Spoiler Warning: This article explores the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and one of the post-credit sequences of the movie. If you still haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know more, turn back now.
Of the many endings on show as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 nears its conclusion, it could be argued that Star-Lord’s is the happiest. Sure, Nebula, Drax, Rocket, Groot, and even Gamora have all discovered new families and move on with their lives, while Mantis begins her journey towards self-discovery, but Peter Quill is the character who gets to go back to where he came from and discover that part of his life that he feared might have been lost forever was not only still there, but waiting for him with open arms.
Now that Peter has rediscovered and reconnected with his grandfather, however, you might have questions about Grandpa Quill. Don’t worry; we have answers.
What’s special about Peter’s grandfather, anyway?
As strange as it might be to realize, Peter’s grandfather Jason — whose name is only revealed in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, despite his earlier appearances in the series; he appears in the credits of both Guardians of the Galaxy and Vol. 2 as “Grandpa Quill” — is one of only a handful of characters to appear in all three installments of the series. He’s also the first character with a line of dialogue in the series (“Peter. Your momma wants to speak to you,” if you’re curious) with the series both starting and finishing with a scene between him and Peter, to underscore his understated importance to the series as a whole.
Following the death of his mother, Jason is the person the young Peter Quill was closest to — and the person he was going to live with, before being kidnapped by the Ravagers, as seen in the first movie. Jason represents Peter’s lost connection to humanity, and to his family, making it all the more important and meaningful that, at the end of Vol. 3, he chooses to leave behind his Star-Lord persona and go to find Jason once more. The series as a whole is all about Peter’s attempts to find family beyond his birth family, after all…
(It’s telling that Peter only feels comfortable going to search for his grandfather after saving his new adopted family and coming to terms with losing Gamora, having previously lost both his initial adopted family — the Ravagers — and his birth father, Ego. The Guardians series to date really is just about Peter’s familial trauma after losing his mother at age 8.)
Who plays Peter’s grandfather?
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Jason Quill looks very familiar,” it’s because he’s played by Gregg Henry, an actor who has appeared in everything from The Love Boat and Moonlighting to Gilmore Girls, with appearances in Scarface, Star Trek: Insurrection, Jason Bourne and other movies along the way. He’s an actor with a history with Guardians writer and director James Gunn in particular, having appeared in both 2006’s Slither and 2010’s Super before his three Guardians of the Galaxy appearances.
Who is Jason Quill in the comics?
So, Vol. 3 makes very little of the fact that we finally learned Grandpa Quill’s name, and that it’s Jason. Such a reveal likely thrilled long term Guardians comic book fans, however; in comic book lore, Jason — or, technically, J’son — is the name of Star-Lord’s father, the ruler of the planet Spartax, who first appeared in 1977’s Marvel Preview #11. In current Marvel comic book continuity, J’son crash-landed on the planet Earth and was discovered by Meredith Quill, with the two becoming lovers before he left Earth to return to his home planet — a variation on Ego’s backstory in the MCU.
Does this mean that the MCU Jason is actually also an alien, this time from the planet Spartan? It’s unlikely, because that would make Star-Lord’s mother at least part-alien, reducing Peter’s humanity even further. That said, the end of Vol. 3 does promise that “The Legendary Star-Lord” will return at some point, so maybe there is more story to be told, perhaps even including the history of Jason Quill…