By the time the credits roll on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the pieces have to be in place for the the Guardians to meet the Avengers. We know this because the casting announcement for Avengers: Infinity War has them on the list. We also know that James Gunn has promised Sylvester Stallone will have a vital — if small — part to play in GotG2. According to those who saw the footage at San Diego Comic-Con last year, Stallone was in Nova Corps gear but Gunn has hinted looks can be deceiving.
All this is to say, no one knows for sure if Stallone will be playing the iconic character of Nova or someone else. But James Gunn may have dropped a clue when he recently went on The Adam Carolla Show. During the podcast, Gunn revealed actor Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) also has a small but important part to play in the Guardians sequel.
“We have a couple of characters in the movie who are very important to the Marvel universe who are going to make their debut in Guardians Vol. 2, which people don’t know about. Sylvester Stallone plays one of these characters […] and my friend Michael Rosenbaum also has a pretty decent role in the movie as well. And [he] sort of works in tandem with [Stallone’s] character.”
Gunn goes on to joke that while that tidbit doesn’t seem like much, it won’t take long until the comic book news sites pick it up. Touché, sir.
What’s interesting is Rosenbaum’s role was kept so hidden, it isn’t even on as of this writing. Without even a rudimentary clue, fans are left to wild speculation. The obvious answer would be that Stallone is playing dying Nova Corps member Rhomann Dey he bequeaths his powers to Rosenbaum, who would be taking on the role of Nova, one of Marvel’s premiere defenders of the galaxy and ally of the Guardians.
But it’s possible Stallone’s dressed in a Nova Corps uniform is a red herring. After all, you don’t hire Rambo only to kill him off, do you? But what other character would need this kind of gravitas? Perhaps, I don’t know, Thanos’ dad?
Despite seeming to have burst forth fully formed as the most dangerous villain in the galaxy, Thanos was once a child with parents and a brother. They just happen to all be immensely powerful demigods. Thanos’ father — known as A’lars or simply The Mentor. Within the lore of the comics, father and son don’t get along well as Thanos murdered his mother in cold blood. Matricide will drive a wedge between any family. In fact, the Drax of the comic was created by A’lars and instilled with the sole purpose of destroying Thanos. Having Sylvester Stallone play the beleaguered father trying to stop his wayward child from destroying the universe would track. But then what of Rosenbaum’s role? He could perhaps be playing Eros.
No, not the Greek god of love. Thanos’ brother, who is the Mad Titan’s foil in just about every way. Charismatic and adventurous, Eros is an ally to the Avengers and an occasional active member with the callsign Starfox. Understandably unable to forgive his brother for the death of their mother, Eros would be an easy way to link the Guardians and the Avengers together in order to save the galaxy from Thanos’ wrath.
Of course, Stallone and Rosenbaum could also be playing characters no one has even considered. The joy and the frustration of Marvel’s space lore is that it is overflowing with half-formed, barely remembered characters just waiting to be fleshed out. Audiences will find out soon enough, when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 arrives in theaters this summer.