Let's make this simple: Do you want to know if there’s a post-credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? The sequel follows the usual MCU method to end credits scenes. The film contains both a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. You'll definitely want to stick around until the final credits roll.
Scroll down to dig into the ending of the film, where full spoilers await you.
The ending to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is unusual for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in that it's actually an ending. This is the last time we'll see this incarnation of the Guardians onscreen. It’s also probably the last time we’ll see director James Gunn working in the MCU. As such, many fan-favorite characters are given a proper sendoff in this sequel. But this is still a Marvel movie, and there’s always another story to be told. In this case, a new Guardians of the Galaxy team rises from the ashes of the old.
While we wait to learn what the future holds in store for the Legendary Star-Lord and the new Guardians, let’s break down the ending to Vol. 3, the post-credits scenes and the big introduction of the MCU’s newest cosmic heroine, Phyla-Vell.
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s Ending Explained
Considering how it was marketed, Guardians Vol. 3 ends on a surprisingly upbeat, if definitely bittersweet, note. None of the Guardians are killed in the final battle between the team and the High Evolutionary. Though our heroes are unable to save the citizens of the doomed Counter-Earth, they do rescue the genetically engineered children and animals aboard the High Evolutionary’s ship and bring them to the safety of Knowhere.
The Guardians also make quick work of the High Evolutionary himself, leaving the faceless villain to his fate aboard the ship while they flee to safety. But is the High Evolutionary actually dead? We never actually see his death scene, and there’s nothing saying he couldn’t have escaped his ship before it was destroyed. Given his deep connection to characters like Scarlet Witch in the comics, we could see Marvel wanting to leave the door open for future MCU appearances for Chukwudi Iwuji’s character.
As for the Guardians themselves, it turns out death isn’t what tears the team apart. Instead, we see several characters simply move on and embrace new roles in the aftermath of the battle. Star-Lord accepts that Gamora is never going to become the woman he loved. Gamora returns to the Ravagers, and Peter decides to hang up his helmet and rocket boots and reconnect with his grandfather on Earth. Similarly, his sister Mantis decides she has to figure out who she is and what she wants. Nebula is busy figuring out how to transform Knowhere into a new society. Even Drax seems ready to retire and embrace the chance to be a dad to dozens of orphaned children. For these heroes, life has become about more than saving the galaxy over and over.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s End Credits Scenes
Like so many MCU movies, Guardians Vol. 3 features both a mid-credits and a post-credits scene. Both offer some hints as to the future of the franchise, even if one is a little more revealing than the other.
The mid-credits scene confirms that a new Guardians team is already forming from the ashes of the old. This new team is led by Rocket Raccoon and also includes Groot (now bigger and more powerful than ever), Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Cosmo (Maria Bakalova). The team even features one of the children rescued from the High Evolutionary’s ship, Kai Zen’s Phyla. More on her in a moment.
As for the post-credits scene, we get another glimpse into Peter Quill’s life as an Earthling. Who would have thought his biggest challenge would be mowing the lawn and dealing with annoying neighbors? This scene also includes a fun nod to the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, as the newspaper reveals Kevin Bacon is telling the world about his strange alien abduction experience.
The biggest takeaway from this scene, though, is the tagline “The Legendary Star-Lord will return.” Star-Lord may be done with the Guardians, but apparently, he still has a part to play in the future of the MCU. If we had to guess, we’d say this scene is teasing Star-Lord’s role in the upcoming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. That may be why Marvel waited until now to have Peter return home.
Phyla-Vell In the Comics
Kai Zen’s Phyla is definitely the most surprising addition to the new Guardians of the Galaxy. But for fans of the comics, this debut is long overdue.
Zen’s character is actually Phyla-Vell, one of the founding members of the present-day Guardians of the Galaxy team in the comics. Phyla hails from a heroic family. Her father is the Kree soldier Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel and a man revered as one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe. Her brother is Genis-Vell, a hero as powerful as he is mentally unstable. In fact, Phyla was conjured into existence when her brother destroyed the universe and remade it with a few changes.
As the daughter of Mar-Vell and his genetically ideal mate, Elysius, Phyla-Vell has a pretty impressive array of superhuman powers. Her strength, speed, reflexes and durability are all far greater than most mortals. She can also fly and even absorb energy, redirecting it back as powerful energy blasts. And if that’s not enough, she also shares her family’s talent for cosmic awareness, making her attuned to the goings-on of the wider universe.
Phyla has also gained additional powers over the course of her career. After claiming the Quantum Bands and becoming the new Quasar, Phyla’s energy manipulation powers were given a massive boost. The Bands allow her to form energy constructs (like her trademark Quantum Sword) and travel through space. Phyla later gained even more power after becoming the Avatar of Oblivion.
Phyla is also notable for being one of Marvel’s first and most prominent LGBT characters. Her romance with Drax’s daughter Moondragon is a defining part of her character, especially since that romance has taken a few tragic twists and turns over the years.
Phyla signs on with the Guardians of the Galaxy after Star-Lord spearheads the new team. Following the cataclysmic events of Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest, the universe can’t handle much more death and destruction. The Guardians are tasked with preventing any further disasters that might damage the fabric of space and time. Suffice it to say, they’re not terribly successful, and Phyla herself winds up being killed by Thanos. Since then, a new version of Phyla-Vell from an alternate universe has appeared to fill the void.
How the MCU Changes Phyla-Vell
At this point, you might be wondering how any of this ties into the version of Phyla seen in Guardians Vol. 3. If it weren’t for her distinctive white hair and her energy powers seen in the mid-credits scene, it might not even be apparent that Zen is playing Phyla-Vell.
In fact, Phyla’s full name is never spoken during the course of the movie, and there’s a good reason for that. It doesn’t appear that she’s going to be called Phyla-Vell in the MCU. That would require her to be connected to Annette Bening’s Mar-Vell, a character who was also dramatically changed for 2019’s Captain Marvel. Instead, she’s just Phyla, daughter of none. That lack of family may play directly into her character arc in future MCU projects.
Phyla’s entire back-story and origin have been rewritten for the MCU. No more is she the strange byproduct of her brother’s cosmic meddling. Instead, she’s one of many children created by the High Evolutionary in his endless pursuit of the perfect biological specimen. Her powers appear to be the result of his genetic tampering. We’ll see if this version of Phyla undergoes the same transformations she does in the comics, like taking up the mantle of Quasar or becoming Martyr, the Avatar of Oblivion.
Phyla is also much younger in the MCU than she is in the comics. Whether that means much for members of her species remains to be seen. For all we know, Phyla and her siblings age at an accelerated rate, and she’ll be a fully grown adult by the time Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4 rolls around. Based on the way this movie ends, we assume another sequel is only a matter of when, not if.
What did you think of the ending to Guardians Vol. 3? Does this new team have what it takes to live up to the old one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
You can also brush up on how to watch Guardians Vol. 3 and learn about every character who's been a Guardian of the Galaxy in Marvel's comics.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.