In the past week since Avengers: Infinity War's release, the internet has been buzzing with reactions, theories, debates, and even hilarious memes about the Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Everyone who has seen the film, it seems, has strong opinions about various scenes, moments, and characters in the epic film but there is one moment that has prompted significant hate and vitriol for one particular hero: Star-Lord.
But that hatred and vitriol is not deserved. What Star-Lord did was significant and I'm here to explain why, as much as we hate what happened Peter Quill did exactly what he was supposed to do.
Warning! This article contains major spoilers for the plot of Avengers: Infinity War. If you have not seen the movie yet and wish to remain spoiler-free, this is your chance to stop reading and keep the film a mystery.
The scene that has the internet hating Star-Lord -- and even hurling insults at actor Chris Pratt on social media -- is as follows. Near the end of the movie, the Guardians of the Galaxy (sans Rocket and Groot who were with Thor and Gamora who we will get to momentarily) along with Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange attempt a risky plan. With Mantis subduing Thanos, the group attempts to remove the Infinity Gauntlet and thus, save half of the universe. However, Nebula shows up and notices that Gamora, who Thanos had previously taken, isn't there. It's revealed that Thanos killed Gamora in order to gain the Soul Stone.
And that, folks, is where things go off the rails. Star-Lord snaps. Despite the cries of those around him, Quill attacks Thanos for what he did to Gamora. His grief-fueled rage causes the Mad Titan to break free and stop the group from taking the Gauntlet -- bad timing, too, since Spider-Man was within seconds of getting it free. From there things quickly get worse. Thanos takes on all the heroes and handily defeats them, preparing to kill Iron-Man before Doctor Strange surrenders the Time Stone to save his life. Now only needing one last stone -- the Mind Stone -- Thanos departs for Earth and, in short order, acquire the stone, snaps his fingers, and executes his plan.
It would be very easy to blame Star-Lord for that finger snap and many do. We here at ComicBook have written about this development with Star-Lord pretty extensively, both reporting on fan reaction to the scene as well as looking at Quill's actions specifically with Kofi Outlaw taking the stance that the scene turned a "loveable rascal character" into an "obnoxious jerk" while Charlie Ridgely took the stance that Quill's grief-stricken actions are not only in keeping with the character, but also reinforces the idea that Quill is human and that Infinity War shows that love has consequences. It's a wide divide, fundamentally, blaming Star-Lord for Thanos destroying the universe isn't accurate. Quill isn't a jerk. Quill's rage may have just been the key to saving the universe, though we won't see that right away.
It was part of Doctor Strange's plan.
Before things went sideways on Titan, there is a scene where Doctor Strange uses the Time Stone to look into the future to see the possible outcomes of the conflict with Thanos. Of the millions of possibilities, there is only one where the heroes win. It's from there that the group forms the plan and that order of events is important to consider. Strange, who was part of the plan formulation, has seen the solitary outcome where the heroes manage to prevail. It would be ridiculous to think that, knowing this, Strange would allow them to pursue anything other than that one outcome though he likely kept this knowledge to himself. His job, as the one person who knows all the options, was to make sure that the elements he could control went off perfectly which is what he did. He knew Quill would freak out. He knew they'd fail to take the Gauntlet. He knew that, ultimately, Thanos would have to "win" to lose in the end.
You might say that makes no sense, but there's precedent for this argument and it comes in the form of The Infinity Gauntlet, the six-issue limited series written by Jim Starlin that had a heavy influence on Avengers: Infinity War. In the series, Adam Warlock allows Thanos an initial victory as part of a larger plan to save the universe from the powers of the Infinity Stones and Gauntlet. There's also a nod to this idea of letting the bad guy "win" first being the master plan in Infinity War itself. Prior to looking into the future, Strange is adamant with Iron Man that if it comes down to protecting the Time Stone or saving him (and Spider-Man), his loyalty is to the Time Stone. Yet, after seeing the future outcomes, Strange acts contrary to that. He hands over the Time Stone in exchange for Iron Man's life.
Doctor Strange also tells Iron Man that "it is the only way" when, after Thanos snapped his fingers, everyone around him starts to crumble and die.
Star-Lord didn't mess things up. Star-Lord didn't suddenly become someone he wasn't. Star-Lord acted exactly like Star-Lord should and Doctor Strange was counting on that to set into motion a series of events that would lead to Thanos getting a win so that he will lose in the end. It was all part of the plan.10comments
And that makes Star-Lord one of the biggest heroes, human heart and all.
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now.