Before Rihanna took the stage for the highly anticipated halftime show, Peter Quill and the crew of the Benatar were tapped as her opening act at the "Super Bowl" this year. Unfortunately, they didn't travel from Knowhere and land the ship in State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona to rock the house. Instead, Marvel Studios unveiled a brand new trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."
Considerably less somber and ominous than the first preview for the upcoming Phase Five film, the latest one brings us back to the joke-cracking badasses that we've come to know and love over the past decade. However, as this is the final chapter of this story with some extremely high stakes, it definitely sets the tone for an epic conclusion for Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Mantis, Nebula, Rocket, and Groot.
So before we start anxiously counting down the days for the team to return to theaters, let's take a look at the new trailer and break down all the exciting details that we'll get to see in the third and final feature film in James Gunn's acclaimed intergalactic franchise.
Previously In The MCU…
To start out, the latest trailer recaps Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana's journey as Star-Lord and Gamora while "Since You Been Gone" by Rainbow plays in the background. He recounts the moments in the 2014 film that led to them falling in love. He describes her heartbreaking death at the hands of Thanos in "Avengers: Infinity War" when the Mad Titan needed to sacrifice something that he truly loved in order to get the Soul Stone. And he touched on how "she came back [to life]" in "Avengers: Endgame," but in reality she was a Variant of Gamora from earlier in her timeline where she hadn't met Peter or the Guardians yet. Glossing over that fact, Quill says that his girlfriend "came back a total dick." Before the House of Ideas' recognizable logo hits the screen, Nebula chimes in by saying, "He left out some important information, but that is the gist of it."
Considering how Quill has spent these movies (and even "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" on Disney+) reconciling his feelings with parts of his family like his mother, father, and sister, the only thing he has left to sort out is this situation with Gamora. Since leaving Earth after Tony Stark's funeral, he's been looking for her with the hopes that she will have the same feelings for him as his Gamora did. Based on what we see here, it might be a little harder to convince this version of the deadliest woman in the galaxy, but it'll be fun to see Peter try.
The High Evolutionary
While Peter Quill would probably tell you that Star-Lord is the main character of the Guardians' movies, writer and director James Gunn has repeatedly said that Rocket Raccoon is the emotional core of the story that he set out to tell. Recently, he even said that the whole reason he even came back to do a third movie in the first place was to finish Rocket's story. And in order to do that, it's time to meet the High Evolutionary.
Created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics, the character will be played by "Peacemaker" star Chukwudi Iwuji when he makes the jump from the page to the screen. While he was originally created as a foe for Thor and other cosmic heroes in the Marvel Universe, the MCU's version of the character is the one who experimented on Rocket and turned him into the beloved wise-cracking, gun-toting rodent we see before us. In the new trailer, as we see his reflection in Baby Rocket's eye, this scientist reveals that his "sacred mission is to create a perfect society." However, Rocket sets the record straight by saying, "He didn't want to make things perfect. He just hated things the way the are."
Based on the glimpses we've seen of this storyline so far, our emotions are going to run the gamut throughout this movie. It's definitely going to be heart-wrenching to learn more about Rocket's past. But on the flip side, we will get to see Baby Rocket. Sorry, Baby Groot! There's a new adorable little face in town.
Eat Your Heart Out, T-1000
Speaking of Rocket, it looks like he isn't the only one that got a new arm since the last time we saw them. It appears that Nebula has also received some upgrades to her cybernetic enhancements that take a page from James Cameron's book. Similar to the tech utilized by another "Peacemaker" alum (Robert Patrick) in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," her arm essentially liquifies and turns into a blade.
This new addition to Nebula's arsenal is sure to come in handy when the team takes on Will Poulter's Adam Warlock, the powerful artificial being created by The Sovereign from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" to destroy Star-Lord and company. But it's pretty wild that his existence basically stems from high priestess Ayesha's grudge with Rocket over some batteries. Some people never let things go.
Head And Shoulders Above The Rest
Now that we've discussed the High Evolutionary and his whole deal, we should take a moment to appreciate his appearance from a costuming point of view. This trailer offers the best look at Iwuji's character yet and we get to see him in a number of different forms. One moment he has hair, then the next it looks like his face was ripped off at his hairline and stapled back on. Literally, the top of his head looks like the top of a dumpling that has been pinched shut. But knowing how Gunn does things, this look likely came together with the help of incredible make up artists and their tried and true techniques for practical effects. It's both unsettling and fascinating as a fan of stagecraft and as someone who knows damn well that the High Evolutionary 100% experimented on himself to become his idea of "perfect."
Just as in the first trailer, we see Rocket hugging an otter with robotic arms. It is assumed that this character is Lady Lylla, an heiress on the planet Halfworld that becomes Rocket's soulmate. She was created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema for "Incredible Hulk" #271 from 1982 and made a handful of appearances in the pages of Marvel Comics over the years. More recently, she appeared in the acclaimed video game "Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series." She's even gotten her fair share of merch from that appearance, so fans have clearly embraced her and Rocket's pairing. Although, if her debut in the MCU is anything like that game, True Believers should probably have some tissues at the ready.
While we cannot confirm nor deny whether Lylla (or Rocket, for that matter) meets a tragic end at this time, let's just enjoy them being happy and adorable while we can.
After making her debut in "Guardians of the Galaxy" as part of the Collector's collection and then popping up again in the holiday special, Cosmo the Spacedog returns in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" to join forces with the team on Knowhere and to continue to be the best puppy in the galaxy. Voiced and motion captured by "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" and "Bodies Bodies Bodies" star Maria Bakalova, the character has started to share more characteristics with her comic book counterpart. Cosmo is not only a more prominent part of the Guardians team in this chapter, but she has also been displaying more of her psionic abilities. That doesn't necessarily mean that she'll be standing toe to toe with Adam Warlock or the High Evolutionary on her own, but it's possible that she could enter the fray if needed.
Also, it is worth noting that the comic version of Cosmo is a male dog. However, for the MCU Variant, James Gunn switched things up. He revealed on Twitter that the beloved space dog from the comics was originally based on a female dog from the Soviet Union who died in orbit in 1957, so he was simply "going back to the original source material" with his take on the character.
It's Time To Face The Music
As happy as the majority of this trailer has been, fans will likely be faced with heartache when the credits roll on "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." That's definitely the vibe that Pom Klementieff's Mantis is giving in this quick shot, which also includes a seemingly dejected Drax and Nebula, as well as other people that may or may not be inhabitants of Knowhere or possibly prisoners of the High Evolutionary. Plus, an emotional Rocket is heard reiterating this line from the first trailer: "We'll all fly away together into the forever and beautiful sky." Combine all of that with Gunn's promise that some of the Guardians will die in the movie, it's better to prepared for some tear-inducing moments on the horizon.
On A Lighter Note
However, the trailer doesn't end on such a dour sentiment. In trademark Guardians fashion, we get a humorous bit featuring Quill, Gamora, and Nebula. Based on their matching jumpsuits, they've likely been imprisoned again, except this time potentially by the High Evolutionary or The Sovereign. No matter who has them, it seems like they have time in between getting captured and escaping for some levity when Gamora insinuates that Star-Lord is actually in love with Nebula. This doesn't go over well with the latter, but the former considers it for a moment before getting yelled at. Peter even tries to flirt a bit before getting shut down.
This is a great example of Karen Gillan's expanded role in these movies. Her character has gone from ruthless villain to reluctant ally to full fledged team member over the years. In fact, as we saw in the holiday special, she clearly cares for the team, particularly Rocket since they both have similar experiences with being unwillingly experimented on. It really is a testament to what an excellent performer Gillan is and how she has such a grasp of her craft to display such a range of acting ability. Surely, "Doctor Who" fans have known this for some time now, but it's great that the rest of the world can see it as well.
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" blasts off into theaters on May 5, 2023.
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