Who is [SPOILER] in Guardians of the Galaxy 3?

Phyla-Vell in comics
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The first post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sees at least one new addition to the team - and it's a character with a fascinating history in the comics.

Major spoilers ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. 

At the end of the new film the gang break up and largely go their separate ways. But it's not the end for the Guardians as a team. In fact, there's a completely overhauled line-up. Joining the team is a young girl who has a long, strange Marvel history that ties into the comic legacy of Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel

As glimpsed a few times throughout Guardians Vol. 3, the strange, white-haired girl who hangs with Rocket, Groot, and the gang is not Black Swan or Luminous as some have speculated, but in fact a version of Phyla-Vell. But who is she and what might she bring to the team going forward?

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

That said, the character as shown in the film isn't much like the Phyla-Vell of Marvel Comics, where she's got her own history as one of the many heroes to take up the name Captain Marvel after her brother Genis-Vell and her father Mar-Vell of the Kree. Despite those obvious connections (it's in the 'Vell' name, after all) Phyla's history is a bit more complicated than just being the daughter and sister of fellow heroes.

Created by writer Peter David and artist Paul Azaceta in 2004's Captain Marvel #16, Phyla-Vell was born to Mar-Vell and his beloved Elysius, but rather than being children born of love, both Phyla and her older brother Genis-Vell are genetically engineered from Mar-Vell's DNA, with super strength, speed, and toughness, as well as the ability to fly and to manipulate energy.

Genis was created first, going on to become a new Captain Marvel, much like his father Mar-Vell before him, the original Captain Marvel of Marvel Comics. But through a strange series of events, Genis altered history, leading to the birth of his younger sister Phyla-Vell as part of the many changes he made to his own timeline.

Phyla-Vell quickly became a hero much like her brother, though his power of 'Cosmic Awareness' began to drive him mad, eventually leading Phyla herself to become the new Captain Marvel for a time, in Genis' place.


(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Phyla then took up the name Quasar as well as the cosmic Quantum Bands that go with the name following the death of the original Wendell Vaughan in the 2006 crossover event Annihilation, eventually joining the Guardians of the Galaxy in the 2008 incarnation that inspired the classic MCU Guardians roster.

During the Annihilation event and into her time on the Guardians, Phyla-Vell fell in love with her fellow hero Moondragon, eventually making a deal with the cosmic entity known as Oblivion to save Moondragon's life. This led to Phyla taking up the codename Martyr for a time.

Unfortunately, after that, both Phyla-Vell and Moondragon would become somewhat stuck in a cycle of death and rebirth after being killed by Thanos, eventually winding up stuck in Hell.

However, the Phyla-Vell and Moondragon of an alt-reality have since made their way to the core Marvel Universe, even joining one of the most recent comic incarnations of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Speaking of which, it seems, based on Guardians Vol. 3, that almost none of Phyla-Vell's comic book origins apply in the MCU. Rather than being the daughter of the Kree warrior Mar-Vell and his super-scientist paramour Elysius, she's a creation of the High Evolutionary who created her entire race in the pursuit of finding the perfect lifeform.

High Evolutionary and Phyla-Vell in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

That said, the MCU character's name is still Phyla-Vell, and there's enough genetic engineering and alt-reality weirdness in her comic book past to somehow find a movie connection between Phyla and Mar-Vell, who was not a superhero but Carol Danvers' mentor in the MCU. Could the High Evolutionary be using Kree DNA to create his gentically engineered lifeforms?

However Phyla-Vell's MCU future shakes out, it's interesting that she's been introduced just ahead of the release of The Marvels later this year, which deals directly with the legacy of Captain Marvel, and possibly even the Quantum Bands Phyla has often worn in comics.

Will Phyla-Vell factor into The Marvels, or the larger Kree mythos of the MCU? We'll have to wait and see.

Phyla-Vell is one of the many heroes who have used the name Captain Marvel in the Marvel Universe.

For more spoiler-heavy deep dives into the movie, check out our guides on:

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)