Our beloved crew of misfits hit the big screens in early May, landing rave reviews from both fans and critics — and even PETA. The final installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy is, as expected, an action-packed blockbuster — but the movie is also a big-hearted tale of the somewhat grim background stories of its protagonists.
Vol. 3 offers an emotionally satisfying goodbye in its traditional humorous manner; however, the film’s grimmer tone shocked some viewers, especially those unfamiliar with the original comic books.
In the earlier movies, we’ve learned of Gamora and Nebula’s rough go, and the latest focuses on Rocket Racoon’s dark road to becoming a Guardian.
But there are other messed up stories in the Guardians’ universe, that, now that the trilogy has come to an end, may never make it onto the silver screen. One such is Peter Quill, who didn’t have the most heartwarming backstory in Marvel’s original comics.
So, if you’re like us — struggling to bid farewell to Marvel’s band of intergalactic criminals and wish to be the king of Marvel trivia, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to learn everything about Star-Lord, the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy squad, as we unpack his convoluted comic-books backstory and his evolution from the first comics all the way to the present-day’s sassy and witty savior of the galaxy.
Star-Lord’s Origins in Comic Books
Comics and movies have, over the years, told different stories of Peter Quill’s origin, but they always begin on Earth, with a compelling trio of a dead mother, an extraterrestrial father, and an alien kidnapping.
In the original comic books, Peter was born in Colorado, to Meredith Quill, a human, and Jason or J’son, a humanoid alien prince and the heir to a galactic empire Spartax. Jason’s ship crashed on Earth during the war between his empire and the Ariguan Confederacy. Meredith witnessed the crash and nursed Jason back to health.
As fate would have it, the two fell in love. Meredith got pregnant just in time to bid farewell to Jason, who was required to go back home and help his empire fight the war. Some versions suggest that Jason left alone because he didn’t want to endanger Meredith, or their unborn child, during the interstellar voyage, whereas other comics imply that Jason was unaware of Meredith’s pregnancy before his departure.
Either way, Meredith gave birth and raised Peter on her own. A loner and a wild child, Peter grew up fascinated with science fiction and NASA.
Years later, as the war turned in favor of his Empire, Jason sent his uncle, Gareth, to bring his wife and son to Spartax. However, Gareth had aspirations for the throne, so he sent an assassin to kill Meredith and Peter. Meredith died, and Peter, having witnessed the grueling passing of his mother, swore vengeance.
When Peter grew up, he got accepted into NASA’s astronaut program, but after being denied partaking in a special mission, Peter stole a ship and titled himself Star-Lord.
The Backstory of Star-Lord on the Big Screen
Just like in the comics, the movie adaptations rebooted the story of Star-Lord’s father several times. In the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter was born in 1980 to Meredith, as one of the thousands of children conceived by Ego, a Celestial being and one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe.
Ego impregnated thousands of women on Earth as a part of his plan to produce a second Celestial, a child whom he could use to complete the Expansion, i.e., the assimilation of millions of worlds into himself.
While Peter was just a child, Ego caused Meredith to get cancer in fear that Peter’s love for her would distract him from his mission. Immediately after her death, Peter was abducted by the Ravagers, who were sent to bring Peter to his father.
However, Ravagers’ leader, Yondu Udonta, knew Ego’s plans and decided to raise Peter as his child, implanting into him a translation device to allow him to communicate with extraterrestrial beings.
Peter Quill as Star-Lord
Traveling across galaxies in his ship, aptly named Ship, Quill is a Robin Hood-ianesque thief who fights the bad guys with his superhuman strength, universal language translation, and sassy sense of humor.
In the comics, Star-Lord is adept at marksmanship, sword fighting, and hand-to-hand combat. Besides Celestial abilities, Star-Lord dons a helmet that enhances his sight and provides data analysis, and has a gun that obeys only his commands. Besides other powerful weapons, the Guardians’ leader has a special bracelet that gives him access to Knowhere and its teleportation facilities.
As Star-Lord on the big screen, Quill’s equipment entails a mask-helmet that enables him to breathe in space, a blaster pistol, and boot thrusters for limited flight. Although trained as a Ravager and quite adept in hand-to-hand combat, Star-Lord seems to prefer shooting to punching.
Star-Lord’s Character Evolution
Regardless of the differences in Peter Quill’s origins between the comics and the movies, Star-Lord’s personality and attitude remained identical. Overall, he is a good person, though a bit unreliable and quick to react emotionally.
In the MCU, Star-Lord is an outlaw and scavenger, who enjoys dancing to Earth music from the ‘70s and ‘80s, money, and women. He’s an impulsive and reckless thrill seeker with some serious problems with authority, sarcastic comments that frequently get him into trouble, and extreme daddy issues.
Yet, under the sassiness and roguishness lies a charming, courageous, and nostalgic Peter, very romantic and devoted to Gamora and the rest of his Guardians crew.
Star-Lord is a great example of an anti-hero, whose petty thefts, cons, and other criminal activity make him a shameless opportunist; nevertheless, he manages to rise above his questionable past and grow into a good man, loyal to his friends and willing to risk his life to protect the Galaxy.
Star-Lord in Comics vs. Movies
Guardians enjoyed quite the popularity in the comics, but when the first movie installment was announced, fans were unsure what to expect, as the gang, and Star-Lord himself, had a confusing history that frequently went through significant alterations.
Comparing Star-Lord between comics and the movies, his personality, the Guardians, and his relationship — romantic and friendly ones — remain identical. Moreover, in both versions, Star-Lord is depicted as a decent leader, intelligent, skillful, and with excellent piloting skills.
Movie renditions, however, changed quite a few things regarding Quill’s origin story. His father’s identity was changed in the movies as the director found the character of Jason not compelling enough for the big screen story. Peter’s path to becoming Star-Lord is also completely altered in the movies, following the modification in the father’s identity.
Star-Lord’s costume and weapons were too rebooted compared to the original comics, as these were much more in sync with the comic book narrative.
To Sum Up
While the late 1970s origins of the Guardians’ leader may not bear much in common with the modern rendering of the Star-Lord by the MCU, the essence of Peter remains — he is a rebellious, fun-loving, and insecure guy fighting for the ultimate good with sometimes dubious tactics.
Whether you’re a die-hard comic book fan or a stan of MCU’s modern takes on the classic stories, Star-Lord is a loving character that resonates with the audience. Disparities in his history between comics and movies make, in fact, little difference to his likeability and role as a rescuer of the galaxies.