Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, watching TV or, let’s face it, just ventured out of your house in the past few months, you’re probably aware of a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy, which has quickly become one of the summer’s most anticipated films. In fact, you’ve probably already got plans to go see it when it hits theaters on Friday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have any idea what exactly you’re signing up for. After all, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s lesser-known titles, the kind that only hardcore comics nerds knew about before the studio announced plans to turn them into a blockbuster. But don’t worry: you still have plenty of time to learn everything you need to know about this merry band of misfits before your Friday night showing. In fact, we’ve put together this handy guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy with all of the questions you might have been too nervous to ask so that you’ll be able to hit the theater knowing Groot from Gamora and why, exactly, this “bunch of a-holes” have been entrusted with keeping the universe safe.
So, from what I understand, the Guardians of the Galaxy are basically just the Avengers in Space.
Yes and no. They are a team of universe-saving superheroes like the Avengers, but they’re still pretty different.
Well, for one thing, they weren’t put together by S.H.I.E.LD.; they met up in prison.
So they’re criminals.
Yep. But they’re trying to do some good by saving the galaxy, so they’re not the bad guys, really.
Well, if S.H.I.E.L.D.’s not in this, how about Iron Man?
No, sorry. These movies are tangentially connected to The Avengers, but none of those characters will appear in this film.
How are they connected?
Remember Benicio del Toro‘s brief appearance at the end of Thor: The Dark World?
That’s the connection. He has a significant role in this movie.
So does that mean Thor is in Guardians of the Galaxy?
How about Captain America?
So if we don’t have Iron Man, who is going to be the good looking, wise-cracking leader?
He goes by the name of Star Lord, although he’s the only person who actually calls himself that. His real name is Peter Quill.
And who is Peter Quill?
He’s a half-alien half-human who was kidnapped from earth as a child and was raised by a gang of thieves and smugglers. He’s also a pretty impressive pilot.
Who’s playing him in the movie?
Wait, we’re supposed to believe that Andy Dwyer is going to save the universe?
Yeah. Isn’t it awesome?
I guess. Who else is on this team?
Their names are Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon, and Groot.
Okay, let’s start with Gamora. Tell me about her.
She was adopted as an orphan by Thanos and—
Wait, who’s Thanos?
Thanos is the murderous super villain bent on wreaking havoc and destruction. He’s determined to get the Infinity Gauntlet which has the ability to destroy a star. He’s basically the big bad in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe right now, Avengers films included.
And he’s going to be in this?
Yes, he’ll be making an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, and he’ll be played by Josh Brolin. You might recognize him as the purple dude in the credits of the first Avengers movie.
Okay, keep going about Gamora.
So she was adopted by Thanos raised to be his personal assassin, and became one of the most feared fighters in the universe. But eventually, she turned against Thanos and decided to try and make amends for her past.
Okay, and who’s playing Gamora?
Even though she’s also in Avatar and Star Trek?
Yep. She’s the queen of sci-fi franchises.
Who’s next? Drax the Destroyer?
Yes. Drax was originally a human named Arthur Douglas, but after his whole family was killed by Ronan the Accuser, his soul was put into a different body so he could fight Thanos.
Wait, hold on. Who’s Ronan the Accuser? I thought Thanos was the bad guy.
They’re both bad guys. Ronan is a Kree radical, who has agreed to help Thanos hunt down an artifact if Thanos will destroy the Xandarians – his mortal enemies – in exchange.
What is a Kree?
A technologically advanced, war-loving alien race.
And what is a Xandarian?
Another alien race. Not so big on the war.
Got it. So is Ronan the Accuser a big part of Guardians of the Galaxy?
Yeah, he’ll be the main villain in this one. Lee Pace will be playing him.
Any other villains I should know about?
Nebula, who grew up with Gamora. Unlike her adoptive sister, she is still loyal to Ronan and Thanos. She’ll be played by Karen Gillan.
Oh, is this the thing she shaved her head for?
Yes. Nebula is bald, so Gillan decided to shave her head, since it would look better than putting makeup on top of a bald cap.
So, that’s it? Ronan, Thanos, and Nebula are all the villains?
There’s also Djimon Honsou as Korath, an intergalactic hunter who serves Ronan, and (like we said above) Benicio del Toro, who plays The Collector: an eccentric, obsessive keeper of intergalactic rarities. If you need something, and it might be illegal to own that thing, he probably has it.
All right, all right, is that it? There are a lot of villains in this thing.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
So back to Drax: who’s playing him in the movie?
You mean Vin Diesel isn’t playing the aggressive muscular dude?
No, Vin Diesel’s playing a tree.
Well, he’s playing Groot, a tree-like humanoid who has the ability to regrow himself from the tiniest twig.
Well, he at least has some witty banter or something, right?
Of course! Provided that witty banter consists only of the phrase, “I am Groot.”
… Okay. So, why is Groot in jail, then?
He’s there thanks to his job as the muscle/personal companion of Rocket Raccoon.
The machine-gun firing, rage spewing, back-talking, possibly homicidal raccoon? Yep. You know what’s even weirder? Bradley Cooper‘s providing his voice.
And how did he learn to fire a gun?
Rocket is originally from a planet called Halfworld, which was basically a colony for the mentally ill. All of the animals there were genetically modified to become as intelligent as humans and to be able to walk in their hind legs so they could take care of the inmates there.
So, an anthropomorphic raccoon and a tree have teamed up with a criminal, assassin, and thief in order to protect the galaxy?
That’s exactly what happened.
I think I need to lie down.
No, no! Stay with us, you’ve almost got it.
Fine. So why exactly did they team up? Why is the galaxy in need of their help?
Basically, Peter Quill steals an orb that Ronan the Accuser is after, and so he needs the rest of the team’s help in order to evade the villain and the intergalactic manhunt that he’s started. But then they discover how powerful the orb actually is, and they are determined to protect the galaxy by keeping it from falling into the wrong hands.
Why, what’s so special about the orb?
That remains to be seen.
Well, then, how do they find that the galaxy is in trouble? Do they just figure it out on their own?
They’re recruited by the Nova Corps, who are the military police tasked with keeping the planet Xandar and its citizens safe.
Are those they guys…?
Who call them “a-holes” in the trailer? Yeah, that’s the Nova Corps.
I like those guys. So, are those all of the characters?
Yep, that’s everyone and a basic rundown of what they want. Anything else you want to know?
Yeah, what’s with all the classic rock in the trailer?
The songs come from Peter’s Walkman, and it’s basically the last connection he has to his life on earth. Also, it’s awesome.
Can I watch the trailer again?
And when does this movie come out?
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on Friday, August 1!