At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn presents us with a new Guardians of the Galaxy team, led by Rocket Raccoon. Among the new team members is one of the white-haired children rescued from the clutches of the High Evolutionary. Her name is Phyla, and she has an energy band around her wrist. This new teammate is Phyla-Vell, one of the most prominent members of the Guardians of the Galaxy from the comics. Specifically, Phyla-Vell hails from the era of Guardians of the Galaxy comics that the MCU team was based on. In the movie, Phyla-Vell is played by child actress Kai Zen. But who is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s Phyla-Vell, and what are this cosmic hero’s ties to some of the most famous spacefaring heroes in Marvel Comics?
Phyla-Vell Is the Daughter of the Original Captain Marvel and an Eternal
In Marvel Comics, Phyla-Vell’s story actually began with her brother, Genis. Genis-Vell was the son of Elysius, an Eternal from Titan, and lover to the late Kree hero Mar-Vell, the first Captain Marvel. After Mar-Vell died from cancer, Elysius took some of his genetic material and impregnated herself with it. She bore a son, Genis-Vell, who became a Captain Marvel himself after he was “grown” to adulthood. This is after Monica Rambeau’s time as Captain Marvel but before Carol Danvers took on the mantle as the current Captain in the Marvel Comics timeline.
Phyla-Vell’s Marvel Origin Story, Powers, and Abilities
Phyla-Vell’s origin story is a complex one, like many Marvel Comics creations. A being of great power, at one point, Genis-Vell lost his mind due to his vast cosmic awareness and recreated a new universe. In this new reality, Elysius created yet another child from Mar-Vell’s DNA. And thus, a new Marvel character was born: Phyla-Vell. Like her brother and father, Phyla-Vell’s powers included superhuman strength, flight, durability, speed, agility, and enhanced reflexes. She could absorb energy and project incredible bursts of power. Similarly to her brother, Elysius grew Phyla-Vell into adulthood with implanted memories of a childhood on Titan.
Marvel Comics’ Fourth Captain Marvel
During the time her brother Genis-Vell lost his marbles, Phyla-Vell claimed the title Captain Marvel for herself. This stint as Marvel Comics’ Captain Marvel did not last too long, as her brother returned to sanity and took his name back rather promptly. Phyla-Vell floated around the cosmic side of the Marvel universe for some time, forming a romantic relationship with the former Avenger named Moondragon. She would eventually become the love of her life, and the two married. When Moondragon died, Phyla-Vell literally went to Hell and back to return her to the land of the living. Phyla-Vell and Moondragon remain one of Marvel’s most iconic LGBTQ+ couples, and we hope to see this duo arrive in the MCU.
Phyla-Vell Joins the Guardians of the Galaxy as the New Quasar
A few years later, the epic Marvel cosmic crossover event Annihilation would give this character a whole new life. One that would lead Phyla-Vell to join Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy. Annihilation focused on a deadly energy wave reaching across the universe, begun by the Lord of the Negative Zone, Annihilus. The Earth-born hero Quasar, who gained his status as “Protector of the Universe” from the power of his Quantum Bands, lost them during the event. Phyla-Vell managed to steal the bands from Annihilus and became the new Quasar.
After several adventures, Phyla-Vell became a founding member of the modern version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics. She joined along with familiar characters like Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. She later returned the Quantum Bands to their original owner Wendell Vaughn, losing the Quasar name. After that, Phyla died in battle but managed to return from the realm of Oblivion changed, becoming the avatar of that dark reality. She was now known as Martyr. Years later, this version Phyla-Vell died too, later replaced by a counterpart from a parallel timeline.
The Formidable Weapons of Phyla-Vell
With the addition of the Quantum Bands to her arsenal, Phyla-Vell’s powers were doubled. The Bands gave her even more incredible energy manipulation powers. With the bands, she could absorb and transform energy on a cosmic level. It also gave her the power to make solid energy constructs and forcefields, allowing for interstellar travel without the need for a spaceship. The Quantum Bands also provided protection from telepathic attacks. With the Bands, Phyla-Vell could create a Quantum Sword, a weapon unique to her. As mentioned, after losing the Quantum Bands, Phyla became the Avatar of Oblivion, and the Quantum Sword became the Oblivion Sword.
Phyla-Vell in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
In the MCU, Phyla-Vell has totally different origins than her comic book counterpart. She shares her white hair, but this Phyla-Vell is still a young child. She was one of the many children who were the experiments of the High Evolutionary to create a perfect lifeform in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Phyla-Vell does not appear to have any connections to Mar-Vell, who in the MCU was a woman (played by Annette Benning in Captain Marvel). Although, that’s just an assumption. For all we know, the High Evolutionary used Mar-Vell’s DNA to create Phyla and all of the other children. We’ll have to wait and see if Phyla-Vell shows up again in the MCU after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. And hopefully, we can learn more about her true nature and origins.