One of the main reasons superhero teams are so popular is that they create a distinct dynamic. The idea of a found family composed of individuals with unique powers and abilities coming together to form a group where they can fit in by standing out is particularly appealing to many fans of the genre, and no team in the MCU exemplifies this better than the Guardians of the Galaxy. Something about their natural group chemistry, tendency to be rebellious but still have their hearts in the right place, and common drive to overcome the trauma of their respective pasts gives the Guardians more of that beloved found family dynamic than even the Avengers. So to celebrate the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie’s sixth anniversary, here are 20 quotes from the team that show their growth and dynamic as a unique family unit.
1. “Let's make something clear. This one here's our booty! You wanna get to him, you go through us! Or more accurately... We go through you!” (Rocket Raccoon, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Our five leads - Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot - don’t all see eye to eye when they first meet up. But once they’re in prison, they agree to team up in order to survive and escape. Rocket’s demand to the prisoners to stay away from Star-Lord doesn’t exactly imply warm and fuzzy feelings toward the former ravager, but it’s one of the first signs of camaraderie within the group (apart from Rocket and Groot, of course, since they were a team prior to the events of the film).
2. “I want you all to know how grateful I am for your acceptance after my blunders. It is pleasing once again to have...friends.” (Drax, Guardians of the Galaxy)
While not all the members of the budding team are willing to go as far as to use “friends” to describe their relationship with their new companions quite yet, Drax is the first to throw the the big non-profanic f-word out there. It’s a little awkward, but then again, so is most of what Drax says in this first movie. He’s getting used to opening up to others again after losing his wife and daughter, and there’s also the added hurdle of understanding the customs of entirely different species (an especially difficult task for someone who takes everything literally).
Of course, his words aren’t exactly received warmly by some of the other Guardians (but to be fair, that’s kind of to be expected when you refer to someone as a “green whore”). But soon everyone comes around, especially after Drax blasts Nebula away when she shows up to threaten her sister.
3. "I look around, do you know what I see? Losers! I mean, like, folks who have lost stuff. Their homes. Families. And we're facing a threat that could destroy us all." (Star-Lord, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Ah, the first “big inspirational speech” of the Guardians franchise. A superhero movie staple to be sure, but there’s a quirky spin put on it to suit this team. Somehow, Peter Quill manages to call his new teammates “losers” and make it sound like a compliment. Okay, somewhat like a compliment. Point is, this is the first time he’s taken control as the leader of a mission, and he’s grown to care about his comrades in the short time he’s spent with them. So while this speech may not be the most refined, it’s honest, heartfelt, and shows Star-Lord’s capability to step up and be a leader when one is needed.
4. “I have lived most of my life surrounded by my enemies. I would be grateful to die surrounded by my friends.” (Gamora, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Earlier in the film, Gamora is quick to mention that even if things are bad in the future, her life can’t get much worse than it was in the past. Forming truly amicable relationships with the other Guardians has still proven to be difficult for her (which is completely understandable considering she’s had to rely on herself for most of her life). But not too long after referring to her companions as “the biggest idiots in the galaxy,” we witness her officially refer to them as friends, proving she is willing to risk her life going into battle alongside them.
5. “We...are...Groot.” (Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Groot’s sacrifice is incredibly moving, as it shows that even though the Guardians have been largely self-serving up to this point and are only just starting to express amiability towards one other, this scene shows that at least one of them is able to put their own needs and desires aside when it comes down to it. Groot's actions here inspire his teammates to do similar deeds going forward.
Also, it must be mentioned that this sacrifice was surprisingly one that actually stuck after the fact, though we did get Groot’s “offspring” in the form of Baby Groot to take his place on the team.
6. "You said it yourself, bitch. We're the Guardians of the Galaxy!" (Star-Lord, Guardians of the Galaxy)
This moment not only officiates the formalization of the group by cementing their team name, but it sees the remaining Guardians having their own moment akin to that of their fallen comrades. They all join hands in order to withstand the energy of the Power Stone as they use it to defeat Ronan. This integral moment shows the foundation of the Guardians: wit, teamwork, and the willingness to bear a burden together - figuratively or literally - to see things through.
7. “Groot, get outta the way! You're gonna get hurt!...Hi.” (Gamora, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
If Guardians of the Galaxy was about the formation of the team, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is about the further development of their dynamic. The group operates much more like a found family in this movie, complete with a little Baby Groot for them to take care of. At the beginning of the film, the members take turns looking out for the little guy while simultaneously battling some nasty-looking creatures. Gamora’s interaction with him in particular shows both of the major sides of caring for a child: she has to act quickly and sometimes be a little harsh on him, but quickly shows him a little bit of affection right afterwards. We rarely see the soft side of Gamora - or any of the original Guardians, for that matter - so it’s nice to see her dish out a little love to Baby Groot.
8. "Can we put the bickering on hold until we survive this massive space battle?" (Gamora, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Of course, Gamora is right back to her usual no-nonsense self soon after her first scene in the movie. This line refers to the playful banter some of the other Guardians have early on in Vol. 2, and the mere fact that they’re now able to joke with each other in that semi-harsh way only close friends can shows how their bonds have strengthened within the short (in canon) timespan since the events the first film took place. As is custom in the MCU, the team that bickers with each other, battles alongside each other.
9. “When you're ugly, and someone loves you, you know they love you for who you are...beautiful people never know who to trust.” (Drax, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Mantis may not be a Guardian yet during this conversation with Drax, but the latter is giving her some sage advice in a similar, somewhat harshly-worded way that the Guardians do with each other. In fact, it seems like this particular tidbit could very well be something Drax learned in working alongside the rest of the team; the Guardians all come from different planets and are part of different species, and the first movie makes it clear they’re downright weirded out by each other (in terms of both appearance and otherwise). It’s made obvious that they’re not drawn to work together based on the attractiveness of their fellow comrades, and they know they can trust each other below the surface level.
10. “Those pools, they remind me of a time when I took my daughter to the forgotten lakes of my home world. She was like you.”
“Innocent.” (Drax and Mantis, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
While Drax is comparing Mantis to his presumably-late daughter and not any of the Guardians, this scene is where the relationship between the two really starts to grow. This, of course, is part of what leads to the latter’s joining of the team later on, and Drax making the comparison to his daughter adds a different sort of familial-esque relationship to the mix within the team.
11. “Look at you, a Garden of the Galaxy!”
“It's Guardian! Why would I be a ‘Garden of the Galaxy’?” (Nebula and Gamora, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer)
This quick little exchange between Nebula and Gamora is part of a larger argument between the two sisters, but it’s notable that Gamora’s correction of Nebula’s miswording seemingly indicates that she now takes pride in being part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Initially, she wasn’t on board with the group’s antics (especially not the dancing) but by this point, being part of the team is something that is very important to her and she is willing to openly go against her “forced” family to stick with her found one.
12. “All any of you do is yell at each other. You're not friends.”
“You're right...we're family.” (Nebula and Drax, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Nebula still doesn’t quite understand the dynamic between the Guardians, but by now the others have found comfort in it and see themselves as a family. It’s possible that Drax was using this term in part to help Nebula understand how they operate; they argue a lot, but at the end of the day, they’ve got each other’s backs, and that’s kind of like how Nebula is with her sister, Gamora.
13. “Baby Groot: I am Groot.”
“He Says, ‘Welcome To The Frickin' Guardians Of The Galaxy.' Only He Didn't Use ‘Frickin'." (Baby Groot, Yondu, and Rocket Raccoon, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
This unique little welcome greeting from Baby Groot to Yondu in Vol. 2 is exactly how one would probably expect to be initiated into the Guardians: in a crass but ultimately good-natured manner. It’s especially fitting after watching these three spend a good chunk of the movie together and ultimately coming to work as a unit in a similar fashion to how the Guardians of the Galaxy first formed in the previous film. At first, they're antagonistic toward one another before begrudgingly working together, then finally end up on positive, friendly terms.
14. “So, we’re saving the galaxy again?”
“Awesome! We’re really going to be able to jack up our price if we’re two-time galaxy savers.” (Rocket Racoon and Star-Lord, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
Nearly three years passed between the release of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, but only a short amount of in-universe time went by in between them. Committing to saving the galaxy a second time and Rocket’s comments on how they’ll be viewed after doing so is a small way for the team to acknowledge that they’re in this for the long-haul. The A-holes clearly intend to work together for the foreseeable future.
Of course, we as the audience already knew this when the movie came out, given that this is the MCU and by this point the Guardians had proven to be a popular franchise with the actors contracted for several more Marvel movies after Vol. 2, but it’s nice to hear it canonically implied. Furthermore, it's another indication as to how this group has become a close unit in such a short period of time.
15. “You don’t have to believe in yourself, because I believe in you.” (Drax, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2)
After a few conversations with Mantis ranging from awkward with a glimmer of kindness to downright uncomfortable, Drax finally manages to offer a few words of full sincerity to the newest Guardian. While their relationship gets off on a pretty odd foot, Drax is ultimately the person who Mantis is closest with upon joining the Guardians, and their scenes in this movie lead to some pretty hilarious interactions in Avengers: Infinity War and hopefully Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
16. “You will always be my sister.” (Gamora, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2)
Before becoming a Guardian of the Galaxy, Gamora was extremely reluctant to let her guard down, open up to others, and put her trust in anyone but herself. But getting to know her teammates and becoming friends with them has led to her allowing herself to explore and express a lot of her pent-up feelings about her past with Thanos and Nebula. She begins to mend her relationship with the latter in Vol. 2, culminating in this touching conversation between the two that finishes with a hug towards the end of the movie.
While the relationship between the two sisters existed before the formation of the Guardians, the team is the reason why these two are able to reconcile; the Guardians helped to fight Nebula in the first movie, and by the second film, Gamora’s experience with the group has been positive enough for her to begin opening up to others, including her estranged sister. This reconciliation is also a stepping stone on the path to redemption for Nebula, who later ends up working with the team as well.
17. “Groot, put that thing away...Now! I don’t wanna tell you again, Groot.”
“I am Groot.”
“Language!” (Star-Lord, Teenage Groot, and Rocket Racoon, Avengers: Infinity War)
Apart from Gamora’s tragic fate and its subsequent reveal by Thanos to some of the team, the Guardians give off a vibe that’s mostly comedic and upbeat during Avengers: Infinity War. Their first scene in the film is one of the few in which they’re all together, showing us how their found family dynamic has changed a bit since Vol. 2. It’s been about four years in-universe since the events of that movie, and the Groot the team has been raising is now a teenager who seems to be much less invested in the goings-on of the group now that he's more grown. Howeve, the team is just as invested in taking care of him as they always were, and the brief snippets we get to see of that in this movie are both funny and sweet to watch.
18. "I am Groot..."
"No. No. No. No. No! Groot...no..." (Teenage Groot and Rocket Racoon, Avengers: Infinity War)
Of all the Guardians, Rocket’s “tough exterior” shell is probably the toughest to break through, but it’s no secret that Groot has always had a special place in his heart, and their bond (whether the Groot in question may be the original or the next generation) is likely the strongest out of all the Guardians. And that’s what makes it so heartbreaking when Rocket is the one to watch Groot turn to dust after Thanos destroys half the universe at the end of Infinity War.
But what makes it even more devastating is the translation of this particular “I am Groot”. As confirmed after the film’s release, Teenage Groot is saying “Dad” in this scene, in reference to Rocket. Even though all the Guardians act as parents to Groot in some way, this scene confirms that the young tree sees Rocket as his true father.
19. "Tell me something. In the future, what happens to you and me?"
"I try to kill you. Several times. But eventually, we become close, we become friends. We become sisters." (Gamora and Nebula, Avengers: Endgame)
Once again, we have a conversation between Gamora and Nebula that has the influence of the Guardians present, but this time it’s Nebula who gets to express what she’s gained from the team’s existence. Her 2023 self is a full-fledged hero who works alongside Rocket Racoon. She managed to develop a positive if not exactly perfect relationship with the rest of the team - most notably, her sister - before Thanos attacked. Of course, Gamora is bewildered by a lot of things Nebula tells her about - not only this, but her relationship with Peter Quill - but it’s possible we’ll get to see her meet up with the current Guardians in Vol. 3 and see if she can learn from them the same things her past self did.
20. "I lost the only family I ever had. Quill, Groot, Drax, the chick with the antenna! All gone!” (Rocket Racoon, Avengers: Endgame)
As stated earlier, Rocket is the Guardian who is most reluctant to drop his snarky exterior, even during hard times. His methods of attempting to snap Thor out of his depressed and emotional state during this scene are...questionable. (Slapping him in the face? Not cool.) But one brief moment during his monologue here marks some major character development from him: he finally acknowledges the entire team who were dusted - not just Groot - as his family.
The Guardians of the Galaxy were built on the foundation of people who needed each other coming together for a common purpose. They - especially Rocket - didn’t realize it at first, but that purpose would soon prove to go far beyond simply getting out of a jam; the team has stayed together because they need each other to become better people and heroes, and because they need others to lean on for support in tough times...even if that support comes in the form of trading insults and snark. Rocket may have survived five years without most of his friends, but, oddly enough, it was their presence in his life beforehand that ultimately allowed him to get through that devastating period.