So Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy made its digital debut last week and its Blu-ray release is coming December 9, 2014. That means over the next few weeks all of us fans who saw it in theaters will soon be joined by a whole new influx of fans who’ll also want to figure the film’s mystery ending teaser…
… and it just so happens we think we just figured out exactly who Star-Lord/Peter Quill’s father is. And as the headline reads, it’s been under all our noses daring up to make the connection the whole time.
Now we won’t be presumptuous enough to label what follows a “spoiler,” because it’s not based on any inside knowledge, leaked scripts, or popular rumors. It’s just a theory (more than 12% of a theory, though). But just saying it out loud that first time suddenly and automatically clicked half a dozen pieces into place, and in immediate retrospect, made it seem rather obvious.
Peter Quill’s father is …
… okay, waitaminute. We’re gonna slow play this for a few more moments…
First of all, let’s review what we know about Peter’s father:
As has been exhaustively documented, writer-director James Gunn has confirmed it will not follow comic book canon and be Prince/King Jason or J-son of oh-who-the-hell-cares (editor’s note: Spartax, because I couldn’t let that go).
Gunn has also recently downplayed the importance of Peter’s father being a surprise reveal:
“It’s not about the revelation of who it is; it’s about what his relationship is to that character,” Gunn said.
But being over two years away from Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Gunn may be trying to have his cake and eat it too with that last one. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty – the clues Gunn himself and Marvel Studios purposely inserted into the film.
1. To Peter’s dying mother, his father had an “angelic” appearance, at least in the abstract (an angel bathed in light).
2. Yondu, the leader of a notorious band of pirates who self-cultivate the reputation of being cannibals, travels in at least similar circles as this character and is hired by the father to pick-up and deliver his son to him, almost at the precise moment of his mother’s death.
3. Yondu – he of a highly-dubious moral center – forgoes whatever fee he was to be paid for the delivery, opting instead to essentially raise Peter instead of turning him over to his father, who Yondu refers to as a “jackass.”
4. The Xandarians reveal that Peter’s father is of an unknown ancient race.
Those are the known clues. What’s unknown is how serious Gunn is about the identity of his father not being a “reveal.”
Understand Gunn didn’t say it would not be a reveal, just that the relationship will be about more than that. And Gunn – again with over two years between films – has reason to open the field up to all possibilities as to not tip his hand 900 days too early.
That said, there is a strong case to be made that the identity of Peter’s father will in fact, be a “reveal” of some narrative significance.
If it was all about a relationship and nothing about the reveal, there were no reasons to leave the trail of breadcrumbs that Gunn did – to intentionally open the question up to the scrutiny of obsessive fans.
If Gunn ultimately introduces a new character or reworks a super-obscure character as the father, he runs the risk of it being disappointing or anti-climatic – an odd risk to take considering he really didn’t have to set the mystery up at all.
And while theories like Adam Warlock, Starfox, Starhawk and the Beyonder make a certain amount of sense within small circles of comic book fans, the problem with that tact is that the significance of those characters will have no meaning to the majority of worldwide moviegoers.
Gunn’s proven himself a gifted storyteller who took a relatively obscure concept and injected it broad appeal. To make the eventual revelation of Peter’s father an elaborate Easter egg for a handful of comic book readers would seem out of character.
No, it’s seems much more likely Peter’s father is someone that’ll mean something to everyone and anyone who’s seen Guardians of the Galaxy and not just comic book fans.
And our theory satisfies that criterion. Our theory is Gunn has in fact very cleverly managed to hide the most obvious candidate utterly in plain site.
And no, we’re not talking about Thanos or Yondu himself.
“Huhwhatnow?” you say. “No way.”
Way! Seriously. Let’s go over the list of clues again:
1. “Angelic” qualities, at least in the abstract – check.
The Collector has shock white hair and look at his cape, it almost looks like angel wings.
As far as “bathed in white light,” again, even if taken literally, that sort of pyrotechnics doesn’t seem like too hard of a trick for the Collector to pull off. Heck, it could just be whatever teleportation beam he uses to get from a ship to the Earth. Or maybe his physical body didn’t make the trip at all. Who know what the Collector’s abilities are?
2. Yondu and this character travel in the same circles and he hired Yondu to collect Peter – check.
Why would a being of significant cosmic authority or power hire pirates with a reputation for eating their cargo to deliver his son to him? Unless as a “collector” you regularly use the services of people like the Ravagers as standard M.O. and you see Peter more as a commodity than a son.
3. Yondu thinks he’s a jackass – that’s an easy check (and would he refer to a being of known immense evil like Thanos or power like the Beyonder simply as a “jackass”?)
And ultimately Yondu can’t bring himself to make the delivery – double-check.
Let’s theorize that the Collector impregnated an Earthling specifically to create a child to add to his collection. He purposely or knowingly gives Peter’s mother cancer, allowing her just enough time to raise him to a certain age, and stands ready to collect him immediately following her death.
Yondu, who takes a liking to the boy and/or at least a dislike of the circumstances, decides he can’t deliver him to the Collector, knowing Peter would at best be raised by a “jackass” slaver, and at worst be kept in a glass cage as a slave/exhibit himself.
And 4. Peter’s father is an ancient being of an unknown race – supercheck.
The Collector in Marvel Comics continuity is an ELDER of the freakin’ Universe, a literal small handful (14) of beings much older than even advanced races in seats of cosmic power like the Kree and Xandarians, and who would also logically possess the knowledge of the Infinity Stones origins – artifacts whose power goes back to the MCU’s other ancient cosmic race – the Celestials.
So in addition to satisfying all the clues they put out there (with extra emphasis on the fourth one – “ancient” … “elder,” another coincidence? C’mon!), Gunn and Marvel Studios get two important things outta this:
One, they get their true narrative reveal for the sequel that’ll mean something to everyone. It’s not quite an Empire-Darth Vader moment, but it’s got a fun, funky Marvel-Gunn spin on it, paying homage to Star Wars without copying it.
And if Gunn wants to emphasize character and relationships over all things, he can have a field day playing Chris Pratt’s rogue-ish, immature Peter off Benicio del Toro’s hyper-odd Collector, and what the revelation and relationship means as Peter discovers his strange and questionable heritage at the same time he’s attempting to redefine his place in the Marvel cosmos for the better.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly in the end, it gives del Toro and his character a much more prominent role in the future of the franchise other than just the weird MacGuffin guy.
Given the profile of the actor, the Collector’s role in Guardians was actually very slight. Did del Toro sign up knowing his role was for a relatively insignificant cameo that mostly served to deliver some MCU exposition?
Sure, perhaps the character will show some means to be a legitimate cosmic menace on par with Thanos, Malekith, or Ronan down the line, but wouldn’t that be kind of rote – to turn him into just another player who wants to rule or destroy the universe with the Stones when the MCU already has no shortage of those?
Being Peter’s father gives the character an important and interesting place in things while allowing him to maintain his unique profile as the peculiar old bird with his hand seemingly in all things.
So what do you say? Too crazy? Or so crazy it just might work?