Warning! Spoilers ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy #11 from Al Ewing and Juann Cabal.
In recent issues of Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy, the legendary Star-Lord has received quite the significant reboot, and it helps repair some elements about the character that the MCU broke. Prior to James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, Star-Lord was a very different character in the comics than the version played by actor Chris Pratt. However, after the first film’s release, Marvel Comics began taking their cues from the MCU depiction of Peter Quill, creating a discrepancy within the character that has largely been ignored… until now. Thanks to writer Al Ewing, Star-Lord has managed to evolve into something that much more resembles a balance of the two versions.
Before 2014’s first Guardians film, Peter Quill was much more of a serious and sober soldier in the comics who was trying to make up for large mistakes he had made in his past. During the Dan Abnett era and subsequent Annihilation event, Star-Lord carried the air of a dedicated fighter who was willing to die to save the galaxy. However, the character’s whole personality effectively changed when the MCU decided to depict Peter Quill as more of a carefree scoundrel who only cared about saving the galaxy simply because he would prefer to keep living in it. He doesn’t really have any larger motivations like honor the old version of Star-Lord might have had. After the movie’s success, Marvel Comics then followed suit and Star-Lord likewise became more of an outlaw in the comics as well.
Now, Al Ewing has done something truly special with Star-Lord. While it was believed that Quill had been killed sacrificing himself to destroy the Gods of Olympus, it was later revealed that both he and the gods survived, having been transported to another realm known as Morinus where time worked very differently. Star-Lord spent nearly 150 years there before he found a way back to his own reality, and in that time he evolved. Quill became a literal Star-Lord, possessing amplified powers as the Master of the Sun, and Ewing also took elements from Quill’s original origins of astrology that were abandoned after his very first issue.
Al Ewing has now created a new Star-Lord that’s somewhere in the middle of the character’s two main depictions. While he’s neither a career soldier nor a carefree outlaw, Star-Lord is now someone existing in between those two extremes, becoming a hero who can’t ignore the responsibility to do what’s right when the chips are down. Star-Lord and his allies show up when there’s no one else, and his response to the Gods of Olympus in Guardians of the Galaxy #11 perfectly encapsulates this new and exciting direction for the character. Zeus taunts the Guardians, asking who will prevent them from destroying the universe when the heroes are all ashes, and Star-Lord understands this challenge loud and clear, saying, “I hear you O Mighty Zeus, King of the Gods. You’re saying it’s us… or it’s nobody. Fine. Then it’s us.”
It’s certainly not a coincidence that this change for Star-Lord is being defined on the very same battleground where Marvel’s Annihilation event took place, an equally defining moment for Star-Lord and rest of the Guardians. It seems evident that Al Ewing is wanting to make the concept very clear that he’s reclaiming the concepts of who Star-Lord was, and is now blending them with who Peter Quill now is going forward.
It’s actually quite impressive how natural this evolution has been as well (as far as cosmic comic character reboots go). Because Quill had been gone for over 100 years, he had time to organically become more of a evolved character, one where his past is not ignored while the popular MCU-imgd elements are still present (though no longer overshadowing). Upon his return, Peter Quill reassured his friends and allies that he was still the same Star-Lord they knew. Remarkably, that’s never been more true as Guardians of the Galaxy continues from Al Ewing and Marvel Comics.