‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2.’ Continues Its Love Affair With Obscure References

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be in theaters everywhere on May 5, 2017, but some international markets are already fortunate enough to see how director James Gunn expanded on the lore of the Marvel’s non-Terran heroes. Without spoiling anything, we know the Guardians will be dealing with Ayesha, who has a long weird history in Marvel’s comics. Part of the magic of the Guardians franchise is how it takes the weirdest, most opaque elements of comic canon and streamlines them into something manageable for general audiences without alienating core fans.

But Ayesha isn’t the only obscure (to most people) part of Marvel’s world that Gunn has brought into Guardians Vol. 2. In a recent behind-the-scenes photo that shows Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) meeting Yondu (Michael Rooker) on a snowy, seedy planet known as Contraxia.

Now, Marvel could’ve made up a new planet, but when there are dozens of minor planets already in the lexicon, it makes sense to pull one up that already exists. Contraxia has been around since 1984, when it appeared in Jack of Hearts #2, a miniseries about Jonathan Hart aka the Jack of Hearts. A half-Contraxian/half-human scientist mutated by his own creation (an occupational hazard for most scientists in superhero worlds), Hart discovered his alien origins and saved his mother’s home planet from destruction, only to have Contraxia vanish into the annals of Marvel’s lore.

But what little we know about the planet seems to have made its way into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Contraxia was a dying planet, with its sun losing energy every year. With a perpetual winter upon them, the humanoid Contraxians sent their best out to find a way to save their solar system. Though it seems unlikely Marvel would clutter the MCU further by introducing a new set of characters, it’s possible the Guardians could be tasked with the rescue of Contraxia. Or it could simply be a winter wasteland good only for illicit activities such as a villain and a pseudo-villain meeting under cover of the neon glow of houses of ill-repute. Either way, it’s nice to see these little Easter Eggs pop up, sending those so inclined down a lore rabbit hole from which there is no escape.