A Refresher on Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which marks James Gunn’s final project at Marvel before he heads over to DC, closes the Guardians series with a touching final movie for the quirkiest team in the MCU. The movie takes place following the events of Avengers: Endgame and the one-off Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas special that aired on Disney+. For those who aren’t caught up, some of the plot points in the final installment might be a little confusing.

As a quick refresher, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s post-credit scene showed the Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign Ayesha devise a plan to destroy the Guardians by creating the man-god, Adam Warlock (Will Poulter).

In the third installment, viewers get more insight into the backstory of the team’s foul-mouthed raccoon, Rocket (Bradley Cooper). The movie has received mostly positive reviews so far, with The Associated Press saying that “Vol. 3 is a messy, overstuffed finale. But you rarely question whether Gunn’s heart is in it” and The Atlantic writing that “Guardians 3 is a cheerful goodbye to many of the studio’s best heroes…” Some were put off by the film’s premise—Slate called it the “darkest, goriest, and most disturbing Marvel movie, it’s also a contender for the funniest.”

Ahead of its release on May 5, here is everything you need to remember about Guardians of the Galaxy.

What happened in Avengers: Endgame?

Avengers: Endgame saw the group of superheroes attempting to reverse Thano’s snap, which erased half of the earth’s population after he acquired all six Infinity Stones. You might recall the soul stone was the biggest roadblock for Thanos when he traveled to Vormir in Infinity War. In order to retrieve it, Thanos had to sacrifice the thing he loves most, and chose to kill Gamora in exchange for the stone. To undo the mess that Thanos made, the Avengers travel back in time to get the stones before Thanos, bring them to the present day, and reverse the effects of the snap. A past version of Gamora travels to the present day and helps the Avengers undo the snap but stays in the present timeline.

Given that this Gamora was from 2014, before she met the Guardians, they were strangers to her and she never went on any adventures with them. After Endgame, Gamora goes out on her own and notably doesn’t appear in Thor: Love and Thunder (where the Guardians make a cameo) or in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

A Refresher on Guardians of the Galaxy

What happened in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?

The special starts with a mission to cheer Quill up on Christmas, and Drax and Mantis remember he is a big fan of Kevin Bacon. They devise a plan to abduct the actor from Earth and bring him to Quill. The plan goes awry but ends on a happy note: Mantis, an underdeveloped character in the MCU, finally has some growth. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Mantis tells the Guardians that Ego—a Celestial being and father to Peter Quill—found her on her homeworld and took her in as one of his own, raising her as an adopted daughter, making her Quill’s sister. In the holiday special, Mantis speaks with Quill and tells him that Ego is actually her real father, making her Quill’s half-sister.

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