Up until this point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, each film centered around at least one of the Avengers. 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” departed from this formula, instead concentrating on a ragtag group of unlikely heroes. Still, several previous pieces of Marvel lore are central, and a few post-credits sequences are hereby explained.
Remember the Infinity Stones? Come on, we just talked about those, of course you do. They appeared in “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “Thor: The Dark World.” In “Guardians,” the plot thickens. Thanos (Josh Brolin,) first shown in a post-credits “Avengers” scene is central to the events of “Guardians,” despite limited screen-time. His villainous plot is of course to obtain all six Infinity Stones, and the Infinity Gauntlet. Marvel already announced “Avengers: Infinity War” parts 1 and 2, so expect to see Thanos again, but not until 2018. Unless he pops up in a cameo or post-credits scene, which he’s likely to do. Star Lord (Chris Pratt) says he has 12% of a plan, a seemingly random number. If you recall “The Avengers,” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) have a heated conversation about having 12% of the moment. Even dedicated viewers likely missed this reference the first go around, but it simply intertwines the Avengers flicks with “Guardians.”
One of the most prominent connections to the MCU at large is The Collector’s (Benecio del Toro), well, collection. Found among his prizes is a Chitauri (from “Avengers”) and a Dark Elf (“Thor: The Dark World”). Also amidst the museum of sorts is Adam Warlock’s cocoon, which you’ll note has hatched later in the film. The Collector boasts Howard the Duck as one of his possessions, though thankfully Marvel Studios doesn’t seem to have plans to re-make this ill-fated film. Howard isn’t the sole animal. The Collector has a dog in a spacesuit, which is actually Cosmo, a telepathic dog. It’s a fringe, but fun, cameo.
Oh, and Stan Lee’s cameo? He’s a creepy old man who gets the alien chicks, kind of like an aged James T. Kirk. For a few additional ties to the comics, check out What Culture’s overview. This concludes our “Avengers: Age of Ultron” marathon, and Marvel Easter egg hunt, at least for now. After all, Phase Two may end with “Ant-Man,” but that just means it’s time to shift to Phase Three.