No doubt you were thrilled and bedazzled by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 over the bank holiday weekend. Frankly, we can't stop singing 'Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang' after having experienced James Gunn's uproariously funny sequel – who do we have to blackmail to arrange a reunion with Star Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot every year?
The film also leaves us with a lot – and we mean a lot – of questions as a result of its five (count 'em) post-credits scenes. The expected Marvel stingers range from the funny to the universe-building. Here's what we think they mean.
WARNING: MAJOR GUARDIANS SPOILERS! GO NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED!
1. Yondu's arrow
In the wake of the blue-skinned one's death at the hands of Kurt Russell's villainous Ego, his whistle-activated arrow ultimately ends up in the hands of his deputy Kraglin (played by James Gunn's brother, Sean, who also does the on-set motion capture movements for Rocket). However the new incumbent struggles to get a handle on the controls and ultimately ends up firing it into the unsuspecting Drax (Dave Bautista). And he said his reflexes were too fast...
2. Stakar's speech
Although the movie denied us a Tango & Cash reunion between Sly Stallone's Ravager character and the apparently benevolent yet totally evil Ego, the presence of the former is in fact very important. During the climax we see Stakar addressing the Ravager fleet in the wake of Yondu's (Michael Rooker) death, acknowledging the complex history between the two characters (Stakar banished Yondu when he found out he was abducting and selling child slaves, although as now know, he become something of a father figure to Chris Pratt's Star-Lord).
In fact Stakar, originally known as Starhawk, was one of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, paired in the comics with Aleta Ogord, Charlie-27, Krugarr, Mainframe and Martinex. All of these guys appear in the climactic sequence played by, respectively, Crouching Tiger's Michelle Yeoh, Pulp Fiction's Ving Rhames, Miley Cyrus (in a vocal role) and Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum. And it seems like these guys could be teed up for their own movie.
"I would love to see those characters reappear in the future," says Gunn. "Where exactly they will be, whether it is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 or their own movie, or someone else's movie, we’ll have to wait and see."
3. Adam's intro
The gold-skinned Sovereign are one of the best new additions to the Guardians universe, an unbelievably haughty and humourless race of beings who come after the central characters when Rocket (Bradley Cooper) steals some valuable batteries from them.
After sitting out the mid-section of the movie the Sovereign re-appear, to the consternation of the Guardians, during the climactic battle against Quill's universe-conquering father Ego, once again remote-piloting their ships from their base in the manner of someone playing 'Space Invaders'. Ultimately their fleet is vanquished – but leader Ayesha (The Night Manager's Elizabeth Debicki) isn't done with the Guardians yet.
During the credits we get another scene in which she vows vengeance, the camera cutting to a reverse shot of what looks like a cocoon containing someone ominously named 'Adam'.
So who is that? Well, Adam Warlock (originally just known as 'Him') first appeared in the #67 issue of Fantastic Four, released in 1967, as a genetically enhanced character developed by the Enclave. He possesses ferocious powers, able to absorb and manipulate energy, and his complex comic book history also crosses over with that of the Infinity Stones (at one point he possesses the Soul Gem and goes to war with big bad, Thanos), which also play an important, ongoing role in the Marvel movies. James Gunn says he'll be an important new addition to future films.
"Definitely, I see Adam Warlock as something we’re going to use in the Marvel cosmic universe," he says. "Whether that’s in Guardians Vol. 3 or something else, I'm not sure. It’s not Infinity War, that's for sure. But we will get to meet him."
4. Stan Lee's appearance
It wouldn't be a Marvel movie without a knowing cameo from the godfather of comic mythology, and Stan's Vol. 2 appearance doesn't disappoint. In fact he appears twice in the movie: the first time is where Rocket and Yondu have to space jump 700 times on the way to Ego's planet, resulting in the hilarious distortion of their bodies, at one point flying over a planet where a space-suited Lee is describing his Civil War cameo to three Watchers.
There is later a post-credits reprise of the same sequence in which the Watchers, seemingly bored of Lee's anecdote, walk off and deny him "his ride home". Could we be seeing such a continuation of the gag in Guardians 3, whereby Stan is still abandoned on the planet? That would be harsh but very funny.
In fact the whole notion of Stan talking to the Watchers is an elaborate comic book in-joke: there's a long-held fan theory that Lee is himself a Watcher (a species of alien who roam the galaxy observing things without getting directly involved). Says James Gunn: "I find the idea that Stan Lee is a Watcher, or that he works for the Watchers, is just a fun little nod to the fans."
5. Teenage Groot!
As adorable as baby Groot is (we can't listen to E.L.O's 'Mr Blue Sky' in the same way again now), the show was stolen in the course of 20 seconds by his hormonal, adolescent counterpart who appears in the post-credits onslaught. When Peter enters his room and despairs at the 'mess' on the floor (vines and leaves standing in for clothes and the like), the hilariously moody "I Am Groot" response (translated as "You're boring") makes us want to be reunited with him pronto.
Dare we ask, will angsty young Groot be butting heads with the likes of Tony Stark in Avengers: Infinity War? That would be worth the price of admission alone. It's highly unlikely (we imagine the fully-grown, Vin-Diesel voiced incarnation will be restored by that point), but we can hope.
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