket’s backstory, which has led many fans to speculate that Rocket might not make it out of the movie alive. This guess is backed up slightly by the movie’s synopsis that reads “A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.”

However, one scene in the trailer shows Nebula carrying an unconscious Peter, so that could be a bad sign for Quill, too.

Additionally, Gamora is featured in the trailer a few times. Whether that’s a flashback or past-Gamora making a comeback somehow, we can’t even begin to guess.

The only thing we know for sure is that this is the final movie in the original Guardians trilogy that the actors and director, James Gunn, signed on for. Gunn has made it clear he will not be making a Guardians Vol. 4 anytime soon — and Dave Bautista has also made it known that this will be his last run as Drax. So, we’re prepared for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to emotionally destroy us with a final goodbye to our favorite inter-galactic bunch.

But what we do know is that it will emotionally destroy us with a great soundtrack playing because if there’s one thing Guardians movies will always have going for them, it’s the music.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters May 5.


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