In the film, I noticed the name to be used for the first time by Ronan after the crash landing, talking to the group. Later, Peter says something like “I guess we really are Guardians of the Galaxy”.

Is this where the name comes from? Did Ronan just make it up to mock the team?

Also, I didn't notice the line “They're calling themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy” from the trailer anywhere in the film.

I'm interested in the in-universe origin of the name, not what writer first thought it up. Also, I don't know how much does the film differ from the comic, so I have no idea if a comic-based answer would make sense here.

  • 1
    Comics-wise in the 2008 relaunch (which the movie is based on) naming the team is something of a running gag for a while. IIRC, Rocket Raccoon kept coming up with "cool" names. In the end, they named themselves Guardians of the Galaxy as an homage to a previous team that held it (from an alternate universe). Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 21:39
  • off topic, but: the only thing worse than trailers that includes all of the good parts of a movie, are trailers that include more of the good parts of a movie than the movie. (Haven't seen GotG yet, so I dunno if this applies.)
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 23:16

2 Answers 2


They did drop John C. Reilly's line "They're calling themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy" from the final release of the film. I also noticed that Drax is not in the lineup scene in the film, as he was introduced later. I think he was included in this part of the trailer so that all five main characters could be introduced in a similar way.

To answer your question, yes, Ronan the Accuser is the first to use the name "Guardians of the Galaxy" in the film. Peter Quill (Starlord) and Rocket do talk about saving the galaxy in earlier scenes, but they don't use the titular phrase until after Ronan coins it.

In the comics, there is some confusion as to where (more accurately, when) the team's name comes from as well. The "original" Guardians of the Galaxy come from 1000 years in the future, but those comics were published decades ago (in the late 1960s an early 1970s, then again in the early 1990s). That team traveled into the past (creating alternate timelines, as one does) and influenced the current team to take the name. So the current Guardians of the Galaxy took the name from a team that existed before them and 1000 years after them. Adding to the confusion, at least one character (Vance Astro, aka Major Victory) was a member of both teams, so it's not entirely clear whether or not the two teams influenced each other to take the same name, which would be a paradox.

  • 1
    Let's add to this! Vance Astro, who was part of both teams is originally from the modern era and became a deep space astronaut who traveled so far for so long, he ended up in the future. When the original GotG (the team of future people + Vance) first traveled back into the past, Vance met his modern day counterpart, convinced him to never go into space, and accidentally activated the teen's mutant power. This teen Vance Astrovik... would go on to be Justice (originally Marvel Boy) of the New Warriors and Avengers.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 19:25
  • @JoshDM Vance Astro met his 13 year old self in an old issue of the Defenders too. He's a menace to the timestream! Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 2:17
  • @JoshDM I guess you're just not supposed to make any kind of sense out of this comment if you don't know the comic? ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 23:11
  • @NapoleonWilson Made total sense to me, and I've never read the comics. Just your everyday closed time loop. ;-)
    – clacke
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 10:57

I have wondered about this myself, particularly since Ronan hasn't actually been terribly interested in these (to him) trivial characters, minor obstructions to his grand planetary revenge scheme. Nor does it make sense, since he's addressing the terrified denizens of Xandar when he uses the name, that he's referring to Starlord & Co., since why would he assume they'd know who he's talking about? Truthfully, they aren't protecting the galaxy, they're just trying to protect Xandar.

I think he's trash-talking the Nova Corps. They were the ones who killed his father, and his father before him, and etc. They're the ones who managed to get the treaty he so despises, and galaxy-guarding is the kind of thing he'd associate them with, however ironically. They have that goody-goody aspect to them.

He's telling the Xandarians that they are going to die because Nova Corps pissed him off with their cheap heroics, standing up to the might of the Kree Empire, and like that. He's not talking about the motley band of outlaws he just gave a thrashing to at all. He's not even thinking about them. His obsession is 100% with destroying Xandar to get back at Nova.

But in a few minutes, following the dance-off, he'll have that name flung back at him before he dies, and it will be associated with said ruffians by all Xandarians, who were just confused as hell by what was happening, and naturally assumed he meant the weirdos who blasted their nemesis to atoms.

It's a bit like when a British officer wrote Yankee Doodle to make fun of what he saw as the ludicrous ill-disciplined American soldiers he'd fought with in New York, only to have soldiers of the Continental Army make it their unofficial theme song. But in this case, Ronan was not even referring to the people the name ended up being stuck to. And they don't actually guard the galaxy until the second film (and the galaxy is only in danger because of Peter's Celestial heritage).

Anyway, if somebody sees James Gunn at a convention or something, ask him.

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    This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker. - From Review
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 18:54
  • @Chenmunka It actually does address where the name comes from and why Ronan made it up as well as who it is supposed to mock. It does contain some rambling, but actually tries to answer the question.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 11:17
  • If anyone can tell me why I'm wrong, they are free to do so, with or without reputation. As to rambling, well yes, I do that, but not very much here. It's in much the same style as the title characters, and if you like the film, what's the problem? You think the point was to tell a story where everything and everyone makes perfect sense? :) Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 22:14

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