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The untold truth of Star-Lord's father

The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie teased the mystery of Star-Lord's father rather heavily—our hero's never met his dad, and only has his mother's account of falling in love with an angel from the sky. When Star-Lord is scanned near the end of the movie, the Nova Corps reveals his DNA is like nothing they've ever seen before, implying some exotic paternal genetics.

We now know just what that means, as the cinematic Star-Lord's father is Ego the Living planet—a departure from the comics, in which his dad is someone else entirely. Both versions of the Star-Lord family tree have amazing stories—but if you want to know more, you don't need an alien orb or an '80s Walkman. Just use this handy guide to the untold truth of Star-Lord's father.

He's royalty

One of the most interesting aspects of Star-Lord's comic book father: he's royalty. Specifically, J'son was born as the son of Eson, the Emperor of the Spartoi Empire. His road to the royal throne had quite a few speed bumps, but J'son ended up as an arrogant and coldhearted Emperor. This, along with the weird circumstances surrounding his fateful visit to Earth, led to an angry and antagonistic relationship between father and son—and having the resources of a galactic empire at his disposal makes J'son a very dangerous enemy for his son, and anyone else who crosses him.

He was once banished

J'son didn't ascend to the throne right away. The first obstacle was that (ironically enough, given what he later becomes) he was too idealistic. That idealism may have come from his education, as he was raised across dozens of planets and performed dozens of different roles. While this was a standard education on his world, his later idealism meant that the Council of Ministers of the planet prevented him from taking his father's place earlier.

Later, J'son was completely banished from his empire. He was partially blamed for an assassination attempt by the Inhumans against Shi'ar Empire leader (and on-again, off again girlfriend of Charles Xavier) Lilandra. Later, when war broke out between his planet and the Ariguans, J'son's father summoned him back. Along the way, though, his ship crashed on Earth, which is where he fell in love with Star-Lord's mother. He eventually had to get back to the war effort…and erased some of her memories in an attempt to make his departure less painful.

His earliest adventures were retconned

Even by the standards of comic book continuity, J'son's history is very confusing—in fact, his earliest adventures were later retconned. We first met J'son (then known as Jason) in an issue of Marvel Preview #11, which came out a month after the debut of the first Star Wars movie and was clearly an attempt to cash in on the popularity of that blockbuster film. The cover makes this quite clear, as it presents a young, laser-toting Star-Lord and describes him as "one man against a galactic empire!"

The Jason of this comic was, generally speaking, a good guy. He tried to convince Star-Lord to become Emperor, and Star-Lord offered someone else instead, so the long-lived Jason of this world ruled as Emperor for a century before handing over the reins so that he and the similarly long-lived Star-Lord could finally work on their relationship. Marvel's later retcon specified that all this took place in one of the many different alternate Marvel Comics realities; we didn't see the modern J'son until he was introduced in a 2000 issue of Inhumans.

He's a master manipulator

J'son is more than a bit of a jerk, and one of the ways he's illustrated this is through his manipulative skills. As Emperor, he's part of a larger Galactic Council made up of leaders from many different worlds. He made the case that Earth is very dangerous, as it includes multiple super-powered beings and has even repelled Galactus on multiple occasions, and he floated the idea of destroying the planet. Freya, Thor's mother, objected, and J'son relented, saying since Earth is so valuable to her, it should be declared off-limits to all aliens.

Why bother doing all this? Because telling a galaxy of rough customers that Earth is the one place they can't go is a great way of ensuring it'll be attacked. Sure enough, it takes no time at all before some Badoon attack Earth, and the Guardians of the Galaxy show up to save the planet. The Guardians are able to defeat an entire fleet, but then J'son has them legally arrested for violating the rules and coming to the planet…which was his goal all along.

He's a galactic sellout

That Galactic Council J'son sits on has some pretty big responsibilities. In times of extreme crisis, it's their job to help their respective empires band together against unforeseen and extreme threats—which is is exactly what happened when a group of dangerous aliens known as the Builders decided they want to destroy the Earth. Some of the Council might have been fine with that decision, except for the small detail that the Builders were destroying other worlds and empires along the way.

Because of this threat, the Galactic Council united in opposition against the Builders, teaming up with the Avengers. Secretly, however, J'son contacted the Builders and offered to help give them Earth and any other planets they wanted as long as they spared his world. The Builders rejected that offer, but were still able to trace his call and launch a bunch of suicide ships. They ended up causing massive casualties, and it couldn't have happened if J'son wasn't a colossal sellout.

He has a god complex

It's always easy to play armchair psychologist, and it's even easier when the character is from a comic book. People love to speculate about what makes their favorite heroes and villains tick. When it comes to J'son, though, the fact that he has a god complex is textually clear. In fact, it's spelled out by J'son himself.

In one of Captain Marvel's most memorable adventures, she encountered a planet named Torfa that was in serious danger. The planet appeared to be poisoning its inhabitants, and J'son tried to force them to evacuate—ostensibly out of concern for their well-being, but it was eventually revealed that the poison-like effect was the result of J'son's planet secretly stripmining Torfa for a kind of vibranium. In one of his earlier interactions with the leader of Torfa, J'son threw his weight around and declared he was her god. All this posturing made Captain Marvel foiling his plans that much sweeter.

His son turned the empire against him

The idea to capture Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy didn't go perfectly according to plan. They eventually escaped but were later captured again, which led to a confrontation between J'son and Star-Lord. J'son told his son that his one regret was that the Badoon who murdered Star-Lord's mother failed to murder him, too. Unfortunately for J'son, a camera was broadcasting the conversation to the entire planet. All of Emperor J'son's subjects saw he had no regard for the life of his son or his son's mother. Star-Lord used the opportunity to give an impassioned speech about how his Guardians have dedicated their lives to helping the helpless, and J'son used the resources of an empire to hurt and oppress others.

The speech accomplished everything Star-Lord hoped it would. J'son's subjects started chanting "Death to the Emperor," and he was forced to flee the planet. By the time he encountered Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy again, he had an entirely new empire and an entirely new identity—and his old vendetta against Star-Lord burned hotter than ever.

He built a criminal empire

After being run off from his own empire, J'son needed to find a new hobby. He ended up with a goofy new costume and a goofy new name—Mister Knife—and created a new criminal enterprise of his own. He also showed old grudges die hard by putting a bounty on his own son's head, though the name change and mysterious costume ensured Star-Lord didn't know at first that this new antagonist was actually his father.

This led to a series of weird adventures and mishaps for the former Emperor. He craved a relic of great power called the Black Vortex and was eventually able to retrieve it. Along with the son of Thanos, Thane, J'son was able to use the Vortex to encase his old planet in a construct made of amber and trade it to the villainous Brood. Later, though, the planet was liberated by X-Men member Kitty Pryde (who was dating Star-Lord), and J'son's attempt to use the artifact's powers on Captain Marvel resulted in J'son being trapped in an amber construct. Afterwards, he became part of the Collector's collection before being brought back to his home planet by his illegitimate daughter, Victoria.

Ego the Living Planet was nearly eaten by Galactus

One of the best things about the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie is its willingness to do the unexpected—everything from the heroes to the story to the soundtrack felt like a bizarre mirror image of what the world thought a superhero movie should look like. With the sequel coming out, Marvel decided to throw another curveball, announcing that Star-Lord's film father wouldn't be J'son. Instead, he'd be a creature named Ego…who is literally a living planet.

Being a living planet means that the Ego of the comics faces some pretty weird hazards in his daily life—including Galactus, the powerful entity whose main purpose in life is eating planets. This led to a pretty crazy fight, with Ego using tentacles to try to choke out Galactus while the giant creature used comets to attack Ego. Though he struggled mightily, Ego was ultimately defeated by Galactus, and he would have been eaten if not for Thor's intervention. The Asgardian warrior was able to repel Galactus into the depths of space…though Ego would not always be a friend to Marvel's greatest heroes.

He's a major threat to other planets

At one point, Ego was driven mad after a piece of him was removed as part of a terraforming project. In his madness, he became exceedingly violent, and was fought by Thor, Firelord, and Hercules. The day is saved when Ego was finally defeated by someone he'd clashed with before: Galactus. Ironically enough, Galactus decided Ego was a threat to other planets, and attached a rocket to him to shoot him far away.

As it turned out, this wasn't the brightest idea. Ego eventually learned how to control the rocket and headed to Earth, where he caused widespread devastation and death because his presence so near Earth wreaked havoc on its gravitational field. The Fantastic Four helped send Ego packing, but later still, he was driven crazy (or crazier) by the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree and started attacking other planets in a sad attempt to find other living worlds like himself. He was stopped and later tried to eat Earth (as you do). After more misadventures and clashes with no less than Thanos himself, Ego mellowed out (more or less) and became more concerned with hiring Rocket Raccoon to eliminate his own planetwide space lice than galactic conquest.