James Gunn’s first Marvel film, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, ended with the Nova Corps revealing that Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) heritage isn’t fully human. In Marvel’s comics, Peter’s father is J’son, Emperor of the Spartoi Empire, otherwise known as Jason of Sparta, which totally means Peter isn’t fully human. But Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 takes Peter’s heritage to a whole new level, confirming that he is, in fact, half god. As if his ego needed any more stroking.
This post contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell) is, for all intents and purposes, a god. He confirms it in Vol. 2, though he insists that it’s god with a “small g.” He also refers to himself one time as a “Celestial” without explanation. It makes sense why he wouldn’t explain, as there is a lot to unpack there.
In Marvel’s comics, the Celestials are a race of humanoid aliens that came into being around the same time as the origin of the universe itself. They first appeared in Marvel’s Eternals #2 in July 1976 and have been revealed as visiting Earth four separate times to interfere with the course of mankind.
The first “Host” of Celestials to visit arrived on Earth about a million years ago to perform genetic testing and experimental alterations on human ancestors. This tampering resulted in the Celestials’ biggest impact on humans, as they implanted a dormant DNA complex that would eventually result in what were termed “benevolent mutations,” aka Mutants. So, the Celestials are directly responsible for the creation of Mutants, though it’s unlikely Mutants will ever make an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to complicated film studio politics.
The next three visits from Celestial Host groups resulted in the sinking of Atlantis, the Asgardian and Greek gods stepping away from directly involving themselves in earthly affairs (bye, Thor), and the Celestials deeming humanity worthy of continuing without interference, respectively.
There’s no telling just how many Celestials exist, but Ego is definitely one of them in the MCU. And he’s not the only Celestial to have popped up.
The second Celestial Marvel fans were treated to in the MCU was Eson the Searcher, who held the Power Stone for a time in Guardians of the Galaxy, as explained by the Collector (Benicio del Toro).
Side note: In Marvel comics, Eson might be Peter’s grandfather, as his father Jason was said to be the son of “Emperor Eson.” So, whether you’re going off of the MCU or comics canon, Peter is part god.
Meanwhile, the first Celestial was also in Guardians of the Galaxy in the form of a severed head. The mining colony of Knowhere (the insane, crime-ridden place where the Collector hangs out) is built inside the head of a Celestial. That’s the brain matter the people of Knowhere are mining in Guardians.
This severed head is kinda-sorta brothers with Russell’s Ego. They’re of the same race, but each Celestial (in Marvel’s comics) had a different thing that made them special. Eson the Searcher was tasked with seeking new worlds and new life. Devron the Experimenter and Gamiel the Manipulator were tasked with watching over Earth for a period of time. In Vol. 2, Ego the Living Planet (who’s not really, technically, a Celestial) is a little more dastardly and world-conquering than usual for a Celestial, but he has the megalomaniac vibe down pat. It’s just that most Celestials are a little more benevolent than him.
Luckily, the destruction of Ego at the end of Vol. 2, confirmed by Peter losing his newfound powers, might have put a stop to any Celestial trouble in the MCU’s future. Now, all the Guardians have to worry about is teaming up with the Avengers when Thanos inevitably takes hold of the Infinity Stones.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now playing in theaters.