Marvel Studios is bringing their wildest bunch of characters to the big screen in the form of
. Easily the least recognizable name and series from all the adaptations so far, the Guardians of the Galaxy have taken on a number of forms throughout the years. Featuring a cast of the most outlandish characters in the Marvel universe, join us below as we guide you through the different versions of the team and the characters that make up the Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians of the Galaxy
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Origins & Evolutions: GOTG
The Original Team
In January of 1969, creators Arnold Drake and Gene Colan introduced us to the Guardians of the Galaxy in "Marvel Super-Heroes" #18. Composed of team members Major Victory, Charlie-27, Martinex, and Yondu, these “last of their kind” heroes assembled together as the Guardians of the Galaxy in the far future of the 31st century to battle the Badoon aliens. The team appeared throughout various comics in the '70s and '80s until they finally got their own ongoing series in the early '90s which ran for over 60 issues.
The Original Team - The Film
Only one member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy is confirmed to appear in the upcoming film, Yondu as played by Michael Rooker. Yondu appears rather different in the film than his comic book basis, though he does retain his blue skin and the hint of his mohawk.
In 2008, a new version of the Guardians of the Galaxy was launched by creators Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and featured the likes of Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Quasar, and Adam Warlock among its ranks. The team actually came up with the name after encountering the time-displaced Major Victory of the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
Star-Lord - Origin
Created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan for "Marvel Preview" #4 in 1976, Peter Jason Quill was introduced as a young boy from Earth raised by a single mother. After her death at the hands of a band of aliens, the character went through many an orphanage as a child but as an adult went on to become an astronaut recruit for NASA. After failing to become an astronaut, Quill found work on a space station where he and his colleagues were forced by the “Master of the Sun” into choosing one of their own to become “The Starlord.”
Star-Lord - Pre-Guardians
Throughout his time in space, Quill used his element gun and Star-Lord suit to do battle with a number of different aliens, races, and beings, including the Fallen One, Annihilus, and Thanos. During this time it was revealed that Quill's biological father was actually Jason, the king of the Spartax empire.
Star-Lord - 2008 Guardians
Following his solo adventures and crossover appearances in the early 2000s, Star-Lord put together the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them. It's during this run that the character began to become the scoundrel-like persona he's most known for now as he had many members of the Guardians convinced to join the team thanks to psychic intervention. The character also had a costume change with this iteration which now included his trademark mask and helmet.
Star-Lord - 2013 Guardians
Despite perishing at the end of the “Thanos Imperative,” the latest volume of the Guardians of the Galaxy sees Star-Lord once again leading the Guardians of the Galaxy. The character has once again undergone a costume change with an outfit more in line with his original “Starlord” outfit though he has been known to put on the old mask every now and then.
Star-Lord - The Film
In the film, Star-Lord's outfit is a mixture of the 2008 version of the costume with a bit of an Indiana Jones flair (which was replicated for his new comic series “The Legendary Star-Lord”). Played by Chris Pratt, the character begins the film as a child on Earth before running off into space with Yondu and The Ravagers and eventually meeting the remaining members of the Guardians.
Gamora - Origin
Created by Jim Starlin, Gamora first appeared in "Strange Tales" #180 in June of 1975. The character was conceived as the last of her species, the Zen Whoberi, a trait that she would share with the original Guardians of the Galaxy. Following the death of her people Gamora was adopted by Thanos and trained into the ultimate killing machine that she is known as today.
Gamora - Pre-Guardians
During her time as a servant of Thanos, Gamora took on a number of foes throughout the galaxy, including future teammate Drax the Destroyer. Eventually the character realized that Thanos was planning to end the universe as a tribute to Death and decided instead he must be destroyed. Thanos counteracted her retaliation by trapping her inside the Soul gem where she would stay for some time.
The character went on to serve on the “Infinity Watch” after Adam Warlock came into possession of the Infinity Gauntlet and went mad with power. She was given the task of keeping after the Time gem. Many years later Gamora would return to the Marvel cosmos and seek to reestablish herself as the most dangerous woman in the galaxy which wasn't difficult for her.
Gamora- 2008 Guardians
In 2008, Gamora joind up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in probably her most scantily-clad outfit to date. She ran around with the group for sometime, both leaving and returning a number of times. Gamora battled the Universal Church of Truth both with the Guardians and by herself during this time.
Gamora - 2013 Guardians
The most recent volume of Guardians of the Galaxy has seen Gamora in her most futuristic and spacelike outfit, a black and white armor suit that conceals her entire body. Still very much connected to Thanos, the character is still the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, though she might share that title with new Guardians member Angela with whom she has become a strong ally.
Gamora - The Film
In the film, Gamora is played by sci-fi veteran Zoe Saldana. Saldana was given Gamora's trademark green skin every day for the shoot and wears a leather-like outfit in the film. The character also maintains her connection to not only Thanos but also Nebula, both of whom were raised by the mad titan in the film.
Drax - Origin
Created by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich in 1973's "Iron Man" #55, Drax began as just another human on Earth named Arthur Douglas. After his family was killed by Thanos, Douglas had his soul planted in the killing machine body of Drax by Mentor and Kronos. After learning what happened, Drax vowed vengeance on the mad titan.
Drax - Pre-Guardians
Originally the character had the ability to shoot energy blasts from his hands in addition to super strength, stamina, speed and durability. For many years he appeared as a villiain in a number of Marvel comics, including Captain Marvel, Thor, and The Avengers, before dying at the hand of his daughter Moondragon. The character was eventually revived into the sleeker, less powerful version he's known as today.
Drax - 2008 Guardians
Drax went on to join the Guardians of the Galaxy when they formed after the Annihilation series. At one point during their career, the team is forced to team up with Thanos, which doesn't sit well with Drax who tries to kill the mad Titan.
Drax - 2013 Guardians
Despite dying once again, Drax does appear in the latest incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He appears relatively similar to his 2008 version though he does where mechanical gauntlets on his arms.
Drax - The Film
In the film, Drax is played by Dave Bautista. Though he is no longer a human soul planted in a new body, Drax is still desperate to go after Thanos and Ronan the Accuser following the death of his wife and daughter. While he might not be as green on screen as he appars in the comics, the visual look of “The Destroyer” has very much translated to the big screen.
Rocket Raccoon - Origin
Inspired by The Beatles song “Rocky Raccoon,” the character of Rocket Raccoon first appeared in "Marvel Preview" #7 and was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen. The character, identified as Rocky, appeared in a story titled “The Sword in the Star! Stave 2: Witchworld!” This appearance is often not considered canon.
Rocket Raccoon - Pre-Guardians
Six years later, Rocket would show up once again this time in the pages of "The Incredible Hulk" where Banner helped him take on the villain Judson Jacks, who was attempting to use the artifact Gideon's Bible (no joke) to conquer the Keystone Quadrant. The character later appeared in his own four issue mini-series a few years later.
Rocket Raccoon - 2008 Guardians
Following his adventures in the '80s, Rocket didn't appear again until the Annihilation storyline after which he joined the new Guardians of the Galaxy team. Rocket appeared rather different from previous versions of the character with a more officer-like dress though he had fully become the tactician and weapons expert that he's known to be.
Rocket Raccoon - 2013 Guardians
The latest version of the Guardians once again includes Rocket Raccoon, though he does appear to be a little more vicious this time around. His look is also more racoonish (if you can believe it), and he has a real distaste for cats.
Rocket Raccoon - The Film
Voiced by Bradley Cooper, and performed by director James Gunn's brother Sean Gunn on the set, Rocket plays a pivotal role in the upcoming film. James Gunn has often described the character as “the heart of the movie.” His outfit isn't so much based on any particular costume for Rocket that appears in the comics, and he looks as close to a real raccoon as he ever has before.
Groot - I Am Groot
I am Groot! I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot.
I am Groot? I am Groot! I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot.
I AM GROOOOOT!!!
Groot - Origin
Originally created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers, Groot is actually the oldest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and is even older than Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and Iron Man. He first appeared in "Tales to Astonish" #13 in November 1960 though in quite a different form and tone than he would be later known for. At first, Groot, a member of the Flora Collosus from Planet X, was MORE tree-like in appearance and came to Earth as a monster searching for humans to capture and study. He was handily defeated and would later reappear a few times on Marvel's “Monster Island.”
Groot - 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy
Groot was re-conceived in his slimmer and nicer form for the Annihilation storyline, during which he formed his friendship with Rocket Raccoon and joined up with the Guardians. In his new form, Groot is only capable of saying the phrase “I am Groot,” which was later revealed to be meaning any number of different things but due to the hardening of his vocal cords with age this was the only audible phrase he could muster.
Groot - 2013 Guardians of the Galaxy
Groot once again joins the Guardians in their latest incarnation and his design has changed slightly during the inbetween. Like in the previous Guardians storylines, Groot is capable of being severely damaged, and regenerating himself from the smallest of twigs into his larger form.
Groot - The Film
Voiced by Vin Diesel in the upcoming film, Groot will appear in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy. Director James Gunn described him as “A pretty threatening, powerful dude and he’s also like a puppy. He’s more of an animal than Rocket is.”
The Collector - Origin
One of the Elders of the Universe, Taneleer Tivan was first introduced in "Avengers" #28 and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck. The Collector's mission in life, as you may have guessed, is to collect and catalog any artifacts or lifeforms that might be a threat to the universe at large.
The Collector - The Film
Having first appeared in the Thor: The Dark World post-credit scene, The Collector is played by Benicio Del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy. In the film, the Guardians will meet up with The Collector where the spectacle of his collection will be revealed.
James Gunn revealed a bit more on his involvement in the film on our set visit. “The Collector’s very connected to the overall universe and what’s happening in the movie, but within this movie he’s a supporting character.”
Nebula - Origin
First appearing in "Avengers" #257, the cybernetic space pirate Nebula was created by Roger Stern and John Buscema. The character was an enemy of the collective Marvel group and would also appear as an antagonist in Silver Surfer, Thor, and Captain America comics over the years. She would go on to become a major player in the Infinity Gauntlet and Annihilation storylines, even going so far as to defeat Thanos in a battle.
Nebula - The Film
“Doctor Who” actress Karen Gillan takes on the role of Nebula for the film and even shaved her head for the role. In the film, Nebula is a disciple of Thanos, a pseudo-sister to Gamora, and an ally of Ronan.
Ronan - Origin
Ronan first appeared in "Fantastic Four" #65, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, where he battled Marvel's first family until he was ultimately defeated. One of the high commanders of the Kree empire, Ronan travels the galaxy enforcing their laws. He has appeared in countless Marvel titles including Avengers, Inhumans, Captain Marvel, FF, and Iron Man. He wields the Universal Weapon, a cosmic hammer that is capable of firing energy blasts and is often regarded as one of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy.
Ronan - The Film
Lee Pace takes on the role of Ronan in the film, who Karen Gillan says is “On a mission to destroy all that is weak in the galaxy." His primary means of transportation in the film is the Dark Astor, a 3-mile long ship, and of course he will sport his trademark hammer.
Thanos - Origin
Born on the Saturn moon of Titan, Thanos was created by Jim Starlin in the pages of Iron Man. A death-obsessed mad man, Thanos has appeared in a number of titles throughout the Marvel Universe but is most notorious for seeking out the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gems. Before venturing off to find those relics, Thanos toured the universe with his band of mercenary pirates slaughtering countless in his pursuit of Death.
Thanos - The Film
It was revealed a few months ago that the Mad Titan would be voiced by Josh Brolin in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, though what role he plays in the film has yet to be revealed.