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Everything You Need to Know About Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Before You See the Movie

3 minute read

By the end of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a new family of rag-tag heroes — consisting of Peter (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) — has formed. In the sequel, hitting theaters May 5, that family gets ever bigger.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is filled with new characters, from Peter’s long-lost father to a somewhat mysterious character played by Sylvester Stallone to a new race of aliens who have seemingly borrowed their look from that Bond Girl in Goldfinger. The parade of new faces might leave you wondering, “Wait, am I supposed to know that dude from the first Guardians?” Here’s your guide to keep track of who is who and what’s going on.

The Guardians have been hired by a race called the Sovereign

The Guardians are now heroes for hire around the galaxy. In Vol. 2, they’re working with the Sovereign, a race of golden-skinned aliens. Led by a priestess named Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki from The Night Manager), they are obsessed with genetically perfecting their race and getting rid of weakness in the universe.

Nebula and Gamora have some issues to work out

Gamora and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are the adopted daughters of Thanos (the evil purple guy at the end of that movie played by Josh Brolin). However, they don’t exactly share a sisterly bond: Thanos tortured the girls throughout their childhood in order to make them into super soldiers and turned them against each other.

In Guardians Vol. 1, Nebula agrees to help Ronan destroy 1,000 planets if he will kill Thanos in return. That plan doesn’t work out, and Nebula escaped rather than accept her sister Gamora’s help. In Guardians 2, she’s still bent on ruining Gamora’s life and killing Thanos.

Sylvester Stallone shows up as Stakar Ogord

In Vol. 2, Sylvester Stallone is just the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stakar’s comic book origin story is complicated, so let’s just say that he’s an immortal being that lives multiple lives and at one point shared a body with his sister and could present as either male or female. He also is a member of a different version of the Guardians of the Galaxy in an alternate timeline.

None of this is important to the film: All we know about the cinematic version of the character is that like Yondu (the thieving mentor of Peter Quill with the magic arrow) Stakar is a Ravager, and Staker and Yondu are fighting for some unnamed reason.

Peter Quill meets his real dad, Ego

The plot of Guardians 2 centers on Peter’s parentage. At the end of the first Guardians movies, Peter is able (with the help of his team) to hold an Infinity Stone (the orb) without dying. The episode suggested that Peter is something more than mortal.

As trailers for Guardians 2 have already revealed, the orphan turns out to be the son of Ego, the Living Planet (in the human form of Kurt Russell). He lives on a planet of his own making (the look of which was apparently heavily influenced by his trips to earth in the 1970s to impregnate Peter’s mother). As his name might suggest, he also has a rather high opinion of himself, a trait that Peter has inherited — at least according to Gamora.

Ego has a sidekick named Mantis

Pom Klementieff plays Mantis, a socially awkward alien who with one touch can feel and sometimes even manipulate others’ emotions. Rescued by Ego, she travels with him and helps him fall asleep.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com