A Secret Superhero Team Is Hiding In MCU Phase 5

A secret superhero team is hiding in Phase 5, courtesy of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Marvel’s plans for the next batch of movies and shows prove that at least two superhero teams from Marvel Comics will be on hand in 2023. Plus, a third appears to be lurking in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Everything that Marvel announced at San Diego Comic-Con serves as evidence that the studio has every intention of packing the MCU with new groups of super-powered heroes in the Multiverse Saga. In addition to adding the Eternals to the mix in Phase 4, Marvel has at least three more on the horizon. Closing out Phase 5 is Thunderbolts, which is based on the comic book team of the same name. In the source material, the Thunderbolts are typically depicted as a gathering of anti-heroes and villains brought together perform tasks for the government. After Thunderbolts, the studio will open Phase 6 by debuting Marvel’s First Family in Fantastic Four. In the same year, Marvel will unite a new version of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.


Related: Why Guardians Of The Galaxy's MCU Era Ends With Vol. 3

As if the Thunderbolts, the Guardians, the Avengers, and the Eternals aren’t enough, the Multiverse Saga could have even more teams. While Marvel did announce a packed slate for Phases 5 and 6, it actually has eight open slots that haven’t been filled yet, meaning that even more new teams and heroes could be showing up over the next few years. What’s interesting, though, is that one of the Multiverse Saga’s unannounced superhero teams seems to be in one of Phase 5’s confirmed projects. Here’s why Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is hiding a second team, and what it could mean for both the movie and the MCU’s future.

MCU Phase 3 Introduced The Original Guardians of the Galaxy Team

The second installment in James Gunn’s MCU trilogy confirmed that the original Guardians of the Galaxy exist in MCU canon. After appearing as supporting characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum) and Stakar (Sylvester Stallone) returned in a post-credits scene where they teamed up with Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus), and Krugarr to honor Yondu’s memory. The significance of this moment is reflected by the characters’ respective comic book histories. Whereas their MCU counterparts are members of the Ravagers, the Marvel Comics versions were the original Guardians of the Galaxy.

Introduced in the late 1960s, the original Guardians are a group of galactic superheroes from the distant future. The main lineup consisted of Yondu, Starhawk, Charlie-27, Vance Astro, Aleta Ogord, Nikki, and Martinex. For the MCU, most of the aforementioned characters were reimagined as retired, space-faring rogues, as opposed to fully-fledged superheroes. Starhawk, for instance, is now known simply as Stakar Ogord and has no apparent super powers of any kind.

How Phase 5 Is Bringing Back The Original Guardians of the Galaxy

At least two members of the original team will make appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It’s been known for a while that Stallone will be back as Stakar and Rosenbaum recently teased Martinex’s return as well. And since the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scene made their team active again, their presence in the movie gives the original Guardians important representation in Phase 5, regardless of whether or not Aleta, Charlie-27, and the others appear. Their roles in the new movie can finally provide Marvel with an opportunity to address the second film’s original Guardians tease and perhaps explain what they’ve been up to over the last few years. Also, the team could serve as allies to Star-Lord and the others in the fight against the High Evolutionary.

Related: Guardians Of The Galaxy 3: Predicting The Fate Of Every Character

Not only that, but there’s no reason why Stakar and Martinex have to be the only characters on the team featured in the movie. Thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s setup, it can easily bring back Krugarr, Mainframe, and Charlie-27 for more cameos. The situation with Aleta, on the other hand, may be more complicated since Yeoh received a second MCU role when she was cast as Ying Nan in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Will MCU Phase 5 Introduce The Rest Of The Original Guardians?

Vance Astro Marvel

It’s important to keep in mind that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 left out some key members of the original team when it adapted them to the MCU. For that reason, several Marvel characters associated with the group are candidates for cameos in the third movie, possibly as previously unseen allies of Stakar and Martinex. Among the ones Marvel skipped in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are Vance Astro, Nikki, and Talon. Like Charlie-27, Nikki could be reinvented as a Ravager with minimal changes, complete with her fiery hair and expertise with guns. Another classic Guardian, Talon, could work if he was changed from an Inhuman into an alien. In the comics, Talon is a yellow-skinned, animalistic warrior with clawed hands.

As for Vance Astro, he’s without question the biggest Guardians of the Galaxy character that has been overlooked by the MCU – and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Given that the team’s mutant leader has a reputation as an Earth-born hero who idolizes Captain America, the MCU would have to abandon nearly every aspect of his character in order for him to work as a Ravager. Instead, Marvel may hold him back for a future cosmic movie, as Vance Astro does feel like a character who could lead a new incarnation of the team in a potential fourth Guardians of the Galaxy installment.

Other Movies & Shows The Original Guardians Can Appear In

Nova flying in outer space.

Marvel reusing and expanding the original Guardians of the Galaxy team can be good for the MCU’s future after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Star-Lord’s team will be done in the MCU after Gunn’s next movie, but that doesn’t mean that Marvel has to abandon all the characters and concepts the three Guardians of the Galaxy movies have added to the MCU. Many of them, including Stakar’s Ravagers team, can be relevant to future MCU movies and shows in the Multiverse Saga. Depending on how much they’re fleshed out in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, some of them could get small roles in one of the next two Avengers movies, especially since both could be crossovers of cosmic proportions. Some could also cross paths with Richard Rider in Nova’s mystery MCU project on Disney+. With Star-Lord's team off the table after Phase 5, a new group of Guardians could be needed for the battles ahead.