Warning: This article discusses spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Marvel has done it again: given us a movie with two credits scenes!
Yes, yes, fine. Director James Gunn and his cast and crew also delivered the best Marvel movie in years and created a heartfelt goodbye to characters that fans have come to know over nearly a decade.
In what seems to be their final movie together, the Guardians free Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) from the clutches of The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) through the power of teamwork and family. They also manage to save the other creatures that The High Evolutionary is experimenting on and give them a home back at their base of operations on Knowhere.
After this last great adventure together, the Guardians of the Galaxy have a heart-to-heart about what they want from life, from themselves, from each other. Saving the universe more than once — and seeing how close the universe has been to being obliterated each of those times — puts a lot of things into perspective.
While Gamora (Zoe Saldana) has no connection to the Guardians anymore (a pesky consequence of time travel), she does acknowledge her affection for the team before heading back to the space pirates known as the Ravagers. Drax (Dave Bautista) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) say they’re going to stay on Knowhere and lead the fledgling colony. Mantis (Pom Klementieff) tells the group she wants to find herself and go on her own adventure. And Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) hands the captain title to Rocket, telling his friends that he wants to go and see his grandfather on planet Earth.
That’s a lot of retired Guardians! But is it really the end of the road for these heroes?
The mid-credits scene introduces a new Guardians of the Galaxy roster
The mid-credits scene opens with Rocket and his new roster of Guardians. It’s Rocket, telekinetic canine Cosmo (voiced by Maria Bakalova), superpowered himbo Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), klutzy Kraglin (Sean Gunn), a very massive Groot, and one of the Star Kids (platinum-haired children who may or may not be superpowered) rescued from The High Evolutionary’s prison. They’re hanging out just beyond the perimeter of a village, talking about their favorite songs. The new Guardians go around, before Rocket praises “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone.
After Rocket starts the song, a stampede of alien beasts descend upon the village and the Guardians give us a group superhero pose before storming into battle — as the tune plays.
The scene works on two levels. Primarily, it establishes the new Guardians roster now that Rocket has taken over. Gone are the stalwarts like Peter Quill, Gamora, and Drax. Same goes for the newer recruits like Nebula and Mantis. They’ve been replaced by heavy hitters though, as Adam Warlock and Cosmo both have superpowers and Kraglin has mastered the hot pink, whistle-controlled arrow once used by Star-Lord’s adoptive father Yondu. Personality-wise, Warlock’s intellectual density is not unlike Drax’s, and Cosmo’s cute-but-mighty persona feels similar to Mantis. Kraglin is still a bit of a clown and Groot is Groot, but bigger.
This new team of Guardians could function with a similar dynamic to the original team.
The wild card is the unnamed Star Kid. The child appears to have some powers (they glow) but the scene cuts before we see them fight.
During the movie, we find out in passing that The High Evolutionary has tinkered with these children’s genes and made them extremely intelligent. We also see The High Evolutionary study one as she tirelessly runs around in a hamster wheel. We don’t know, however, exactly what powers they may have.
According to the credits attached to the movie, they’re just billed as “Star Kids.” That’s a term that doesn’t really have a direct reference from the comic books — there’s a character called Star-Child, a race of characters called Zebra Kids that The High Evolutionary is intrigued by, and a few Guardians-adjacent characters who have star symbols on their uniforms — but perhaps we’ll get the full picture of the kid’s powers in a future movie.
Rocket’s song choice is also notable. Guardians fans will pick up on it right away. “Come and Get Your Love” was the song playing in the first scene of the original 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Peter has the song queued up on his Walkman while he steals the Infinity Stone from the planet Morag. Rocket playing the song is not just an homage to Quill but also signals, as it did in the first movie, a new introduction for the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Peter Quill and his grandfather have a reunion
The final credits scene gives us a glimpse into Peter Quill’s reunion with his grandfather (Gregg Henry). They last saw each other in 1988, and after spending all these years apart, the two finally get to be a family again. And just like we do with our own families after long periods away, Peter and Gramps have breakfast together and complain.
Peter is talking about someone — an unnamed neighbor — asking him to mow the lawn. He wonders why he should do it when the person asking is more than capable of doing it themselves or finding someone else to do it. Peter’s grandpa agrees and says, in a callback to a running gag in the movie, not to get him started.
The scene ends with a title card stating that the “Legendary” Star-Lord will return, but it doesn’t have a specific date.
While Star-Lord will return in a future movie, it’s unclear whether he’ll be joined by the rest of the Guardians. Upcoming solo movies featuring the Guardians or Peter Quill haven’t officially been announced, but if Guardians Vol. 3 is as big of a hit as its predecessors, don’t expect Marvel to let them dance into the sunset just yet.