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Guardians of the Galaxy recap: How the team joins the 'Infinity War'

When “Avengers: Infinity War” hits theaters April 27, it will mark 10 years since “Iron Man” launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this series, we check in with the key “Infinity War” players — the road they’ve taken and the path ahead. Today, we’re setting course for the cosmos and catching up with Marvel’s interstellar protectors, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Guardians of the Galaxy, who first blasted onto the big screen in 2014, may have been latecomers to Marvel’s sprawling movie arena, but the intrepid band of cosmic heroes is making up for lost time in a hurry. In fact, they’re slated to play a major role in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Here’s a quick catch-up on the GotG crew:

Star-Lord is played by Chris Pratt in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

Star-Lord: Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill made his MCU debut in James Gunn’s first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie in 2014. Taken from Earth at a young age by a group of spacefaring rogues called the Ravagers, Quill grew up to become an intergalactic treasure seeker, traveling aboard his spaceship, the Milano, and rocking out to his most prized possession: a cassette mixtape gifted to him by his late mother. When audiences first meet Star-Lord he’s in search of a legendary artifact that is soon revealed to be an Infinity Stone (specifically, the Power gem). But his quest winds up landing him in the Kyln space prison alongside some soon-to-be teammates.

In “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” we get to meet Quill’s father, an ancient being called Ego (Kurt Russell). Unfortunately for Peter, Ego doesn’t exactly have his son’s best interests at heart. The Guardians wind up destroying Ego and, thanks to a heroic sacrifice, Peter also loses his adopted father, Yondu (Michael Rooker).

Gamora is played by Zoe Saldana in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

Gamora: One of Thanos’ many adopted daughters, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora was raised to become the deadliest woman in the galaxy. That’s much to the chagrin of Karen Gillan’s Nebula, another adopted daughter of Thanos, who would constantly strive to win the mad titan’s favor. Both women were dispatched by Thanos to retrieve the Power Stone from Quill. Gamora found him first but was arrested and sent to the Kyln.

Thanks to her adventures as one of the Guardians, Gamora’s rough exterior has softened a bit. What’s more, she and Nebula have finally been able to start relating to one another. Their dysfunctional family dynamic will certainly come into play as they confront Thanos in “Infinity War.”

Drax is played by Dave Bautista in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity.

Drax: Also known as “The Destroyer,” Dave Bautista’s Drax has sworn vengeance for the murder of his wife and daughter, targeting both Thanos and the Kree zealot Ronan the Accuser. Although he’s from a species that doesn’t understand metaphor and often doesn’t understand his teammates’ humor, Drax finds his place as a valued member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Bradley Cooper voices Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel voices Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

Rocket and Groot: A lab experiment-turned-furry-ne’er-do-well, the short-tempered Rocket works alongside Groot, a massive sentient tree who communicates entirely through the phrase, “I am Groot.” The pair is also on the hunt for Peter Quill when they too are arrested and sent to the Kyln. Sean Gunn plays the performance-capture version of Rocket during production and the character is voiced by Bradley Cooper. Vin Diesel provides Groot’s rather limited voice.

At the end of “Vol. 1,” Groot sacrificed himself to save the team. Fortunately, Rocket was able to regrow his friend, but not without a cost. The baby version of Groot, who appears in “Vol. 2,” doesn’t have the same memories he used to and has effectively started his life all over.

Nebula is played by Karen Gillan in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

New Recruits: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” offered a few additions to the Guardians lineup. Not only did the team recruit Nebula as one of their own, they took in another Ravager, Sean Gunn’s Kraglin, and Ego’s alien assistant, Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Raised by Ego, Mantis has the ability to connect with anyone she touches and to alter their state of mind.

Baby Groot will become a teenage Groot in Avengers: Infinity War.

Time Travels: When we catch up with the Guardians in “Infinity War,” a large chunk of time has passed since the events of “Vol. 2.” Audiences got a taste of an adolescent Groot during a post-credits sequence, revealing that baby Groot had grown to be a surly teenager. That’s roughly the age he’ll be when the team crosses paths with the Avengers in “Infinity War.”

Adam Warlock will make an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Beyond Infinity: While the Guardians will have their hands full with Thanos for the time being, writer and director James Gunn has already teased a new character to be introduced in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” A post-credits sequence in “Vol. 2” hints at the birth of Adam Warlock, a genetically engineered perfect man.

Krugarr makes an appearance in one of the the post credits sequences of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

The Other Guardians: The end credits of “Vol. 2” also introduced a different assembly of characters that pay homage to the first comic-book version of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” team. The current lineup of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot didn’t appear in a Marvel comic until 2007. The original heroes included a very different Yondu as well as Stakar Ogord (played by Sylvester Stallone in “Vol. 2”). Ogord teamed with Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Martinez (Michael Rosenbaum), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus) and the fully CGI space worm Krugarr to create the first GotG. No word if we’ll ever see that team assembled for a full adventure in the MCU.

Click on the image below to continue on the road to “Avengers: Infinity War” with a look at the amazing Spider-Man:

Spider-Man battles the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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