Did Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Very Quietly Intro a Canonically Queer Character?

I’m about explain the post-credits scene for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so immediately let’s go ahead and say SPOILER ALERT on everything past this point. Did you stop reading? I’m not playing around here. One last chance!

Great. Now for the rest of us, We’re here to talk specifically about the first post-credits scene, in which Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 provides a tiny morsel of a new canonically gay character, Phyla-Vell.

First, a brief explanation of how we got here! In the third act of Guardians of the Galaxy, you meet a group of children, all with stark white hair, who have been created and exploited by the movie’s Big Bad, the High Evolutionary. In that group there’s one young girl who in particular stands out in a few glimpses. The children are saved by Drax the Destroyer and the rest of the Guardians, and brought to the planet of Knowhere to begin their new lives.

So far, so good? In the post-credits scene we see this same girl, now suited up with the next generation team of the Guardians of the Galaxy. In this moment she’s referred to by name — “Phyla” — and we learn that among other things:

  1. She has the ability to conjure light energy in her fists
  2. She can make her eyes light up (imagine similar to Monica Rambeau, for my WandaVision/Captain Marvel fans)
  3. Her favorite musician is Britney Spears

Clearly, young Phyla has great taste in pop music, but what’s most important here is that while in the movie Phyla is a young girl freshly rescued, in the comics she is an adult with a girlfriend: her fellow Guardian of the Galaxy, Moondragon.

Phyla-Vell and Moondragon in Marvel / Annihilation: Prologue #1, written by Keith Giffen, art by Scott Kollins, Ariel Olivette, and June Chung, lettering by Cory Peti

Now, in the MCU, Moondragon is the daughter of Drax, who was killed offscreen even before the first Guardians movie. So while it’s unlikely that Moondragon is coming back, given the circumstances, it is nice that her father is the one who saves Phyla — if we want to be generous and look for a loose spiritual connection of sorts.

It’s disheartening that once again the MCU has chosen to introduce a canonically queer character from the comics, only to age her down so that they don’t have to deal with her sexuality directly in the film. Just last year, the studio did the same trick with America Chavez, arguably one of Marvel’s most famous lesbian superheroes, who’s in her early twenties in the comics and was played as a young teen by Xochitl Gomez in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. They did keep Chavez’s lesbian moms for the briefest of seconds, and they kept a pride flag on her denim jacket, but we deserve to ask ourselves… is that enough? It’s not.

Similarly, the MCU aged down both of Wanda Maximoff’s queer twins, Billy and Tommy, with their introduction in WandaVision and Multiverse of Madness, from their usual late teen selves to being young pre-teens (though it does appear that at least Billy will be older in the upcoming Agatha: Coven of Chaos, and played by Heartstopper star Joe Locke).

All of this is, of course, on top of storytelling decisions that shortchanged queer plots for both Valkyrie in the Thor movies, as well as Ayo and Aneka in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

I have seen some nerds whose opinion I trust argue that de-aging Phyla-Vell, along with Billy, Tommy, and America Chavez, is to set up a Young Avengers storyline. Though Marvel officially has not announced a Young Avengers project, there’s compelling evidence that all the pieces are in play. Still, even that scenario, it’s hard not to feel slighted that losing some of these characters’ canonic queerness would be considered an acceptable sacrifice. Phyla-Vell has been described as Marvel’s resident sword lesbian, and I wanna see it!

Now that we’re all caught up, I did want to say that overall, this was easily one of the best Marvel experiences I’ve ever had at the movies — and I’ve seen 29 out of 32 of them (I find Tony Stark too annoying to sit through standalone Iron Men, sorry to this man).

I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge Guardians fan. James Gunn — who has since left the MCU to head up the reboot of the DC Universe for Warner Bros. — put together a goodbye that was stunning both in scope and emotion. Marvel has a history of not doing right by the gays, a fact that we’ve covered many times before and will continue to do so. But if you’re an MCU nerd who’s been turned off by the uneven storytelling in Phase Four thus far, I cannot recommend this final Guardians enough.

Just do yourself a favor and consider this small morsel of gay in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 post-credits to be a cute bonus.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 700 articles for us.


  1. Oh, who cares? Seriously, it’s a superhero movie. Why does anyone’s sexuality matter unless it’s intrinsic to the story? And now it’s a child character? Cool. There’s a 10 year old who may be gay. Big victory for the LGBT crowd.

  2. I find the idea that anyone would positively call Phyla a sword lesbian hilarious since her most memorable moment with a sword was when she got her ass kicked and then stabbed to death with her own sword. And that’s how they killed her off, the Phyla that’s been running around in recent years is an alt universe version of her. So yeah, not great.

    As far as Moondragon goes I’ve been expecting her to show up for a while now since she’s the perfect sequel character. The daughter of one of the main characters who everyone thinks is dead. Plus she’s tied into the bigger cosmic stuff that the MCU seems to be moving into. I don’t know, we’ll see.

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