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Guardians 3: What Is The Legendary Star-Lord?

Contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"

Peter Quill's journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue after the events of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3," with the post-credits scene confirming Star-Lord will return in an upcoming project. However, by referring to the hero as "The Legendary Star-Lord," the MCU may be hinting at what's coming next. Quill starred in a comic of the same name back in 2015 that may be laying the groundwork for his future adventures.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" ends with the original team going their separate ways and a powerful new Guardians team being formed. Drax and Nebula end up staying on Knowhere to help its new inhabitants following the defeat of the High Evolutionary, Mantis (with the alien Abilisks) departs to find her own way in the galaxy, Gamora ends up returning to the Ravagers, and Star-Lord returns to Earth to meet his aging grandfather. With Peter back on his birth planet and the "Legendary Star-Lord" comic book series mentioned in the post-credits scene, it seems likely his next action-packed arc in the MCU will draw from that story.

Where does Legendary Star-Lord find Peter Quill?

"The Legendary Star-Lord" was created by Sam Humphries, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Freddie Williams II, David Curiel, and Joe Caramagna. It starts off with Star-Lord navigating the cosmos by himself as he fights aliens to win a powerful Celestial weapon called the Mandalay Gem. Peter runs into Thanos, who the hero is desperate to take down after previously being stuck in the Cancerverse and feeling somewhat responsible for his return. Star-Lord nearly takes out the Mad Titan for good but is forced to abandon the crystal and Thanos, realizing he could cause more damage than good and potentially destroy the Earth if he followed through on killing the cosmic villain.

The first arc also deals with the growing relationship between Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde of the X-Men. Peter tries to impress the mutant hero despite Pryde being on Earth and him continuing his mission to stop Thanos in space. The comic shows Quill trying to win Kitty's heart from afar, but wooing her is difficult, as she continues to think he's stood her up while he deals with cosmic hijinks. 

At the same time, a new mysterious villain named Mister Knife sends the Slaughter Squad after him. The masked foe and his team end up breaking into the planet Kymellia III and getting inside its vaults, where they successfully steal a mirror-like cosmic artifact called the Black Vortex, which shows and grants whoever submits to it their darkest cosmic potential. Star-Lord soon learns he has a significant connection to Mister Knife, whose plans involve several other uber-dangerous characters.

What happens in the second arc?

The second arc of "The Legendary Star-Lord" reveals that Mister Knife is actually Star-Lord's father, J'Son, who's desperate to regain his previous political power after the Guardians of the Galaxy exposed his deadly transgressions and ended his rule of the Spartax Empire. Unfortunately, the series gets a bit crossed up in the "Black Vortex" event unfolding in the comics at the time while Quill deals with the return of his father. Kitty Pryde, the X-Men, and the rest of the Guardians attempt to stop J'Son, who has aligned himself with Thanos' son Thane and the Brood. Many heroes are transformed by the Black Vortex, unleashing their most powerful cosmic forms to stop J'Son.

Star-Lord faces off against his father as J'Son and his crew destroy the planet Hala while trapping the people of Spartax in amber. Peter's biological father's plans are revealed, as he offers Spartax to the Brood in exchange for some of the planets they infect. With the universe facing possible extinction as the alien Brood threatens to lay billions of eggs in the frozen bodies on Spartax, Kitty uses the Black Vortex to amplify her powers and free the trapped inhabitants. 

J'Son is defeated and encased in amber, while Star-Lord gets a new role connecting him to his evil dad like never before, as he's named the new ruler of Spartax. Peter eventually gets engaged to Kitty, while his half-sister Victoria makes her own play for power by acquiring the seed of the Kree Supreme Intelligence and destroying it to prevent the race from rising again.

What happens in the last two volumes?

The remaining two volumes of "The Legendary Star-Lord" (which were initially printed as just "Star-Lord') end up being a bit of a mess. The third volume by Sam Humphries and Javier Garron spends most of its time retconning Peter Quill's comic book history to better align the hero with his Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart. It explores his early days — his hopes to be an astronaut, being taken by Yondu from Earth, and his time as a member of the Ravagers. The volume doesn't follow through directly on the events of volume two and is more concerned with setting up Peter to have a similar origin and characterization as the version seen in live-action.

The last arc (which crosses over with "Avengers") shows Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde's relationship falling apart, as they break off their engagement while Peter tries to rule Spartax. Kitty joins the Guardians of the Galaxy and takes up the mantle of Star-Lord, while Quill quickly loses the trust of Spartax as its ruler. Eventually, Peter leaves the planet and rejoins his former cosmic superteam alongside Kitty. These events lead into the next iteration of the Guardians by Brian Michael Bendis and Valerio Schiti, featuring longtime members Rocket Raccoon, Drax, Gamora, and Groot, with additional new recruits in Agent Venom and The Thing. This new Guardians team ran for 27 issues before Marvel Comics canceled the series.

Which characters appear in the series?

"The Legendary Star-Lord" features the debut of several new characters and an evolution of sorts for longtime Marvel heroes.

Mister Knife represents a new identity for J'Son, whose violent group of monsters, the Slaughter Squad, all make their first appearance in the first volume of the comic. Perhaps the most important character introduced in "The Legendary Star-Lord" is Peter Quill's half-sister, Victoria. After being disowned by her father, Victoria seeks out Star-Lord, trying to bring the hero in to collect a bounty. However, Peter and Victoria work together to steal a vast fortune from the Fortress Viderdoom, with Quill giving his sister the entire sizable amount of money they steal. Victoria eventually becomes the Queen of Spartax but hasn't played a significant part in the comics for some time.

The Black Vortex also allowed Marvel to give several heroes powerful cosmic upgrades and new costumes. Gamora, Beast, Angel, and Thane were among the characters who looked inside the cosmic mirror and transformed. In addition, the son of Thanos ends up playing a significant role in the Black Vortex crossover, as he helps J'Son trap the people of Spartax. 

With Star-Lord on Earth by the conclusion of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," it would be surprising to see his adventures continue in space. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Thane, Victoria, or even J'Son (as an antagonist, not his father) couldn't appear in an upcoming film or series centered around Peter.

Does it make sense as the next MCU story for Star-Lord?

While the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" end-credits scene refers to Peter Quill as "The Legendary Star-Lord," it would actually make more sense for upcoming MCU Star-Lord projects to adapt another comic.

"Star-Lord: Grounded" by Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka follows Quill after the events of "The Legendary Star-Lord." The titular hero is stuck on Earth and isn't on the best terms with the Guardians of the Galaxy after keeping vital information about Thanos' whereabouts from the team. As he seeks new purpose on his birth world, he becomes a bartender at the supervillain hideout, The Bar with No Name. The comic features Peter adjusting to his surroundings on Earth while encountering several Earth heroes, including Black Cat, Wolverine, and Daredevil. Peter eventually returns to space and rejoins the Guardians. Considering the story deals with Peter returning to Earth and spending a prolonged period there, it would make sense to see elements of "Star-Lord: Grounded" in his future MCU stories.

Ultimately, "The Legendary Star-Lord" might be a name-only coincidence. But if the MCU wanted to introduce Kitty Pryde, the Black Vortex, Victoria, and have Peter team up with the X-Men, there's plenty of material to inspire those stories. However, pulling him away from Earth wouldn't make much sense considering it's taken him so long to return. The MCU has combined storylines before, so perhaps using both his "Grounded" and "Legendary" arcs at once is the perfect way to tell future Star-Lord stories.