Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy were a far-flung future team of heroes out to save the universe – and it seems the world is finally catching up to them. Earlier today Newsarama broke newsthat Marvel is launching a second series of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, following the original team from the 31st century, titled Guardians 3000. Writing the series is Dan Abnett, the writer who helped revive the franchise 6 years ago and inspired the story and approach director James Gunn is taking with this August’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Joining Abnett is artist Gerardo Sandoval, whom illustrated Abnett’s recent story of this team in the anniversary issue Guardians of the Galaxy #14.
In this exclusive first interview, Abnett tells Newsarama that Guardians 3000 will see the founding members return to battle in their home of the 31st Century against their classic adversaries the Badoon. But the team will be facing more than just the alien race that wiped out humanity of their time; they’re also fighting for the future itself, as a giant unraveling of time is occurring in what Abnett as an not very friendly Groundhog Dayscenario.
Newsarama: Dan, fans are excited to see you back with the Guardians. This time however, it’s not the modern-day Guardians but the far-flung future Guardians --- the originals. How’d you settle on doing this future era Guardians in Guardians 3000?
Dan Abnett: Thanks, Chris. The then-editor of Guardians of the Galaxy, Steve Wacker, suggested I might tackle an original Guardians story for the anniversary issue, and hinted that it could lead somewhere. I eagerly accepted the challenge, and used that 10 page story as both a try-out and a set-up. It was basically an honest tribute to the 1968 debut, but there are springboard elements in there too. I’ve loved the originals since I read their first story back in... must be the early seventies, as a kid reading British Marvel reprints. I loved them then, and that was one of the reasons I was so happy to take a swing at revamping the brand in 2008, even if I did end up with a radically different, modern day team under the same name. Now I get to write the original line-up. With the movie on the way, Marvel are obviously keen to get the Guardians of the Galaxy front and center, and my enthusiasm to bring back the originals was keenly taken up.
Nrama: What is driving this team – what are their goals?
Abnett: True to the original tales, they are trying to save the future from the menace of the Badoon - I wanted to keep that element, and indeed try not to do anything to deny any continuity. So they are freedom fighters, first and foremost, facing an immensely hostile culture. However, they soon discover that the Badoon are just the tip of the iceberg, essentially opportunists taking cosmic advantage of a much deeper crisis. As Starhawk deduces, the very future itself is in danger. History and causality are unravelling and repeating themselves, and not in a friendly Groundhog Day way.
Nrama: So the Badoon are the over-arching threat of the series, or is there more?
Abnett: Classic adversaries like the Badoon, some cool future menaces I’ve cherry picked from their long history, some future versions or iterations of classic Marvel Cosmic characters... and some genuinely brand new menaces. I need to establish their future, as elegantly as possible, as being as rich and complex as the modern day Marvel Universe. I don’t have that richness surrounding me in 3014 AD, but I can extrapolate it. I think readers will be excited and delighted to see what the future of the Marvel Universe is like.
Nrama: Looking at the cover Marvel provided, the team looks to be comprised of Vance Astro, Yondu, Starhawk, Martinex and Charlie-27. Is that the full team – and can you talk about them as a group?
Abnett: They are the core, like they were in the early days, and I want to develop them and get into their characters and interactions. They’re friends, stalwart and loyal, but they are also an odd group, thrown together by fate and required to fight against intolerable oppression. They have differences in outlook and philosophy, but they have to get beyond that and focus on their mutual cause. Charlie is the heart of the team, Vance the inspirational spirit, Martinex the brain, Yondu the instinct, and Starhawk the soul.
Nrama: I don’t see any female members of the team; will that change at some point? Could we possibly see the likes of Nikki, Aleta, or someone else like Geena from the recent short story join?
Abnett: Yes. The team will expand, both with new members and with a supporting cast. Geena Drake, the girl introduced in the 10 pager, is a member from the outset (and yes, her name is an affectionate homage to the original creators Arnold Drake and Gene Colan). She doesn’t wear a costume or have a ‘codename’ but she’s a vital part of the team, and crucial key to the overall mission. We also see the story from her POV quite a lot. She’s the readers’ touchstone character. There will be other strong female characters in the series. I have some fun ideas. And there is a female character on that cover. You just can’t see her properly (he says, mysteriously).
Nrama: Although this takes place in year 3014, could we see some tie-ins or continuations of things from the modern-day Marvel U?
Abnett: Dan: Absolutely. I think it’s important to make Guardians 3000 significantly linked and connective to the modern MU. And it’ll come as no surprise I’m sure that any story about the collapse of causality is going to involve a little time travel sooner or later... to other eras, including the modern-day MU. The Guardians visiting present day Earth was always a cornerstone theme of the classic stories. I guess a question would be which of the Guardians of the Galaxy teams inspired the other? Did the past inform the future or the future inform the past? Which direction does the legacy run?
Nrama: Speaking of legacy – this has the characters, so could we also see some allusions to the 1990s Guardians of the Galaxy series by Jim Valentino as well?
Abnett: As I said, I trying not to undo or deny any previous continuity, even though I’m giving the characters a bit of a revamp. Jim’s series was excellent. You can expect me to include themes, concepts and characters that reference the Valentino run.