Cosmo the Dog Explained: MCU Avengers & Guardians 3 Connections Revealed

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Cosmo the Dog Guardians Galaxy

Thanks to James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, audiences around the world can now meet the iconic Cosmo the Dog on Disney+, a character who fans have wanted to see in the MCU for a long while now.

James Gunn has introduced a lot of new and interesting characters to audiences across the world, and yet, somehow, Cosmo always slipped through the cracks.

The famous dog has actually already been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first appearing in the first Guardians movie's post-credits scene where the dog was licking The Collector’s face. However, here there wasn’t any further allusion to the canine being anything more than that.

Now, not only is the character finally here, but they’ll almost certainly play a major role in Vol. 3.

Cosmo Has Arrived

Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

It doesn’t take long for audiences to see Cosmo when they start the Marvel Special Presentation, as the character appears alongside Rocket Raccoon using their telekinesis to repair vents on the side of a building.

Cosmo, Rocket

And, honestly, for a dog and raccoon, the two are getting along together far better than expected. Cosmo is portrayed by Maria Bakalova, who made her breakout role in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm as the titular character's daughter.

From The Holiday Special, Cosmo will be going on to appear in next year’s Vol. 3. It’s unclear what their role will be, but it’s likely to be a substantial one.

The special doesn’t make any effort to explain why Cosmo is the way they are. It seems that’s an answer that’ll have to wait until next year’s threequel.

Cosmo’s Guardians and Avengers Future

Cosmo, Rocket

In the comics, surprisingly, Cosmo doesn’t actually have any connection to the Avengers themselves or nearly any of the Earth-based heroes. Though, the character was originally considered to appear in Avengers: Infinity War before getting scrapped to streamline the film's narrative, according to director Anthony Russo.

However, the dog has plenty of appearances alongside the Guardians.

In the comics, Cosmo was once a test animal for the Soviet Space Program (hence the CCCP logo on his suit) who was mutated by cosmic rays, resulting in his psionic powers.

Those abilities include extremely precise telekinesis, telepathic communication, telepathic illusions, and more. He’s been known to be the Chief of Security for Knowhere, which the Guardians have used as their base of operations in the comics, and now own in the MCU.

Cosmo, Rocket

When it comes to her place (the character is actually gender-swapped for their proper live-action debut) in the MCU, it’s unclear if she’ll have that high-ranking position—though, it’s at least nice of Gunn to have her stationed on Knowhere.

The third Guardians film will see the story focusing on the High Evolutionary, with Chukwudi Iwuji playing the key villain. For those who aren’t familiar, he is known for his genetic experiments.

For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems like he may very likely have been the one responsible for the creation of Rocket. Could he have something to do with Cosmo’s uniqueness as well?

Connecting those dots would make for an effortless and organic way to introduce audiences to Cosmo this late in the game.

On top of the Guardians themselves, there is another big character who Cosmo has plenty of history with: Nova.

Meeting the MCU’s Nova

Cosmo, Rocket

As of yet, Richard Rider, also known as Nova, has not been introduced into the MCU. However, when it comes to Cosmo, their first appearance was actually alongside the human rocket himself.

Cosmo first appeared in Nova (Vol. 4) #8, all the way back in 2007, when they ran into each other on Knowhere. The two have a fun buddy relationship that could be fun to explore onscreen, as they’ve helped each other out on multiple occasions, including when Rider was slowly dying of a sickness caused by Ultron running wild in the cosmos.

Cosmo, Rocket

Rider isn’t the only Nova Cosmo has interacted with either. The canine has spent time with Sam Alexander as well, who took on the mantle for a few years when Rider was thought to be dead.

A Nova project is in the works at Marvel Studios, but an estimated release window or plot details aren't officially known. It’s also not clear just what exactly it’ll end up being; while it was once supposed to be a Disney+ series, more recent reports indicated that it might have been changed into another Special Presentation.

Cosmo’s Future in the MCU

Guardians Holiday Special post-credits
Marvel Studios

It’s truly a crime that it’s taken this long to introduce Cosmo to the world. She honestly should have been introduced the moment the story took the Guardians to Knowhere (not counting the post-credits scene).

In the comics, Cosmo is responsible for putting together a new version of the Guardians after Peter Quill dies, called the Annilihators. This team included Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Beta Ray Bill, Quasar, and Ronan the Accuser; perhaps this is something Marvel will play into.

If Vol. 3 is truly the last adventure for the current iteration of the team, then the MCU is going to need a new cosmic team beyond Gunn's iteration of the crew. Perhaps Cosmo can help pull that together.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5, 2023, and the Holiday Special is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.