Major spoilers ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. There’s nothing like an MCU post-credits scene to send superhero fans into hyperdrive. If you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 and read *that* teaser, you’re probably wondering the same as everyone else: if this is indeed the last in the Guardians trilogy, how will Star-Lord return? Needless to say, there are countless fan theories.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is the 32nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the final feature film of the Guardians of the Galaxy series. The movie reunites Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldaña as Gamora, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as Groot and Bradley Cooper as Rocket.
Chris Pratt made his MCU debut after being cast as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord in 2014. In the film, he plays a space mercenary from Earth whose quest to find the truth about what happened to his mother takes him on the ride of his life. Pratt has reprised his role as Peter Quill in several Marvel movies over the years, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Love and Thunder, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. But during the second post-credits scene for Guardians 3, it really felt like Quill’s story had come full circle, so what could his return look like?
How will Star-Lord return? The answer to that question is up for debate among MCU fans. The announcement came after the second post-credits scene that depicted Star-lord / Peter Quill readjusting to life on Earth. He’s having breakfast with his grandfather (played by Gregg Henry) who is also holding a St. Charles Post newspaper about Kevin Bacon being kidnapped (a nod to the Disney+ Holiday Special). They discuss moving the neighbor’s lawn as Peter says, “If she needs help mowing her lawn, I’ll do it but I kind of feel like her son should help.” After the scene, it reads “The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return” marking that Star-Lord isn’t retiring from the MCU at all, but the wording is particularly curious.
The Legendary Star-Lord is actually the name of a short-lived comic written by Sam Humphries and released in 2015. It followed Quill in his adventures after leaving the Guardians and primarily deals with Quill’s complicated family history and his father, J’son, the former King of Spartax and who is constantly at war. This background does differ from that of the MCU but both Quills in the comics and films deal with megalomaniac fathers. Kurt Russell, after all,
There were only 12 installments of The Legendary Star-Lord but they are quite crucial in Quill’s growth as a character outside of the Guardians. We’re also introduced to Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat, who is the youngest to join the X-Men. After teaming up on some missions, Star-Lord and Kitty actually start up a long-distance relationship. They end up getting married and she eventually ends up leading the next iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Then again, perhaps Star-Lord will return as a mentor for the new Guardians, which is now comprised of Rocket the Racoon, a fully-grown Groot, Cosmo, Kraglin, Adam Warlock, Phyla, and Adam’s pet Blurp.
On the return of Star-Lord, Chris Pratt told Games Radar in an interview published in May 2023 that he has loved working with director James Gunn but questions what Star-Lord’s story would look like as he departs for the DC Universe: “We really found the voice of Peter Quill together and without him, obviously, I would never have had this opportunity. He writes it, he directs it, he dreams up the music, it’s his imagination on screen. So, to continue to tell the story, it would really be important to honor what he’s done in the first three films and to honor what the fans have grown to love about the character and not simply do it because people might show up to pay for it,” he said. “I don’t want to be cynical in the approach and if that’s the case, I just wouldn’t do it at all. So maybe down the road if something makes sense I would do it but it would really have to check a lot of the right boxes.”
Pratt continued: “It’s been 10 years. Not only making the films and releasing films, and promoting the films, but also the big life moments in between—the babies being born, the weddings, and all of that stuff. Our friendship has just been solidified over and over again to the point that we don’t ever have to work again and we’re still going to be calling each other all the time and talking.”
He concluded, citing the trilogy’s ending: “I really love the idea that 10 years have passed since the first film and fans will have grown up watching these movies. I think it’s a more emotional ride than the previous two [but] it’s exciting to me that people who were kids when the first movie came out are now young adults and will emotionally be ready. They’ve matured alongside the franchise in a way. This is an emotional send-off that feels like it’s specifically made for them.”
Then again, there are other fans that are satisfied that Guardians 3 and Quill’s seeming retirement to earth is the end of his character arc. “I’m hoping for a Disney+ series of just a bunch of shorts of him hanging out, doing jobs for his grandpa and adjusting to life back on earth after all these years.” You know what? Same.
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