An Original Guardians Of The Galaxy Easter Egg May Have Given False Hope For Vol. 3

This post contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been dropping brightly colored Easter eggs for comic book fans ever since the very beginning when Jon Favreau's "Iron Man" named a terrorist group that kidnapped Tony Stark "The Ten Rings," after the infamous weapons of the superhero's arch-nemesis The Mandarin. And while the Mandarin's journey to the big screen was pretty circuitous, this little reference laid the foundation for many hints and teases in future films.

Whether it's catching an early hint of T'Challa and Namor's hidden kingdoms in "Iron Man 2" or the Infinity Gauntlet turning up in the background of "Thor," eagle-eyed Marvel Comics fans have learned to always be on the lookout for subtle references to the source material. Sometimes they're just little gags, but sometimes they hint at bigger stories and mysteries to come.

Then again, sometimes they turn out to be wildly misleading. If you've seen "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," and remember one of the Easter eggs from the original "Guardians of the Galaxy," you might already know what we're talking about.

Let me egg-splain

At the beginning of James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy," most of the characters who would form the core of the super team — Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) — are arrested by the Nova Corps, where they are given the sci-fi version of the usual prison processing treatment. Their personal items are confiscated, and they essentially have their mug shots taken. But since it's all futuristic, when we see the Guardians in those shots, their personal records pop up on the screen next to them.

It's here that we get a pretty big reference to a character who, as we have confirmed in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," was one of the most essential people in Rocket's life. Under the heading of "Associates," the Nova Corps computer lists Groot, the ambulatory tree, and someone named Lylla.

Fans of the Rocket Raccoon comics would probably recognize the name. Lylla was an anthropomorphic otter and the love of Rocket's life. So by including her name prominently in the foreground of one of Rocket's big introductory scenes, fans might have assumed that Lylla was out there somewhere, waiting to be introduced in the films. But as we learned in "Vol. 3," that only turned out to be partially correct.

Love and otter disasters

In "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," Rocket is seriously injured and spends most of the film unconscious, reliving his tragic past. It's there that the audience finally meets Lylla (Linda Cardellini), who — just like Rocket, and their cellmates Teefs (Asim Chaudhry) and Floor (Mikaela Hoover) — used to be an ordinarily Earth animal before the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) performed horrifying experiments upon them, in an attempt to create a perfect race.

James Gunn's film builds the relationship between Rocket and his cellmates, especially Lylla, until a traumatizing scene where, just as they are all about to escape, the High Evolutionary kills Lylla. Soon, Floor and Teefs are killed as well. It's devastatingly tragic.

It also means that the Easter egg from "Guardians of the Galaxy" no longer makes sense. How could Lylla be listed as one of Rocket's known associates when literally no one living, other than Rocket, ever knew Lylla? In fact, how does anyone even know the name she chose for herself, given she only told Rocket and her (dead) cellmates?

Cold comfort arm

It's tempting to try to "No-Prize" our way out of this and come up with an elaborate story for why it totally makes sense for the Nova Corps to know all about Lylla. Maybe the High Evolutionary sent them a missing person's report to try to retrieve Rocket. But that still doesn't explain how the High Evolutionary knew her name. Maybe Rocket mentioned her in passing, and the bureaucratic Nova Corps was so detail oriented that they included her name in his file, which is technically feasible but also a massive stretch.

But although one could bend over backward and imagine that, because Rocket loved Lylla and Lylla had cybernetic arms, that explains Rocket's hitherto never rationalized obsession with stealing robotic arms, there's a more plausible reason that we shouldn't overlook: They either hadn't written or eventually decided to change Rocket's backstory.

It has, after all, been nearly 10 years since the release of the original "Guardians." Plans change. New ideas form. And given that Rocket's on-screen file also indicates that his place of origin is Halfworld — the planet of anthropomorphic animals he hails from in the comics, even though in "Vol. 3" we learn that's not where he comes from in the MCU — this seems like the most likely scenario. They thought Rocket would be a lot more like the comic book version, and then they had new ideas. And rather than not tell the story they wanted to tell, just because a fleeting Easter egg in the first "Guardians" movie contradicted their future plans, they decided the Easter egg was less important. Because let's face it, it was.

Of course, James Gunn may eventually reveal there was a more complicated plan behind that Easter egg all along. But until that day we should probably make like Rocket himself and embrace what's happening now.