SPOILERS AHEAD for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (as if there’s anyone in the world who hasn’t seen it yet).
During the course of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the audience learns that Yondu Udonta, everyone’s favorite blue space-whistler, was once a member of a superteam of Ravagers, a sort of original Guardians of the Galaxy. We see Yondu interact with former teammates Stakar and Martinex, who talk about putting the band back together during one of the film’s (many) after-credits scenes. It seems obvious that Star-Lord’s team isn’t the first to guard the galaxy, and that matches up quite well with comic continuity.
When the Guardians of the Galaxy was first published by Marvel Comics in 1969, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot were nowhere to be seen. Instead, Yondu, Martinex, and other weird aliens made up the Guardians of the Galaxy that fought for cosmic justice in the year 3000. Although set far into the future, the team ended up making several trips back in time to interact with more familiar heroes. They were the direct inspiration for Star-Lord’s contemporary team, despite the fact they formed more than a millennium after he was born. To make matters more confusing, the original Guardians took their inspiration from the Avengers of the 20th century, with some direct analogues present on the roster. So, let's get caught up on the other members of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The comic book version of Yondu is quite different from the rough-and-tumble character portrayed by Michael Rooker in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Comic Yondu is an alien native to Centauri-IV, a planet colonized by Earthlings in the 29th century.
Yondu, a game hunter by trade, has similar powers to his movie counterpart, but he uses a bow to fire his arrows and then whistles to change their direction. In fact, Yondu’s race in the comic books communicates through a series of whistles and clicks, which makes it incredibly difficult for him to speak English. Yondu is one of the four founding members of the original Guardians, formed when he joined up with Vance Astro on Centauri-IV to fight against an invasion by the Badoon.
Stakar Ogord is one of the most famous original Guardians of the Galaxy, despite not being a founding member. Fitting with his massive comic book reputation, he was played by Sylvester Stallone in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He actually first appeared in Defenders #27, and was only associated with the Guardians later, due to his cosmic nature.
Stakar is actually the son of ‘90s-era Avenger Quasar, who was adopted as a child by a group of space Reavers, just like Star-Lord in the MCU. Stakar was involved in an accident with a “Hawk God” that merged him with his adopted sister, Aleta, to create a new, super-powered being known as Starhawk.
The two eventually married and had children (which is pretty gross), but fights over control of their singular body caused the two to split, both literally and legally, with Stakar as the loser in the conflict. As Starhawk, Stakar had a bounty of cosmic superpowers, but he still has plenty of potency as plain ol’ Stakar.
Martinex T’Naga is one of four founding members of the Guardians, who appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy #1 in 1969. He’s a humanoid, descended from an offshoot of humanity that colonized Pluto in the 30th century. Martinex’s appearance reflects his home world.
He has a crystalline structure, and his powers are the result of the genetic engineering which allowed him to survive the extreme temperatures of Pluto. He also has the ability to fire hot or cold energy from his hands. Martinex often served as the leader of the Guardians, and eventually left to form a different team of Galactic Guardians before returning to his original crew. Martinex is played by Michael Rosenbaum in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Aleta Ogord is the daughter of Ogord, a ruthless Reaver and the adoptive father of Stakar. Stakar and Aleta were involved in an incident with a Hawk God statue, and they were merged into a singular, super-powered being known as Starhawk. Aleta and Stakar had to take turns controlling Starhawk, while the other hung out in limbo.
Although they eventually married and had kids, tension continued to build between them. After Stakar attempted to completely wrest control of their shared body, Aleta divorced and defeated him, becoming the sole Starhawk for awhile. She also struck up a new romance with fellow Guardian Vance Astro. Aleta is portrayed by Michelle Yeoh in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.