Cosmo the Spacedog From 'What If...?' Is Actually Based on a Real-Life Dog

Cosmo the Spacedog makes an appearance in ‘What If…?’ and we love this dog. But what is Cosmo the Spacedog's significance to the MCU?

Jamie Lerner - Author

Aug. 18 2021, Published 10:13 p.m. ET

Cosmo the Spacedog in 'What If...?'
Source: Marvel

Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Episode 2 of What If…?.

The end of What If…? Episode 2 is almost eerily happy, but we can’t complain. The Marvel crew still leaves us with a bit of a cliffhanger, but T’Challa’s Star-Lord seems to be much better off at the end of his episode than we’ve ever seen Peter Quill’s Star-Lord in the main MCU timeline. One reason is because T’Challa adopts an adorable space dog! But who is this dog?

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Well, we’ve actually seen T’Challa’s pup before — his name is Cosmo the Spacedog, and he is actually one heck of a dog. He’s been through more of life than most of us and is actually somewhat of a superhero himself. So who is Cosmo the Spacedog?

Cosmo the Spacedog in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Source: Marvel
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Cosmo the Spacedog makes an appearance in ‘What If…?’ Episode 2.

We see Cosmo the Spacedog a couple of times in the second episode of What If…?, and he is definitely starting to get more and more screen time in the MCU. So we first see him as part of the Collector’s vast collection as one of his collectibles. He actually is also part of the collection in Guardians of the Galaxy as a real live-action dog.

Cosmo the Spacedog licking the Collector
Source: Marvel
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In Guardians of the Galaxy, he is freed when Carina unleashes the power infinity stone, which destroys most of the collection. But not Cosmo the Spacedog! In a post-credits scene, we see Cosmo licking the Collector’s face as Howard the Duck remarks that that is “gross.” Cosmo the Spacedog also dances in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.

In What If…? our favorite furry friend survives the escape, and T’Challa adopts him! Kind of like how Yondu adopted T’Challa. So we know that there’s a happily ever after for Cosmo the Spacedog in at least one universe.

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Cosmo the Spacedog in the Marvel comics is actually based on a real-life dog.

In the Marvel comics, Cosmo the Spacedog is actually a major character. He starts out as a Soviet canine experiment, actually based on Laika the spacedog. Laika was sent into space by Russia to test if the conditions of outer space are survivable for humans. (Poor Laika.)

Similarly, Cosmo was launched into orbit in the 1960s, but instead of just drifting off, Cosmo drifted off into Knowhere. Because of this, he mutates and gains telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

Laika the Spacedog
Source: Getty Images
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Cosmo the Spacedog is potentially the smartest dog to ever exist, so it’s no surprise that he and Rocket Raccoon butt heads quite a bit. In Guardians of the Galaxy, although they both contain superhuman intelligence, they resort to their animal instincts and growl at one another. There’s an MCU movie we wouldn’t mind — Cosmo the Spacedog vs. Rocket Raccoon.

Cosmo the Spacedog in Marvel comics
Source: Marvel

It’s rumored that Cosmo was set to appear in Avengers: Infinity War too, but unfortunately his part got cut so that the producers could focus more on the narrative. But since Cosmo’s part in the comic books is much bigger and he actually joins the Guardians of the Galaxy, he could make a major appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.

The first two episodes of What If…? are now available to stream on Disney Plus. New episodes drop Wednesdays.

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