'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' Explores Rocket's Tear-Jerking Backstory

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' is here, and at long last, audiences finally learn how their favorite wise-cracking raccoon, Rocket, was created.

Katherine Stinson - Author

May 5 2023, Updated 11:56 a.m. ET

Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Source: Marvel Studios

Spoiler alert: This article contains major spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

The third and final installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is here, and it's all about everyone's favorite wise-cracking raccoon, Rocket (Bradley Cooper). The long-awaited movie, fittingly titled Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, offers audiences a glimpse into the cosmic superhero's backstory, and boy, is it heartbreaking.

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The film delves deep into his origins, and at long last, fans finally learn how Rocket was created. With that said, keep reading to learn how he became the anthropomorphic raccoon we all know and love.

Baby Rocket appears in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Source: Marvel Studios

Baby Rocket in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'

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How was Rocket created in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?

In the comics, the High Evolutionary performs experiments on all sorts of species, eager to utilize the best qualities of every subject he researches in order to fulfill his desire to create the perfect specimen. His cruel ways translate on the big screen, and sadly, Rocket is one of his test subjects.

The film begins by showing the High Evolutionary choosing Rocket at random from a cage full of baby raccoons. He's officially established as 89P13 because he was part of the scientist's 89th batch of creations. From there, Rocket is, as he previously said in the first Guardians film, "torn apart and put back together over and over."

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Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Source: Marvel Studios

While the movie doesn't show much of what happened to Rocket, the titular band of misfit heroes watches disturbing recordings of his surgical procedures. Nebula (Karen Gillan) states the torture Rocket experienced is much worse than anything she went through at the hands of her adoptive father, Thanos.

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James Gunn said it was "important" to be explicit about Rocket's backstory.

During an interview with Numéro, writer-director James Gunn revealed he was careful not to show everything Rocket went through at the hands of the High Evolutionary.

"Being explicit was important in this film. Rocket's story is the centerpiece of this trilogy to me. I wanted to be able to tell the full story, including its more brutal elements. But I'm also very careful not to show everything. I think a lot of the crude components in this film are actually stuff that plays out in your mind rather than on screen."

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Rocket flying a ship in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Source: Marvel Studios

James added that the focus of the Guardians trilogy is empathy: "We start with this incredibly innocent little animal who will eventually become the character we know, a mean, bitter little raccoon. Throughout his journey, we witness him opening up to compassion."

"Guardians of the Galaxy is about how we open up and close off, perhaps out of selfishness, or because of our life experiences, [...] whether they're traumatic or just negative ones, and how we use them as an excuse," he said.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now in theaters.

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