Guardians of the Galaxy 3: Freedom from a painful past.

What can we learn from an Earth-born part-human and a talking raccoon about acceptance of past hurts? Lots, honestly.


Those following the story on this lovable group of misfits would know how Thanos’ reign ruined and, in some cases, rewrote their lives. But the third instalment of this Marvel movie, it focused heavily on origin stories of the heroes. ( Spoiler alert). More importantly, it showed how Rocket Raccoon and Star-Lord a.k.a. Peter Quill, overcame their traumatic past to be the heroes that they are.


Rocket Raccoon undergoing live experiment procedures in his youth.
Photo via The Direct.

Rocket Raccoon’s Childhood

Guardians of the Galaxy’s final escapade begins when the team rallies to save Rocket’s life, after a mysterious golden figure smashes into him from outer space.

The High Evolutionary, Photo via Key To Writing

The Golden Figure (Adam Warlock), Photo via Looper

The High Evolutionary, a.k.a Doctor Herbert Edgar Wyndham, is a scientist who is obsessed with creating the perfect specimen of mutants or “perfect society”. The High Evolutionary sent the golden figure to find and capture his past experiment, Rocket.

Even admitting to his species was difficult for Rocket, because growing up in a laboratory left him with little awareness of lifeforms. He was, however, genetically engineered to be intelligent and responded to his experiment number ‘89P13’.

Friendships That Saved Him

Young rocket, Lylla, Teefs, and Floor. Photo via Nerdist

His traumatic upbringing is displayed in the form of flashbacks when he was comatose. His first and only friends growing up were similar experiments locked in small, filthy cages. They made his childhood enjoyable when they played tag, imagined looking at an open sky and created names for themselves.

Lylla and Rocket, Photo via Yahoo Finance

Rocket’s love interest, Lylla, showed him that his trauma does not define him.

“There are the hands that made us, then there are the hands that guide us… This story has been yours all along. You just didn’t know it yet.”

Sadly, The High Evolutionary deemed Rocket and his friends “a medley of mistakes to learn from” rather than the intelligent beings that they were. All of Rocket’s friends, including Lylla, were heartlessly killed in front of him.

Friendships That Continue to Save Him

Guardians of the Galaxy, Photo via People

Losing friends and people that we love, for whatever reason, can be painful. And some times we become afraid to love again. But Rocket gave friendship another chance and he found another  genuine group who really do care

When Rocket’s new friends watched his childhood spent as a live experiment, the footages of the experiment made them  cringe in pain and filled with rage. Star-Lord had to look away.

Nebula, who had also experienced abuse from her maker, commented: “This is worse than what Thanos did to me.”

Mantis cried: “Why didn’t he ever tell us about this?”

Some times, talking about a past that hurts us deeply can open up painful wounds. Avoidance of any memory of that pain can be the best coping mechanism for some.

Done Running

Everyone backing Rocket Raccon up in facing his past
Photo via Deadline

Rocket admitted to running away from his past. But he also knew that he had to face his greatest pain if he was to fully heal. So when every single member of the Guardians of the Galaxy (including Gamora!) was with him, he turned toward the crashing spaceship to finally face his maker.

“Pete, I’m done running,” he said.

Rocket Raccoon, Photo via The New York Times

Star-Lord a.k.a Peter Quill

Peter’s experience, while different from Rockets, was also one that was better left buried in the past.

Meredith Quill and Peter Quill in his youth
Photo via GOTG Wiki

Gamora and Peter Quill
Photo via Popsugar

Peter’s flight to the galaxy 

Peter Quill was 8 years old when he lost his mother to cancer. He fled and left his grandfather behind.

Many years and adventures later, the Guardians of the Galaxy leader lost his love interest Gamora to Thanos’ reality-altering powers. The lost of Gamora compounded the pain of losing his mother, and Peter spiralled into unending sadness. Just like Rocket, Peter reacted to his personal losses in a flight response, running away from the reality of the pain.

Star-Lord and alternate-reality Gamora, Photo via CNN

During the pursuit of Rocket’s maker, Peter’s sister Mantis, urged him to consider returning to see his human grandfather. But he was preoccupied with having to work alongside Gamora (from an alternate reality with no memory of the relationship). This opened past emotional wounds.

“You were everything to me and I miss you so much,” he said to a disinterested Gamora.

Peter Quill Returns to Reality and Earth

Peter Quill and his grandfather
Photo via Comic Basics

However, ironically, it was only when he realised that his friends and teammate’s lifes were endangered, that he stopped running and avoiding the reality of his situation. This empowered him to change.

Though with a heavy heart, he bid Gamora goodbye amicably, and finally returned to Earth to reunite with his elderly grandfather.

Rocket and Peter made difficult decision that gave them true acceptance of their past. Some times we have to look back, reconcile with the things that have hurt us, in order to be really free to move forward.

This story is yours, don’t let your past define you.

Here are some articles that could help you carry on.

Overcoming disappointment

Fighting off those haunting negative thoughts

Forgiving yourself

Post traumatic stress disorder

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