It’s the question that’s on everybody’s mind (at least after “How do I get my own Groot?”): who is the man that fathered Chris Pratt’s lovable half-human scoundrel in Guardians of the Galaxy?
The origin of 616-Comic-Book-Star-Lord is incredibly convoluted and full of retroactive changes, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers a new opportunity to streamline and reimagine his story. We’ll have to wait until July 28, 2017 for the definitive answer, but in the meantime, we can follow the breadcrumbs that were left behind in the film and subsequent publicity interviews around it, and they might lead us to a few rational theories about the identity of our mystery man…
WHO IT’S NOT: J’SON OF THE SPARTAX
Peter Quill’s father in the comic books is J’son, leader of the Spartax race (although in his very first appearance, it was suggested that Quill may have even been immaculately conceived, or something else). J’Son and the Spartax Empire had been mostly footnotes in the grander scheme of the Marvel Cosmic Universe until the most recent incarnation of the Guardians (under the pen of Brian Michael Bendis), which brought Star-Lord’s estranged alien father to the fore and turned him into a formidable antagonist with the added weight of familial abandonment. Unfortunately, James Gunn made it quite clear in a recent interview with Empire that, “[Peter Quill’s father] is definitely not the character who it is in the comics, I’ll say that much.” So that pretty much rules that out.
Gunn did say, however, that “there have been a lot of documents passed around about who Peter Quill’s father is […] that’s been part of the plan since the beginning.” Narratively speaking, Star-Lord’s father could be a great opportunity to tie the Guardians into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, so let’s look at who it could be…
After my second viewing of the film, my partner—not a comic book fan herself unless I force something into her hands (as I often do) and therefore unaware of Star-Lord’s established comic book history—turned to me and said “Yondu is Star-Lord’s actual father.” Her reasoning for this theory is based on the fact that, in the opening scene of the film, as Star-Lord’s mother lay on her death bed, she referred to his father as “an angel,” and during the final confrontation between Yondu and Star-Lord after Ronan’s defeat, Yondu echoes this sentiment and refers to himself as an “angel.” While I’m still not convinced by my partner’s theory on this, her reasoning is undeniably sound, and might even explain why Yondu didn’t let his Ravagers eat the young Peter Quill after they abducted him (it would also make sense if Yondu lied to his crew about being “hired by Peter’s father” to abduct the child—why else would Yondu give up the potential pay that Peter’s alleged father was going to pay them?).
All that being said…I’m not really convinced, especially since Star-Lord’s father is supposed to be from some very ancient race. Which makes me think…
No, not the video game character. Eros, also known as Starfox, is an occasional member of the comic book Avengers and one of the Eternals of Titan—and also happens to be Thanos’s brother. Even the name “Eternals” evokes the idea of an ancient race, and in the comics, the Eternals are an offshoot of the human race created by the Celestials—who we saw in the Guardians movie as the original possessors of the Infinity Stones. Meredith Quill’s deathbed reference to Peter’s father as an “angel” also makes sense, considering the fact that Starfox’s powers include superhuman sexiness (technically “psychic control of the emotions of others”—this is what happens when your parents call you “Eros”).
It’s possible that Starfox hired Yondu to find his illegitimate son in order to protect the child from the wrath of Thanos, who has been known to want to wipe out all blood relations (and it would also make sense that Starfox hired a pirate, instead of admitting to his own dad, the leader of the Eternals, that he fathered a child on one his many womanizing date-rapey space adventures). Furthermore, the notion of Star-Lord being Thanos’s nephew would add some great emotional heft to the story, and would ultimately help to connect Star-Lord and the Guardians to the Avengers when Thanos tries to conquer Earth again and Star-Lord takes it upon himself to stop his evil uncle. That’s why Starfox is my top guess.
Starfox doesn’t get a lot of use in the Marvel comic book universe these days (beyond a recent lawsuit for sexual assault), but it has been announced that he’ll be playing a role in the upcoming Avengers: Rage of Ultron graphic novel that comes out right before Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and, well, Marvel is nothing if not marketing savvy with their cross-medium promotional tie-ins…
The other possibility, which is similarly related back to Thanos, is Adam Warlock. Originally known as “Him,” comic book Adam Warlock was an artificially created “perfect human” specimen (which would make it hard for aliens to identify his DNA). Warlock rebelled against his mad scientist creators and went on to become a crazypowerful Messianic spacefarer. In addition to his on-again, off-again romance with Gamora, Adam Warlock has a long and complicated relationship with Thanos, who functions as the yang to his yin and is either his best friend or arch nemesis, depending on the day.
Given the heavy Christian imagery surrounding Adam Warlock’s character (he often comes into conflict with an evil religious cult called the Universal Church of Truth, who literally use the abstraction of “belief” to fuel their spaceships), it would also make sense that Meredith Quill saw him as an Angel. James Gunn himself admitted that Adam Warlock’s cocoon was among The Collector’s trophies, which could explain why Warlock never returned to Earth to retrieve his son. Adam Warlock is also one of the only beings capable of controlling the Infinity Gauntlet (like Star-Lord!), so it’s a safe bet that he’ll be showing up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe once he’s hatched from his cocoon again (he’s got one of those cycle-of-death-and-rebirth Jesus things goin’ on).
VANCE ASTRO / MAJOR VICTORY
This theory was inspired by an article on SlashFilm (I wanted to make sure no one else on the Internet had happened upon my Starfox theory) that points out that actress Laura Haddock portrays both Meredith Quill and a WW2-era Captain America fangirl in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that what if those two appearances are actually the same character? There’s plenty of time travel in the Marvel Universe, especially on the Cosmic side, and it’s entirely possible that the cancer that took Meredith Quill’s life was an unfortunate side effect of some kind of time travel.
Vance Astro, aka Major Victory, was a member of both the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the 30th-century, and the recent modern day version of the team that inspired the film. He is the time-displaced parallel-earth version of the mutant superhero Justice (sometimes known as Marvel Boy), a member of the New Warriors and the Avengers. So time travel is pretty much part and parcel when it comes to Major Victory’s story. In the future, he comes into the possession of Captain America’s shield, and if he did at some point hook up with Meredith Quill, this could explain what she’s doing in the 1940s ogling Captain America and appearing around the same age in 1988—maybe the two of them were on some kind of time travel adventure together, and that’s how Major Victory came into possession the shield? As far as the “ancient race DNA” line, Vance Astro is a mutant in the comics, but since there are no mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are any number of ways to justify him being born with special abilities that could also tie-in to the Cosmic side of things—like the rumor that Marvel is priming the Inhumans to replace the X-Men. If Vance Astro is an Inhuman, with some Terrigen-mutated Kree-Human hybrid DNA, well, that might set off some of the Nova Corps sensors.
Starhawk is the time-traveling, gender-swapping, cosmic-powered, occasionally incestuous half-human incarnation of an alien hawk deity who is trapped in a perpetual cycle wherein s/he will re-inhabit his/her infant body—and possibly give birth to him/herself? Basically s/he’s the epitome of convoluted cosmic comic book character, but in the best way possible. Starhawk’s hobbies include showing up at inopportune moments to declare “I am one who knows!” and speaking in cryptic phrases without ever offering a satisfying explanation, and manipulating events throughout space and time for what s/he perceives to be the best possible outcome.
It would make sense (inasmuch as anything about Starhawk makes any sense) that s/he might would impregnate Meredith Quill in order to guarantee the birth of Star-Lord for whatever greater purpose our hero might have for the fate of the universe. Being all magical and timey-wimey, s/he could easily be interpreted as an “angel” by a mere mortal like Meredith Quill. The MCU could probably even find a way to tie Starhawk’s origins back to the Asgardians or the Celestials, if they wanted to streamline all the cosmic deity stuff, which would certainly make sense in terms of Star-Lord’s ancient DNA.
So what do you think? Who is Star-Lord’s daddy?
Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. Thom enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey and robots). He is a graduate of Clarion Writer’s Workshop at UCSD, and he firmly believes that Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is the single worst atrocity committed against mankind. Find out more at thomdunn.net.