In the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Quill is a boy who never grew up. He was abducted by the alien Ravagers after the death of his mother Meredith (Laura Haddock). As a child, Quill couldn’t hold his dying mother’s hand as she reached out for him. So, his new life gave him the chance to run away from his grief by being someone else.

The film emphasized that “Star-Lord” was a name that Quill chose for himself — lots of ’80s kids pretended to be Han Solo, but Quill got to take his fantasy a step further. At the end of the film, he’s still playing the fantasy of Star-Lord, only now he’s a Guardian of the Galaxy instead of an outlaw. It’s easy to let your job subsume your identity, especially when it’s a job as fun as a galactic adventurer.

In “Vol. 2,” Quill finally meets his father, the (literally) planet-sized Celestial Ego (Kurt Russell). As Pratt noted, Peter starts to reorient his identity around his father. When he learns Ego actually has designs to destroy the universe, Quill rejects him: he chooses humanity over godhood and even accepts the late Ravager Yondu (Michael Rooker) as his real father.

Then Peter and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) get together, but she dies in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Worse, she’s been replaced by an alternate-timeline duplicate who doesn’t know Peter, which only reminds him of what he lost. So where does Star-Lord stand now? “He’s realizing that all of these various people that he’s found that are Quill,” Pratt said, “None of them are the real Quill.” Who is the real Quill? We’ll just have to find out alongside Peter himself in “Vol. 3.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023.

slashfilm