Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is full of hidden clues and nods to the past, present, and future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the comics.
The fifth movie of Phase 5 wraps up James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy saga. The writer/director is a huge fan of Marvel’s comics and loves to link his movies to the larger MCU.
That’s why his movies have so many hidden gems, like the one from the first movie that no one has found yet. Fans know to look out for all the secrets and references in Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
But Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is not just about the Easter eggs. It has a strong story that focuses on the original Guardians team and their emotional farewell.
This is also James Gunn’s last movie for Marvel before he moves to DC Studios. The movie has been praised for its heart and humor as well as its action and spectacle.
There are also many fun details, guest appearances, and comic connections that make it even more enjoyable. Here are all the Easter eggs, MCU references, and comic links in Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
1. Guardians Take Over the Marvel Logo
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 shows how important it is right from the start, as the characters replace the usual Marvel Studios logo intro. The logo intro still has the same format, but instead of showing scenes from all over the MCU’s history, this version only shows the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The intro logo sequence usually changes a bit to add the latest projects, but this is the first time that Marvel Studios has only used footage of the characters in the next movie. This shows that this is the final chapter for the Guardians of the Galaxy.
2. Howard the Duck’s Cameo
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has a Howard the Duck cameo, as James Gunn always does. He is seen for a moment on Knowhere and Seth Greene plays him again.
This is the fourth time Howard the Duck has been in live action in the MCU. He was also in Avengers: Endgame. It looks like he stayed on Knowhere with the Guardians after that.
3. Lylla’s Story Changes from the First Movie to the Third
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 brings Rocket’s otter friend Lylla to the screen, after she was mentioned in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. The Nova Corps knew about her when they arrested Rocket and checked his record.
Lylla shows up in Rocket’s origin story and dies tragically later on. This makes it hard to understand how the Nova Corps knew her. James Gunn said that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 might have to change something from this scene. It seems that Lylla’s story is what had to be different to make Rocket’s story work.
4. Linda Cardellini and Mikaela Hoover’s Return
Rocket’s friends Lylla, Teefs, and Floor are voiced by two actors who have been in the MCU before and one who is new. Linda Cardellini plays Lylla, after she was Hawkeye’s wife Laura Barton in Hawkeye in 2021.
Mikaela Hoover plays Floor, and she has worked with James Gunn many times. She was also in the first Guardians of the Galaxy as a Nova Corps member. Teefs is voiced by Asim Chaudhry, who is new to the MCU.
5. Missing Members in Stakar Ogord’s Team
Sylvester Stallone is back as Stakar Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and he has his Ravagers/Guardians team with him. He talks to Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), Krugarr, and Mainframe (Tara Strong) again, but Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh) and Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames) are not there.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hinted that the team would reunite, but there is no explanation for why Aleta and Charlie-27 are not part of Stakar’s Ultimate Ravagers group.
6. The Xeronians and Animen
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has some deep-cut Marvel references as Easter eggs when High Evolutionary talks about the species he made. He says he created Xeronians and Animen as well as the Sovereign.
Xeronians are a peaceful human-like alien race that first appeared in the comics in 1972, but they had nothing to do with High Evolutionary. Their king fought with the Hulk once. Animen are different. They showed up in the comics in 1995 and they worked for High Evolutionary.
7. Counter-Earth from the Marvel Comics
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 adapts High Evolutionary’s comic book backstory and abilities through the portrayal of Counter-Earth. The planet is where High Evolutionary wants to make his perfect society.
He tells the Guardians that he has had to destroy and make Counter-Earth again many times because his experiments were not good enough. Counter-Earth has been in Marvel’s comics since 1972 and it has also changed a few times.
8. Phyla-Vell’s Introduction
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 introduces a new Marvel hero, Phyla-Vell, who is one of the children experimented on by the High Evolutionary. She is a powerful cosmic hero who joins the new Guardians of the Galaxy team in the post-credits scene.
The MCU has changed her origin story by giving her powers from the High Evolutionary’s experiments, instead of the Quantum Bands that she uses in the comics. She might get these bands later on depending on her future adventures.
9. Reference to Drax’s Daughter
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has some Easter eggs about Drax’s daughter. Her role in Drax’s past is hinted at a few times, but she never shows up.
Drax’s daughter is called Kamaria in the MCU, but she is Moondragon in the comics. Kamaria is thought to be dead in the MCU, but there is a chance that Moondragon will come to the live-action movies someday.
10. Drax Becomes A Dancer
Drax joins the dance party on Knowhere with the other Guardians and the rescued children in the final scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
This is a callback to his famous quote in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: “There are two types of beings in the universe. Those who dance and those who do not.” Drax initially claimed that he and his wife were not dancers, but his dancing in the end shows how much he has changed.
11. How Rocket Got His Name
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 shows how Rocket got his name through his past memories. When he was with High Evolutionary, he saw a rocket go up in the air from Counter-Earth.
“Rocket” was one of the few words the little raccoon said then and it made him want to fly with his friends someday. That’s why when they choose to have their own names instead of High Evolutionary’s numbers – 89P13 for Rocket – he says he wants to be called Rocket.
12. 2001: A Space Odyssey Reference
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 pays homage to a famous sci-fi movie with its space suits. The space suits that Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Nebula, and Gamora wear when they sneak into Orgoscope are very colorful.
Some people thought they were inspired by the popular video game Among Us. But James Gunn said on Twitter that they are actually a tribute to the Stanley Kubrick classic, which had similar space suits.
13. Cameos by DC Actors
James Gunn’s work on The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker brought some DC actors to Guardians of the Galaxy 3. His wife and Peacemaker star Jennifer Holland is Administrator Kwol and The Suicide Squad’s Daniela Melchoir is Ura, both working for Orgoscope.
Pete Davidson also has a small voice role as the gross blob-like creature that High Evolutionary keeps. They are not the only ones in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 who have been in Gunn’s DC and Marvel movies. Nathan Fillion, Mikaela Hoover, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, and Sylvester Stallone are also in both.
14. The Broker Returns
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has another cameo in the Knowhere game scene. The Broker is one of the players. The character was only in the first movie before. He did not want to buy the Orb from Star-Lord.
The Broker is partly why the Guardians of the Galaxy came together. His actions made Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot meet and get arrested.
15. The Abilisks are Back
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has Abilisks again. The big alien creatures with tentacles were in the start of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The team fought them to save the Sovereign.
They have a very different role in the third movie. Mantis learns to connect with them. This is possible because Abilisks do not eat humans, only batteries.
16. Nathan Fillion’s Third MCU Role
Nathan Fillion plays Master Karja, an Orgoscope security guard, in Guardians of the Galaxy 3. This is his third different role in the MCU. He was an alien prisoner in Guardians of the Galaxy.
He also had a small cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Simon Williams, an actor who turns into the superhero Wonder Man – who will now be played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in a Wonder Man Disney+ show.
17. Yondu’s Cameo
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has a cameo from Michael Rooker’s Yondu. Kraglin sees him at the end as a way to inspire and motivate him. Yondu says a line from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that he said before.
He says part of his “I don’t use my head to fly the arrow boy, I use my heart” quote to teach Kraglin. This is a big moment for Kraglin. It helps him start to control the arrow and fin that were Yondu’s.
18. Peter Quill Admits He Helped Thanos Snap
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has a big MCU reference when Peter Quill says he is partly to blame for Thanos’ snap. He tells what happened in Avengers: Infinity War and says that his emotional reaction to Gamora’s death made the Mad Titan win again.
Peter’s action got a lot of hate online after Avengers: Infinity War came out. Now, the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 MCU reference shows that he feels some guilt for Thanos snapping him and half of all life in the universe away for five years.
19. Peter’s Mom & Grandpa’s Photo
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has cameos from Peter Quill’s mother and grandfather in a photo. Gamora finds the polaroid picture of them with Peter in his backpack, which is the same one he had when Yondu took him in 1988.
This is the first time that the movies have shown that Peter Quill has something else to remember his mother by besides the Awesome Mixes. The Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Easter egg shows that he could have been looking at a photo of his mom and grandpa all this time.
The official name of Peter Quill’s grandfather is revealed to be Jason Quill, which is a nod to Peter’s comic book father, J’son. In the comics, J’son is the king of the Spartax Empire, a powerful alien race.
This does not imply that Jason Quill has any connection to the Spartax or their royalty, but it is a clever Easter egg to include after Gunn changed Peter Quill’s father to Ego in the MCU.
21. Star Lord Uses the F-Word
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has the first full f-bomb in an MCU movie, thanks to Star-Lord. After years of cutting off different tries to say the word, Peter clearly says “Open the f***ing door” when he talks to Nebula.
The Guardians of the Galaxy movies have almost had an f-bomb before, with Groot maybe saying a version of it in the second movie.
22. Possible Reference to Eagly from Peacemaker
Among the animals that the High Evolutionary experiments on, there is an eagle that might be a nod to James Gunn’s previous work on Peacemaker. The DC show featured Peacemaker’s loyal companion Eagly, an eagle with a personality.
The same bird appears several times in the final scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy 3. This could be more than a coincidence, as Peacemaker was the last project that Gunn completed before returning to the MCU. It would make sense for him to pay homage to his eagle friend in his Marvel movie.
23. Cosmo Repeats a Famous MCU Line
Cosmo pays tribute to a classic MCU line in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy 3. As the Guardians get ready to fight an alien invasion, she tells Rocket that she is “on your left.”
This is a reference to the times that Captain America and Falcon have used the same phrase in previous MCU films. Steve Rogers first said it to Sam Wilson when he outran him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Sam returned the favor when he arrived in Avengers: Endgame’s final battle, and now Cosmo has joined them in using the line.
24. Kevin Bacon’s Alien Abduction Makes the News
Guardians of the Galaxy 3’s final post-credits scene nods to Kevin Bacon’s appearance in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Peter’s grandpa is seen reading a newspaper that has a headline about Kevin Bacon sharing his alien kidnapping story.
This is a direct reference to how Mantis and Drax snatched the actor to surprise Peter for Christmas. Even though he was returned safely, it seems Kevin Bacon decided to tell the media about his experience.
25. Star Lord Will Return
Guardians of the Galaxy 3’s final Easter egg is the end-credits tag that says, “The Legendary Star-Lord will return.” This is a comic book reference and an upgrade for Peter Quill’s superhero name, which he has been trying to popularize.
It is a reference to his solo comic series called Legendary Star-Lord from 2014-2015 written by Sam Humphries. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might be his last adventure with the Guardians for a while, but the new superhero name is a nice tribute to his comic legacy.
About Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The High Evolutionary, Rocket’s creator, emerges to reclaim his creation threatening to destroy the Guardians to get what he wants. Star-Lord must lead his team and protect one of their own while dealing with his emotional turmoil over Gamora. The stakes are even higher as Adam Warlock hunts the team on the orders of The Sovereign’s leader, Ayesha.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to hit theaters on May 5, 2023. Previous cast members will reprise their roles, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, and Pom Klementieff. Will Poulter and Chukwudi Iwuji will join the cast as Adam Warlock and The High Evolutionary.