Personally, I’ve always preferred the Guardians of the Galaxy over the earthbound Avengers. Don’t get me wrong, the Avengers have definitely earned the right to be the frontrunner in the franchise. In terms of their actual characters and adventures however, there’s more diversity and manoeuvrability in the Guardians. For the Avengers, it’s always an apocalyptic, world-shattering threat and frankly, they run out of mileage pretty quickly. If we’re being honest, Age of Ultron felt hollow and lacklustre while the first one ran on the novelty of debuting an ensemble hero piece and the last two (though they should rightly be counted as one mega film) had the momentum of a decade worth of films behind them.
Imagine if we had four Age of Ultron-esque films punctuating between The Avengers and Endgame. Fatigue would undoubtedly set in. The Guardians of the Galaxy films though, probably wouldn’t suffer from this issue. Under Gunn’s direction, the film series seems to have built its foundations as a quirky and charming familial dramedy. The joy and entertainment of watching them on screen don’t so much stem from the action but rather through their personalities and intra-team interactions.
The Guardians is a team for misfits, outlaws, freaks and jokers. Lucky for them, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has plenty to spare. We’ve already seen Thor, the former Prince of Asgard, hop on their wagon but there’s room for plenty more to come aboard for a round of cosmic adventures!
1. Scott Lang’s Ant-Man
No one will deny that life hasn’t always been the kindest to Scott Lang. From his run-ins with the law to his divorce with his wife to him being stuck in the Quantum Realm for five freaking years! To be fair, most of the mess in his life is of his own doing. The man’s stuck in the middle. His rogue streak keeps out of the straight and narrow path of hero-hood, while his big heart always compels him to do the right thing. He’s a lovable outlaw, which is why he would be perfect for the Guardians. They’re essentially good guys for hire, or really shitty bad guys. In any case, Scott would fit right in with the gang. He and Starlord would definitely bond over their love for nostalgic pop culture and his quippy, fun-loving nature would make for some great banter between him and Rocket. I’m sure Groot would like him too. Drax and Nebula would eventually warm up to him.
Beyond providing comedic commentary, Lang has a couple of tricks up his sleeves that could prove useful to the team. For one, his suit enables him to make for one of hell of a spy/saboteur with his ability to shrink down to microscopic levels. If things start to get heavy and trouble comes knocking, he could always expand himself to gargantuan size before laying waste to any foe before the Guardians. Not to mention, he probably knows a ton about the Quantum Realm based on the time he hung out with Hank Pym. We now know that the Quantum Realm is part of the wider Multiverse, so perhaps he could help them navigate through the myriad of different worlds by using the Quantum Realm as a sort of cosmic highway.
2. Professor Hulk
Bruce Banner and the Hulk are no more. For the two have formed a third amalgam personality: Professor Hulk! Five years after the Snappening, Bruce Banner has finally made peace with his alter ego and now he has found his equilibrium, harnessing the very best of both worlds…for now. He has the Gamma radiated strength of Savage Hulk and all the genius intellect of Banner. And though he has carved himself a pretty nice place among the people of Earth, Banner is an explorer and scientist at heart.
There are more secrets to be uncovered, more worlds to see and a whole damn universe to explore! He’s gonna need a guide however through his treks along the stars. May I suggest a tenure spent with the legendary (or infamous) Guardians of the Galaxy? Throughout their travels, the team has encountered everything from giant Celestial heads to Infinity Stones to living planets! They’ve been in contact with the Kree Empire, Xandarian Nova Corp and a multitude of other alien species. Hulk is gonna have a field day with them!
I’m sure they wouldn’t mind having him on board. The one thing that seems to be sorely lacking in the group is some level headed leadership. Neither Starlord or Thor makes for composed and calculative commanders. He could even play a father figure to the team, teaching them how to curb their worst tendencies. He’s overcome his demons, maybe it’s time for him to pay it forward. It also doesn’t hurt to have some extra muscle on their side if a fight ever breaks out. I mean this is the guy who took down a whole freaking Chitauri Leviathan with a single punch. He’d cut through whatever alien horde thrown at him like a hot knife through butter. When all else fails, Hulk smash!
3. Scarlet Witch
There is nothing left for Wanda Maximoff on Earth. She lost the only family she ever knew when her brother Quicksilver gave his life in Sokovia. Later on, she would be forced to murder the love of her life in the name of saving the universe, only to have it been for naught. The good captain has hung up his hat and she seems about done with the whole Avenger routine. It’s time for a new life and maybe a new team? Wanda never really did fit into any particular group with her powers and abilities always making her either a potential liability, test subject or outcast.
Lucky for her, the Guardians are all about potential liabilities, test subjects and outcast! Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t she a bit of a downer right now? Well, Thor was once a boring, stoic Viking caricature before Ragnarok, so I don’t see why Maximoff can’t get the same treatment. Besides, we haven’t really gotten the chance to know her personality outside of battles. This would be a great opportunity to develop her.
Oh and in case I forgot to mention, Scarlet Witch is undoubtedly the most powerful member of the Avengers. Wanda is capable of mind control, telekinesis, levitation and freaking matter manipulation! Matter? You know, the stuff that everything is made off! Hell, the lady is powerful enough to destroy a bloody Infinity Stone. How is that not ever brought up? Screw Captain Marvel, Wanda Waximoff is the real MVP. All she needs is a team that could fully appreciate her talents. I think she would make an excellent addition to the team. Her matter manipulation powers could played as a joke. I can imagine her obliterating an entire army and Rocket yelling out loud “What didn’t you say you could do all this?” She’d retort back saying “I don’t know! All I’ve ever done is train and stayed in places.”
4. Bucky Barnes
Bucky has been through the fires of war. He’s experienced death and rebirth. He’s been tortured, manipulated and forced into a life of service devoid of meaning. That is until he found a second chance with his best friend, Steve Rogers. He’s fought by his side through many battles and has found redemption. That being said, he’s a soldier at heart. A man programmed and built to fight for something. Civilian life is no longer an option. Perhaps the life of a mercenary is the way to go. There just so happens to be a group of intergalactic defenders who will take up jobs for the right price: the Guardians. Bucky is a man who values loyalty and friendship. During the Battle of Wakanda in Infinity War, we saw him fight along Rocket against the seemingly endless horde of Outriders. Could that kinship extend to outside of the battlefield?
For the longest time, Barnes has been depicted as a man of many sorrows. It would be a nice change of pace to see him crack jokes and make friends for a while (damn, we sound like concerned parents). We have seen that Barnes is capable of moments of levity, as seen in Civil War. They’re rare and far between for the man, seeing that there are so few people he can trust. Throughout the Guardians films, we’ve seen each member open up about their flaws and hurts. Together, they’ve learned to come to grips with them and move on. Barnes could definitely use a team like that. Also, I think it would be sheer badassery to see Barnes dual-wielding two laser rifles!
5. Korg and Miek
First thing’s first, I really like Korg. He’s just an all-round solid guy. In Ragnarok, he cordially invites Thor to join him in his revolt against the Grandmaster of Sakaar before helping him and Loki get off world. In fact, he went around offering Asgardians the chance to get on his spaceship to escape the destruction of their world. Sure he might have been a failed revolutionary in the past but hey, you gotta respect the guy’s chipper and positive attitude. At first, you don’t succeed, find a Norse god of thunder to give you a hand! The guy is also made of rocks so I’m sure he’s pretty nifty in a fight, being able to hold off a good number of Hela’s undead soldiers. Seeing that Thor has decided to join up with the Guardians, it certainly would make sense for Korg to tag along with him! Miek can come too. He’s cool.
In all seriousness, Taika Waititi has a great knack for comedic timing and I think having him on board with the Guardians would really complement the tone of the films. This is the guy responsible for turning the entire Thor series around after the bleak and boring Dark World. A collaboration with him and Gunn would be a sight to see! His work in What We Do in the Shadows shows that Waititi is no stranger to self-referential fun and humour. Imagine Drax and Korg having a conversation with one another. One’s a total hothead, unable to understand metaphors or jokes, while the other is a good-natured twit with a love for puns. Make it happen, Marvel!