Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, is the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, both in the MCU and Marvel Comics. However, his origin story is completely different, and although the comics version has been revisited due to the popularity of the MCU counterpart, he’s consistently portrayed as more powerful than in the MCU. But why is that the case?
MCU’s Star-Lord is presented as a lot more immature guy who often lets his emotions get the best of him. On the other hand, in the comics, his origins of becoming Star-Lord are different, and his attitude is much more mature – he is presented as a hero made out of duty and honor.
Also, after Star-Lord killed his father, Ego, he lost the Celestial powers that he discovered upon meeting Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Now, there are speculations that Ego wasn’t even a real Celestial, and others suggest that Peter didn’t really lose his powers, but we can’t know until we see it on screen. Without further ado, let’s explore Star-Lord’s powers in detail.
Star-Lord in the comics
Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, first appeared in Marvel Preview #4 in January 1976. He was born to a human mother and an alien father. His father’s name was J’Son of Spartax, and he was the heir to the throne of the alien Spartoi Empire. J’Son was flying back home to aid his Empire in a raging war, but his spacecraft failed and crashed into Earth – Colorado, to be precise.
Meredith Quill was the only person to witness the crash, so she pulled J’Son out of the wreck and saved his life. Soon, the two fell in love, and about a year later, little Peter was conceived. J’Son had to go back to his home planet, but he didn’t want to drag his wife and child into a war.
So, J’Son blocked Peter’s mother’s memories of him forever and left. Peter grew up to become a space enthusiast, but at age ten, two aliens (sent by J’Son’s rival to the Spartai throne) came to Earth and killed Meredith. Since then, Peter has vowed to travel into space, find the truth, and get revenge for his mother. He was raised in an orphanage from that point on.
After Peter grew up, he became a NASA astronaut and was situated on a space station when all of a sudden, a cosmic being named Ragnar, the Master of the Sun, approached the station with an offer – choose one human who shall receive the title and the powers of becoming Star-Lord.
Peter wasn’t chosen – in fact, he was taken off the station completely – but he found a way to take the chosen guy’s place, and hence, he became Star-Lord.
Peter received a spacecraft he conveniently named Ship, which was actually a living, sentient star that bonded with Quill telepathically. Ship was his aid, companion, and comfort. It could change its shape and density at will and travel faster than the speed of light.
As for Star-Lord, he was bestowed with phenomenal technology and all kinds of gadgets. His blaster guns shot powerful energy blasts, and he had a mild superhuman strength (again, his powers were revisited several times, but this was the gist).
Eventually, Star-Lord became the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Still, instead of being an immature, mischievous thief with a kind heart, he was a hero driven by honor and duty – much more mature and dedicated to that ‘hero’ mantle.
Star-Lord in the MCU
In the MCU, Star-Lord’s origins were completely changed, but in a way that eventually still led him to become the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Peter was a normal eight-year-old boy from Missouri when his mother died of brain cancer. That very same night, he was abducted by aliens and taken into space. Those aliens were Yondu and the Ravagers, who raised young Peter as one of their own.
When he grew up, Quill nicknamed himself Star-Lord – the self-proclaimed most infamous thief in the galaxy. He’s actually a very smart guy, a great leader, and a strategist, but his immaturity and impulsiveness got the best of him numerous times.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we learn that Yondu kept Peter – but wasn’t supposed to. Instead, he was supposed to deliver him to Peter’s biological father, Ego. Ego presented himself as a Celestial who once fell in love with Meredith Quill on Earth, which resulted in the birth of Peter Quill. That means Peter was actually half-Celestial.
Well, Yondu kept him because he found out that Ego was killing off his offspring – hundreds of them – as soon as he realized that they didn’t carry the Celestial gene. Yondu knew Peter would be one of them, so he just kept and raised him instead. The difference is, however – Peter actually carried the gene. He was a Celestial, just like his father.
When Star-Lord found out what Ego’s plans were – eradicating all life in the universe until everything became Ego – and when he found out that Ego actually gave his mother brain cancer so that she wouldn’t be a nuisance later on – Star-Lord lost it. After a hard Celestial one-on-one, he killed his father.
That being said, after Ego was gone, Peter was once again left only human, losing his Celestial powers for good. Or did he? We don’t know yet, but he’s just a human with awesome gadgets, tons of space-travel experience, and a fabulous team of misfits protecting the galaxy.
Star-Lord: Differences between comics and MCU
In both the comics and the MCU, Star-Lord is the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, who has an alien asshole father, a ton of cool gadgets, a spaceship he pilots, and a big mischievous resume. He also has a kind heart, is a hero, and has great leadership and strategy skills. So, where are the differences?
Well, there are minor differences and major differences. Minor differences include Star-Lord’s origin state – Colorado vs. Missouri, his costume, the age at which he ended up in space, etc.
Major differences, however, mainly regard his power set. Seeing that Ego, the Celestial, is Star-Lord’s dad in the MCU, he has above and beyond a higher ceiling when it comes to raw power.
However, he seemed to have lost those powers completely, meaning he’s only a human with cool technology and an upbringing in space, allowing him to be more ‘advanced’ than your average Joe.
In the comics, Star-Lord ventured into space on his own accord, not because he was abducted. Also, his mother didn’t die of cancer – she was murdered by aliens. And his powers were mainly a part of his technology and the mental bond with Ship, but he also had minor superhuman strength and indomitable will to defend and do good.
The biggest difference, I believe, is in the attitude of Peter Quill. We all know him as this quirky, borderline-obsessively immature guy who is witty and intelligent, but his immaturity often leads him into tough situations. Also, he’s prone to reacting on emotions and messing things up because of it – we all know the ‘do not engage’ thing with Thanos on Titan from Infinity War.
The comic book version of Peter Quill was much more mature, determined, heroic, and duty-oriented – a well-trained astronaut with incredible skills. Later in the comics, the popularity of his MCU counterpart caused comic book Star-Lord to become much more like Chris Pratt’s big screen interpretation. However, still – he wasn’t like that in the comics originally.
Why is MCU’s Star-Lord weaker than the comic book Star-Lord?
My short answer would be that we don’t know if he’s weaker or if there’s a way for him to regain his Celestial powers. If he manages to get them back, he will be stronger than the comic book Star-Lord and is stronger than almost every other MCU character we know so far.
That being said, he’s currently only human with space-traveling experience, cool gadgets, and a whole lot of sass. His power levels were much more consistent in the comics, but the main thing that makes him stronger than in the MCU is his indomitable will and immeasurably more mature attitude.
Like, sure, he has a great sense of humor in the comics as well and all that, but he’s duty-driven, strategic, intelligent, and much more heroic. In the MCU, however, his immaturity is his biggest downfall – mainly because he never really had a good parental figure.
His father abandoned him, his mother was too sick to be of any service, Yondu was, well, Yondu, and even when Peter met Ego – he was absolutely the worst. Star-Lord lacked guidance, which led him to become so emotionally impulsive and immature.
Despite his wits, Peter appears dumber than he is simply because he does things that are dumb out of emotion.
If I had to pick one thing that I’d point out to say why Star-Lord from the MCU is weaker than Star-Lord from the comics, I’d say it’s the emotional impulsiveness and immaturity – not the lack of powers or skills.
If Star-Lord does somehow retrieve his Celestial powers, however… we’ll then you can kiss this MCU-Star-Lord-is-weaker notion goodbye. I guess we’ll have to wait to find out if it happens or not until May 5, 2023, when the third and final Guardians of the Galaxy movie premieres in theaters.