Thor: Love and Thunder caught up with the Guardians of the Galaxy for a brief while before they return next year for what James Gunn suggests is an end to the current MCU team. Many great comic book storylines featuring the Guardians remain unsuitable if this is the ending, but their best stories indicate where the team is heading next in the MCU.
Guardians of the Galaxy plays a role in major modern storylines like Secret Wars and Annihilation, both intended for the screen. While the Guardians will likely evolve in the MCU from their current form, major events cause regular changes to the comic book roster, and the same likely goes for the live-action team.
Secret Wars caps The multiverse saga in the MCU and the Guardians certainly play a role. Star-Lord was one of the few survivors of the multiverse’s collapse in the 2015 crossover, one of Marvel Comics’ most significant events, and helps restore it along with other key heroes, making it a pivotal storyline of the Guardians comic.
Star-Lord survives by joining Reed Richards, Spider-Man, and others aboard a life raft that preserves them during the final incursion between Earth-616 and 1610. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Trial of Jean Gray
The Guardians share many comic connections with the X-Men that offer intriguing MCU possibilities and a likely intersection presents itself. The Trial of Jean Gray. A young Jean Gray stands trial for the crimes of her older variant as Dark Phoenix and the Guardians intervene, leading to an epic storyline that interweaves many characters and ideas.
This crossover event takes place in guardians of the galaxy #11-13 and All-New X-Men #22-24 and sets up a key plot dynamic between the two teams that will lead to equally compelling storylines later on.
kingdom of kings
kingdom of kings brings together the modern crew that MCU fans know and love and the original 31st century comic book crew in a time-spanning storyline full of characters and concepts. It also brings back the 2008 reimagining of the team by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and artist Brad Walker in a suitably cosmic way.
The storyline brings Thanos back, something on the MCU table at least, and introduces the Guardian Council of All Galaxies, an interstellar group that could emerge in the MCU across the multiverse.
The Thanos Imperative
Thanos is one of the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe and The Thanos Imperative show why. It also provides another dimension for Thanos as the team teams up with him to deal with a greater threat. When an incursion threatens Earth-616 with the Cancerverse, the team calls on Thanos to create death in a universe where it is not.
This dark story features epic action and tough choices and also provides some inspiration for the future of the MCU, especially as incursions become a factor in The Multiverse Saga.
The black whirlwind
Comic book fans know that Kitty Pryde loves science and technology and she brings that love to her time with Guardians of the Galaxy. She plays a major role in The Black Vortex, a cosmic comic book story involving the Guardians and the X-Men as they both try to save an incredibly powerful weapon from falling into the wrong hands.
The storyline leads Kitty Pryde to reach her greatest potential for power in the multiverse, something the MCU will likely eventually touch, and also showcases her commitment to Star-Lord and joining the Guardians.
Kitty Pryde eventually takes over the team in Sought, a fun story that mixes up the line-up in a major way. With the MCU Guardians roster destined to change, this storyline presents plenty of live-action opportunities. Many new characters join them, including Angela, Thor’s long-lost sister and some of the best Thor comic book characters not yet in the MCU.
This storyline also revisits the Badoon, the alien race that played a fundamental role in the original formation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and may soon appear live.
The Korvac saga
The original Guardians team, including Vance Astro, Martinex T’Naga, Captain Charlie-27, and Yondu, originally resided in an alternate future timeline. They crossed paths with Earth-616 in The Korvac sagaamong the best Avengers comic storylines, and thus became an essential part of the Marvel Universe proper.
The Guardians help the Avengers battle Korvac, a powerful cosmic villain who may one day appear in live-action. Their experience in this scenario, running in The Avengers #167–177 in the 1970s, led to further adventures in the present day of 616.
Legacy recontextualizes the Guardians for modern times and creates the eventual MCU team, making it a historical comic book storyline. Abnett and Lanning kick off a whole new era for the team in the 2008 volume, reuniting the now familiar characters of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot.
The storyline also has some major differences from the live action that readers will likely find compelling. Characters like Adam Warlock have been there from the start and concepts like the Universal Church of Truth prove major villains, and they still can in the MCU.
Gamora’s fate remains a major question in the MCU and Memento Mori is a great comic book story that may hold clues to its live-action future. Written by Nicole Perlman with art by Marco Checcetto, this storyline explores Gamora’s origin as well as her character for the first time in the comics.
Gamora struggles with her past as a weapon and instrument of Thanos and this journey could point to where the Gamora variant goes next in the MCU, as her character effectively resets in Avengers: Endgame.
Annihilation features a major cosmic story that will surely appear in the MCU eventually. Annihilus launches the wave of annihilation from The Negative Zone, leading to all-out war that brings together the modern Guardians team, making this 2009 storyline a must-read.
Nova leads the fight, organizing the disparate members of the new Guardians with many other major cosmic characters like the Silver Surfer. The epic scope of the storyline completely refaces the cosmic Marvel Universe for years to come.
NEXT: 10 Best Guardians Of The Galaxy Characters Not In The MCU