If you’re wondering just who that anthropomorphic otter was that our beloved Rocket Raccoon gave a warm embrace to in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 trailer, wonder no more. In all likelihood, that otter is Lady Lylla, a character that originated in Marvel Comics. They often described her as Rocket’s “soulmate.” Lady Lylla made less than 10 appearances in the comics. However, Lylla remains a crucial part of Rocket’s backstory, something that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will no doubt explore. Here’s the lowdown on the Marvel Comics history of Rocket’s one true love.
Lady Lylla, Marvel Otter and Toy Empire C.E.O.
Lylla first appeared back in 1982’s The Incredible Hulk #271, which was only the second appearance of Rocket Raccoon. In those early Marvel appearances, Lylla was the otter heir to an enormous intergalactic toy company, Mayhem Mekaniks, on the planet Halfworld. They named the planet that due to it being half industrial, half natural. Think “half Coruscant/ half Dagobah,” to use Star Wars terminology.
Once, the planet was a giant asylum, where robot caretakers looked after the patients. The robot caretakers eventually became sentient and experimented on the patient’s animal companions in an effort to evolve them. Eventually, Marvel’s Halfworld became a planet occupied entirely by anthropomorphic animals, similar to what we saw with Lylla the otter in the Guardians 3 trailer. We have a feeling James Gunn is fusing Halfworld with Counter-Earth, another similar Marvel Comics concept from the same era.
Meeting Her Soulmate
Eventually, a hostile takeover over Mayhem Mekaniks occurred, by the malevolent half-man/half-mole Judson Jakes, and Lylla’s parents were murdered. She needed help, and she received it from our favorite swashbuckling “trash panda.” Although Lylla regained control of Mayhem Mekaniks after that, the other fell in love with Marvel’s Rocket. The two went on to become a couple. They went off into the galaxy to have adventures together, getting a “happily ever after” style ending.
Rocket the Raccoon and Lylla the Otter’s Marvel Reunion
There were many years between these adventures, which took place in the four-part Rocket Raccoon series, and Rocket’s return to the Marvel Universe in the ongoing Guardians of the Galaxy comics. In those comics, we learned that Rocket and Lylla split up before he became partners with Groot and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, Rocket and Lylla reunited in 2011’s Annihilators #4.
There, Rocket learned that his former love had married an anthropomorphic rabbit named Blackjack O’Hare. Ultimately, Rocket accepted that Lylla had moved on, and the two parted ways, as Rocket continued his adventures with the Guardians. In fact, Rocket discovered that many of the memories he had of his otter girlfriend Lady Lylla were implanted, putting into doubt whether they were really soulmates after all. It’s now been a decade since Lady Lylla appeared in a Marvel comic, the previously mentioned Annihilators #4.
It is likely that James Gunn will heavily revise the Marvel Comics backstory of Lylla for the MCU version of the otter. While we expect her and Rocket to have a history together, we doubt that Halfworld or her giant toy empire will be a part of it. It’s far more likely that both Lylla and Rocket were subjects of the High Evolutionary’s experiments, and formed a bond as test subjects in his laboratory. Something the latest Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer heavily hinted at.
We’ll find out how much of Lylla’s Marvel Comics backstory remains when Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 hits theaters in May, introducing us to the live-action version of the otter.
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