This post contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
By this point, post-credit scenes have become synonymous with Marvel movies. Ever since Samuel L. Jackson walked into Tony Stark’s living room to recruit Iron Man into the Avengers, fans have stuck around through sometimes more than ten minutes of credits to get just a little more time with their favorite characters. Sometimes it works out, like when the Maximoff twins appeared in Baron Strucker’s keep at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And sometimes, it’s just an ant playing the drums, as in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
While most MCU fans look forward to the post-credits scenes, the last outing of Star-Lord’s crew may have tested viewers’ patience with five extra clips in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. For the team’s final outing, director James Gunn is showing a bit more restraint. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 only has two brief post-credits scenes.
If you want to avoid spoilers about those scenes, then stop reading here. But if you’re a reckless rulebreaker like the Guardians themselves, then read on!
The First Post-Credits Scene
Even before he took a position as co-head of DC Studios, James Gunn made it clear that Guardians 3 would be the final story for this configuration of the team. Some took that to mean that the movie would see our Guardians either take heavy casualties or disband. By the time the credits roll, many of the key members have decided to just simply move on – but not Groot, Rocket, and Kraglin!
In the first post-credits scene, we get our first look at the new Guardians in action. On an alien planet, new team leader Rocket calmly talks through a plan of action with his crew. Rocket, Groot, and Kraglin are joined by Adam Warlock, the incredibly powerful and incredibly naïve Sovereign creation who spent most of the movie fighting against the Guardians. He has with him Blurp, the cute fuzzy creature he adopted as a pet.
But the biggest surprise is a fifth member, one of the young children the Guardians rescued from the High Evolutionary. Viewers might be confused about the girl’s presence, even when she shows energy powers in the final shot. But comic book readers’ ears surely pricked when Kraglin identified her as Phyla.
That girl is Phyla-Vell, one of the first members of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy. Phyla-Vell has a confusing backstory, even for those who know the comics. The short and very simplified version is that she’s the daughter of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel (Annette Benning played Mar-Vell in the movie, in a take very different from the comics). Although Phyla has, at times, used the Captain Marvel moniker, when it wasn’t used by her brother Genis-Vell or Carol Danvers, she also goes by Quasar and Martyr.
While differences between the comics and MCU takes on Captain Marvel probably mean that Phyla won’t play a role in The Marvels, she does certainly have a future in later Guardians stories. In the comics, Phyla is most often partnered with Moondragon, a powerful psychic and daughter of Drax the Destroyer. While the MCU version of Drax lost his daughter at the hands of Ronan the Accuser, filmmakers may want to explore some version of that relationship in future stories.
The Second Post-Credits Scene
Where the first post-credits scene hints at future Guardians adventures, the second shows future non-adventures. Peter Quill’s story in the movie ends with his return to Earth, where he reunites with his grandfather for the first time since being abducted by Yondu and the Ravagers. Gunn directs the reunion to emphasize the emotional stakes of family members finding one another again, and the post-credits scene gives us more of the day-to-day reality of that.
The scene finds Peter and his grandfather sitting at the breakfast table, while his grandfather’s wife mows the lawn. Between bites of cereal, Peter gripes that he’s embarrassed by his grandfather’s elderly wife doing physical labor while he, a grown man, sits inside, and his grandfather quickly chides him.
Obviously, the scene is more interested in showing the mundane life of a superhero, a comedown from the stakes of the film proper, like the shawarma scene in The Avengers. However, the scene does show genuine character development. Remember, we first met Peter as a man obsessed with adventure and his own mythos, demanding that people know the name Star-Lord. Here, he’s learning how to just be a person with the people who love him.
Of course, the very last shot assures us that Peter won’t spend the rest of his days munching cereal. “The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return” declares the final title card. When? Well, that part remains to be seen.