Director James Gunn may have some regrets about a subtle Easter egg he included in the original Guardians of the Galaxy movie back in 2014. The Easter egg referenced the character Lylla, portrayed by Linda Cardellini, who would later make her live-action debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Flashbacks Unveil Rocket’s Past
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 explored two interconnected storylines focusing heavily on Rocket and the High Evolutionary. While the Guardians fought to save Rocket in the present timeline, flashbacks delved into Rocket’s upbringing under the High Evolutionary’s cruel experimentation and torture.
During the flashback sequences, Rocket’s animal friends were introduced, including Lylla (Linda Cardellini), Teefs (Asim Chaudhry), and Floor (Mikaela Hoover). While Teefs and Floor appear to be original characters, Lylla, a talking otter, has a significant comic book history as Rocket’s ally and love interest.
Lylla’s Early Reference In Guardians Of The Galaxy
Interestingly, Lylla (Linda Cardellini) was referenced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe nearly a decade ago in the original Guardians of the Galaxy film, and this is a decision that James Gunn likely regrets.
In a scene at the Nova Corps, a written profile for Rocket is briefly displayed on-screen as a visual Easter egg. It includes a reference to him as “Subject: 89P13,” the same designation given to him by the High Evolutionary in Vol. 3. This profile also lists Lylla as one of Rocket’s associates.
However, it seems unlikely that the Nova Corps could be aware of Lylla’s existence, considering she did not survive the escape from the High Evolutionary’s laboratory.
Rocket’s Tragic Backstory
Rocket and his animal companions developed a close bond during their time under the High Evolutionary’s captivity. Unfortunately, only Rocket managed to survive their escape attempt, as the villain had intended to kill them due to their status as part of an earlier, imperfect batch of his animal experiments.
James Gunn initially listed Lylla as an “associate” of Rocket, alongside Groot, hinting at her potential involvement in one or both of the Guardians sequels as a love interest and ally, as seen in the comics. However, the director later changed his mind, integrating her into Rocket’s tragic backstory instead.
Gunn’s Thoughts On Changing The Easter Egg
During the E3 World Building Panel in June 2017, James Gunn mentioned that there was a background detail in the mugshot scene of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film that he was contemplating changing for Vol. 3. This scene showcased the Nova Corps’ information on each character, providing hidden details about their past and associations.
While it remained uncertain how Lylla would fit into the overall narrative of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, many speculated that she would be a figure from Rocket’s past whom he would reunite with in the present timeline, likely playing a role in his mission against the High Evolutionary and his experiments.
However, Lylla’s involvement in the present never materialized, as her character remained confined to the flashback sequences. Nevertheless, she became a crucial element in Rocket’s intense hatred for the High Evolutionary and retrospectively contributed to his character arc throughout the Guardians trilogy.
When James Gunn included the reference to Lylla in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, it was likely intended as a subtle nod