Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Star-Lord

Go To

"Hey! We're the Guardians of the Galaxy and we're here to— #%@&!! We're too late, aren't we?"
— Peter Quill, the Star-Lord

Peter Jason Quill, better known by his alias Star-Lord, is a Marvel Comics character created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, first showing up in Marvel Preview #4 (January 1976).

Described by co-creator Englehart as "an unpleasant, introverted jerk" who becomes "the most cosmic being in the universe," Star-Lord was a product of Englehart's newfound interest in astronomy at the time. Fans of the character's current iteration reading this might laugh at how much he's changed since, but as they say on TV Tropes, characterization marches on. In any event, Peter was originally presented as an arrogant, anti-social astronaut who accidentally became an outer space badass, and only some of those qualities have been retained through the years.

One of the character's early adopters was none other than infamous X-Men scribe Chris Claremont, who more or less took over the reins from Englehart in The '80s in titles, writing Peter in titles like Marvel Super Special, Marvel Spotlight, and Marvel Premiere.


Star-Lord then proceeded to languish in relative obscurity for years until the early early Naughts, playing a key part of Marvel's reinvigorated cosmic line. Following notable appearances in Thanos and Annihilation, Star-Lord joined the new Guardians of the Galaxy, where he's been best known since.

With the Marvel NOW! initiative in 2013, Star-Lord (and his fellow Guardians) were further implemented into the greater Marvel Universe, showing up in the pages of Avengers Assemble, as well as starring in a new volume of Guardians that initially teamed them up with Iron Man. In 2014, Star-Lord headlined his first ongoing title, Legendary Star-Lord.

During this time, Peter met Kitty Pryde in "The Trial of Jean Grey" —a crossover with the X-Men— and their relationship soon developed into a romantic one. "The Black Vortex", another X-Men Crossover, ended with Star-Lord asking for Kitty's hand in marriage, which she readily accepted.


Shortly after his engagement to Kitty, Peter ascended to the throne of Spartax, succeeding his archnemesis dad J'Son — oh yeah, did we mention he was the prince and heir apparent to an alien empire all this time?

Just as quickly as Peter became the ruler of Spartax, Secret Wars destroyed the Marvel Universe; luckily, Peter was brought on an interdimensional life raft conceived by Reed Richards —a rare aversion to the trope claiming he's useless— which brought him to Battleworld, making him one of the few people in the entire Marvel Universe who remembered the world that existed before God Doom came into power. In spite of himself, Peter played a role in the taking of Doomstadt, which ultimately led to the restoration of the previous Marvel Universe. During this time, he also co-headlined the Star-Lord & Kitty Pryde limited series, which paired him up with the Age of Apocalypse version of his new fiancee —- and she wasn't exactly enamored with him.

After that, Peter's duties as emperor of Spartax put him out of commission with the Guardians, with Kitty ultimately taking up his mantle as Star-Lord in the interim of the new Guardians volume. In the meantime, a second ongoing title — Star-Lord — launched, retelling Peter's origin as a wayward astronaut.

Star-Lord appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played there by Chris Pratt. It's widely believed that the Guardians' new emphasis in the comics was intended to serve as a primer for their first movie; an effort that clearly paid off, since Guardians of the Galaxy grossed a total of $773.3 million worldwide! Many attribute the success of Guardians to Star-Lord.

Star-Lord and Pratt alike have since become iconic action heroes in the vein of Harrison Ford and his roster of swashbuckling rogues (see: Han Solo, Indiana Jones), while the unlikely success of Guardians spawned a planned trilogy of films; a sequel titled Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was released in 2017, with a third installment to follow. He also shows up in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.

Notable Comics




Video Games

Star-Lord provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parent:
    • Meredith Quill's husband tried to kill Peter when he was an infant. Retconned out in volume 3, however.
    • J-Son of Spartoi is a racist jerkass who made no attempt to reconnect with his son for decades.
  • The Adjectival Superhero: Legendary Star-Lord.
  • Ascended Fanboy: He's a big fan of Astrology and science fiction since childhood.
  • The Atoner: He was the only one willing to fight The Fallen One, Galactus's first herald, despite being vastly underpowered in comparison. He won- at the cost of nearly everything he had, and the sacrifice of thousands of innocent lives. The death toll, even in the name of saving millions, transformed him into this. Later, he is tasked with setting up a deal between the Kree and the Space Knights which leads to the Phalanx infesting Hala and starting the second galactic war right after the Annihilation Wave months earlier, which forced him to become Star-Lord again. Now he fights to keep the universe from falling apart because he feels the responsibility for a good part of its current troubles are his fault in-part to begin with.
  • Badass Normal: He used to have powers, but lost them when he gave up being the Star-Lord. Now that he's back, he still doesn't have them, and is essentially just a really skilled human who is able to keep up with incredibly powerful beings like Ronan and Blastaar.
  • Black Box: The Element Gun, as bestowed by the Master of the Sun. Quill isn't sure how it works, even though he's had it since he was teenager, and has rebuilt it at least once. He just knows it does (and sometimes it does stuff that even he doesn't know about).
  • Broken Hero: After his encounter with the Fallen One.
  • Casanova Wannabe: In Volume 3 as written by Bendis.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: After that business with the Fallen One, he wanted nothing more than to be forgotten. Then the Annihilation Wave came along, followed by the Phalanx invasion.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In his classic appearances, he doesn't take too kindly to his father abandoning his mother and partially blames him for his uncle sending assassins to kill her, but doesn't outright consider him a villain and allows his allies to stay in his father's care. In more modern books, J'Son has become much more of a jerk, and Quill has far less patience for it.
  • Characterisation Marches On: As described in this blog post, he went through quite a few changes throughout his pubblication history.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: After he starts dating Kitty Pryde of the X-Men, some of his banter with her can get pretty pervy (including asking about if she has any lingerie and commenting on how her butt looks in her uniform), but it's mostly just teasing, and as shown, he does care a lot about her and wants to make things work with her.
  • Cold Equation: Intentionally blew up a moon with 35,000 civilians on it in order to defeat the Fallen One, saving entire planets from being destroyed.
  • Cool Helmet: From Annihilation Conquest until the end of The Thanos Imperative. It's widely considered one of the coolest costumes in comics.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Star-Lord can come off as not really knowing what he's doing and seems like a kind of ineffective leader, but when it comes down to it, he's able to keep the team together and save the day every time.
    Thanos: Interesting. You pretend to be superficial and glib, but you understand.
    Star–Lord: Aw, I bet you say that to all the boys.
  • Cyborg: He got a significant number of implants during his stay at the Kylnn, including a universal translator, and tech to enhance his strength. Ronan had them removed (barring the translator which was necessary for basic communication) when the Kree recovered him and forced him to lead their suicide squad into the Babel Tower.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: His fight with The Fallen One.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • The opening of Infinity Wars has Gamora run him through with a very large sword. Doctor Strange uses the Time Gem to fix that one.
    • He appears to die in issue 2 of Guardians of the Galaxy (2020), though even then he seems pretty confident he's going to live. He just gets zapped to somewhere else.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Quill's a leap without looking sort of guy, which can lead to him biting off way more than he can chew. Like charging onto Hala by himself to try and thwart a Skrull invasion, only to find the Kree had already found and dealt with the species they've spent centuries fighting. And since he's alone, this leaves him stuck with a very angry Ronan, who's holding a little grievance over that Phalanx business...
  • Elemental Weapon: His classic Element Gun, which he lost when he quit the mantle of the Star-Lord. He eventually got replacements.
    • Blow You Away: It can shoot gusts of air that knock enemies back.
    • Making a Splash: He can use it to manipulate water around him or just shoot it out like a hose.
    • Playing with Fire: It can shoot flame like a flamethrower.
    • Gemstone Assault: The earth setting can encase whoever it shoots in diamonds. Quill doesn't generally use this option much.
  • Expy: In his original origin, he was somewhat critical of the very concept of a "Star-Lord", drawing comparisons to the similarly cosmically empowered enforcers in the Lensman saga.
  • Eye Scream: He lost an eye taking out the Fallen One. During Annihilation: Conquest, Kree medical tech fixed that.
  • Famed in Story: Even though he really wishes he wasn't. He's also famed enough that even some of the incredibly speciesist Kree are impressed by him. It also why some of the proto-Guardians joined up for their mission with him, because he was the one leading it.
  • Fire-Forged Friendship:
    • With Richard Rider, fighting on the front lines of the Annihilation War.
    • With Jack Flag, who he meets in the 42 Prison in the Negative Zone. Fighting off a bunch of z-list villains and giving a guy somewhere to go will do that.
  • Fish out of Water: Played With. He feels out of place on earth after being stranded on Earth thanks to the Guardians ship blowing up. However it's more due to the face he dosen't really know anyone, and his former friends and fiance want nothing to do with him.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: On Battleworld. Singing Disney Songs
  • Got Volunteered: Not originally - he went rogue and attacked his fellow astronauts to steal the title of the Star-Lord from the chosen candidate, but after his retirement, he wasn't given a choice in taking the mantle up again for a Suicide Mission on Hala.
  • Guile Hero: He falls into this to compensate for being a normal human in a galaxy of superpowered aliens and monsters.
  • Guilt Complex: Quill considers the protection of the galaxy his personal mission, and anything that threatens it is his responsibility... which means whenever anything goes inevitably wrong, he considers it his fault. It's what drives him to keep fighting and part of what earns him the respect of the team.
  • Guns Akimbo: His preferred method of fighting- whether it be outdated human weaponry to fight the Phalanx, his signature Kree SMGs or just any random dual wielded alien laser gun.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He naturally has gold hair. He has it permanently dyed brown after enrolling himself in the Kyln. He's Suddenly Blonde again when he returns from the Cancerverse.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Half-human and half-Spatoi/Spartax.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Rocket Raccoon and Richard Rider.
  • Heroic Bastard: He was conceived from a one night stand.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • He and Nova Prime, Richard Rider, stay behind in the collapsing Cancerverse with Thanos, to ensure that nothing there can return to the main universe, seemingly sacrificing themselves in the process.
    • And again in the opening arc of Guardians of the Galaxy (2020), though he seems pretty confident he'll get better (which given how often he's died or nearly died by this point is pretty understandable).
  • Hope Bringer: Despite his best efforts, this is how he's seen by the galaxy at large, especially the Kree.
  • Human Mom Non Human Dad: Peter's mom is human but his dad is not. Of course, the Spartoi are Human Aliens so...
  • I Did What I Had to Do: He had Mantis give the founding Guardians a mental nudge to make sure they'd join up, justifying it that the universe didn't have time for them to hem and haw, as it was falling apart at the seems. Most of them disagree.
  • Immortality Bisexuality: Peter is outright stated to have entered into a bisexual polyamourous relationship with Aradia and Mors during his time in Morinus in Guardians of the Galaxy (2020).
  • Indy Ploy: His plans usually only consist of shouting "scatter!" or letting the team make it up as they go, although it's implied that he knows more about what they're doing than he lets on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Was more a Jerkass in his early stories, and after he initially quits the title of Star-Lord he's mostly faking being a jerk. By the time he's founded the Guardians, it's pretty transparent.
  • Jumped at the Call: Ironic, considering where he ended up. He watched aliens kill his mom and no one on Earth believed him, so he spent his whole life transforming himself into someone who could go to space and find his mother's killers. When he discovers the Master of the Sun is going to make one of his fellow astronauts a superhero, he goes as far as holding up the station and stealing a vehicle to get the title himself.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: After he initially quits as Star-Lord and turns himself over to the authorities, he transforms into a much more bitter and cynical man, but when the Annihilation Wave threatens the galaxy again he's still one of the key members of the resistance (just don't call him the Star-Lord).
  • Legacy Character: Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) has Quill become a new, if not the new, Master of the Sun.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Most of his plans boil down to splitting up the team into much smaller sections and having them do their own thing.
  • Loners Are Freaks: When he was still on Earth, he developed this reputation- his only company was his pet owl, and he dedicated himself fully to becoming an astronaut, leading to a complete lack of social graces and having very little patience or empathy for his fellow man.
  • Magnetic Hero: It's his reputation and personality that bring and keeps the Guardians together.
  • Mediation Backfire: His attempts at stopping conflicts tends to lead to this - from inter-galactic wars like the Inhumans and Vulcan's forces in War of Kings, to squabbles among his teammates.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The second volume of Star-Lord may as well be called "Shirtless Scene: The Comic." Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Kris Anka takes no time in showcasing Star-Lord's abs as well as him in short, tight-fitting clothing and many a butt shot.
  • My Greatest Failure: The incident that caused him to be incarcerated in the Kyln.
    • To explain Peter was responsible for restraining and capturing Galactus' first herald, the Fallen One, allowing his incarceration within the core of the Kyln. In order to achieve this, Peter needed to generate something equivalent to the Power Cosmic to stop him and in order to achieve that, he needed to blow up an inhabited planet and use its life force. Even though the decision was a final resort and his primary reasoning was that one dead planet is preferable to what the Fallen One would cause if left free, the decision and the 350,000 lives worth of collateral damage obviously still struck a massive blow to his conscience. And in the aftermath, he voluntarily turned himself over to the Nova Corp.
    • Later replaced by the Phalanx invasion, which happened on his watch.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: He held on to a Cosmic Cube for a while, but never used it, figuring the lure of its power was way too dangerous. Also, it was broken.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He knows significantly more about what's going on than he appears to at all times- he just chooses to hide beneath glib and superficial humor.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted; Peter Quill is the third Peter (after Peter Rasputin and Pete Wisdom) who has been romantically linked to Kitty Pryde.
  • Perma-Stubble: Between his appearance in Thanos and Annihilation: Conquest. He scrubs up for the suicide mission that forms the proto-Guardians, and stayed that way until 2012.
  • Pragmatic Hero: He can border on this at times, going as far as to have Mantis mentally coerce the members into joining the team to assemble them faster.
  • Rebel Prince: Technically he's the prince to the Spartax throne. He wants nothing to do with the Spartax Empire however.
  • Resigned to the Call: Partly because what with one thing and another thing, there's no-one else. Peter will try and save the galaxy, much as he would rather just settle down and live a quiet life.
  • Ret-Canon: His portrayal in the cinematic universe was so popular that his characterization was added to mainstream continuity and his back story revamped to include the new Yondu and the Ravagers. Any discrepancy with his background prior has been shifted to another continuity. Among other things this significantly deages him.
  • Retcon:
    • Originally, Quill got the title of Star-Lord from a cosmic being called The Master of the Sun. This was later changed to a hallucination, but as of 2020 this has been re-retconned to not just being a hallucination.
    • Peter's first origin story had his mother murdered by her husband (not Peter's father). Vol 3 of Guardians (written by Brian Bendis, known for a lax approach to continuity) changes this to Badoon assassins instead.
  • Sapient Ship: Used to have one, imaginatively called Ship. She was apparently killed in the battle with The Fallen One, but actually survived- Quill just refuses to contact her again out of shame.
  • Seen It All: Star-Lord's been doing this for a long, long time, and at this point next to nothing surprises him- from time-traveling alternate universe shenanigans, to a universe of eldritch abominations. It tends to happen when two of your closest friends are a talking raccoon and a giant tree-man.
  • Self-Applied Nickname: In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rarely anybody other than Peter himself calls him "Star Lord".
  • Ship Tease: With Mantis, in Guardians vol. 2, but nothing came of it (dying tends to do that).
  • Sour Supporter: During the war with the Annihilation Wave, he served as this and as the general of the resistance armed forces under Richard Rider.
  • Supporting Leader: He's the least powerful member of the Guardians by a longshot (except for Rocket), so even when he's giving commands and leading from the front, he still tends to fall out of focus in the scale of the battle. Especially during cosmic wars and events.
  • Swashbuckler: The classic era Star-Lord was this- he even engaged in sword-fights with his enemies at times.
  • That Man Is Dead: He refused to be called Star-Lord during his imprisonment in the Kyln, but was forced back into the mantle by the Kree to inspire a suicide mission into the Babel Tower on Hala to cripple the Phalanx. He tried his best to keep it from sticking, but gave up by the end of the war, embracing his title.
  • The Chosen One: Played with. Was given the title of Star-Lord by a being called the Master of the Sun, but he wasn't the person actually chosen - he was so desperate to become the Star-Lord, he wounded his fellow astronauts to steal the position - the Master of the Sun didn't seem to care much and decided he had enough merit to become the Star-Lord anyway.
  • The Leader: Type II.
  • They Do: Gets engaged to Kitty Pryde after the Black Vortex. Subverted as the two break up before the actual marriage happens.
  • Unexplained Recovery: He and Nova sacrificed their lives at the end of The Thanos Imperative in 2010. He returned in 2012. An explanation for how he got out of a dying universe stuck with an insanely angry Thanos wasn't forthcoming until 2014 (Rich sacrificed his life to get Quill out of the Cancerverse).
  • Un-person: Due to using Reed Richard's life raft, he is this on Battleworld. He ends up pretending to be Steve Rogers and working as a lounge singer for a pompadoured incarnation of Drax.
  • Vague Age: While all Marvel characters are subject to Comic-Book Time, Peter Quill is an interesting case of this. When he was first introduced outside of the Marvel continuity, his birthdate was given as 1962, and he was roughly in his late 20s for most of the early stories. When Quill was re-introduced in Annihilation, he was established as a grizzled, burnt-out veteran, with the comic's art making him appear to at least be in his late 30s (he also had dark hair). Following the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord's redesign not only changed his costume, but made him younger and his hair lighter to better fit the film's portrayal.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Master of the Sun bequeathed the Element Gun to Quill, claiming that it symbolised the utilisation of the primordial and esoteric forces of the universe (Fire: The Universal Radiant Energy, Water: The Mind and the Cosmos, Air: The Breath of Life, Earth: The Physical World). Quill finds these epithets to be overly grandiose, and is just rather happy to have a rather versatile firearm at his disposal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: His reaction to Martyr taking Crystal hostage.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: An issue of Guardians 3000 confirms the MCU films (or at least the first one) exist in the Marvel Universe. Quill's just faintly amused by the liberties it takes.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Following the MCU's lead, comic Peter and Gamora try a romance after All-New Guardians. It apparently ends when Gamora goes nuts and runs him through with a sword, then has to go on the run. Through Guardians vol. 4 they reconcile, but then in vol. 5 Peter leaves Gamora to go galaxy-saving and apparently gets killed.
  • Working with the Ex: An edge case. In Secret Wars, he ends up working with an alternate universe version of his fiancee who has no idea who he is, which ends up giving a similar dynamic to this trope.
    • And again after Secret Wars, where he and Kitty have broken off their engagement before being pulled together for One Last Job. Naturally, it's a Skrull trap which gives both much needed catharsis because the Skrulls decided to ambush them using all of their prior costumes.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: