Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 adds all-new character Mantis to the team, as well as bringing Yondu into the fold of the main crew. But there very nearly was another new Guardian in the film, with the character making it as far as the initial treatment.
"In my initial treatment I had a whole other Guardian involved," writer/director James Gunn wrote in a Facebook Fan Q&A. "I loved the character and loved including him/her, and thought my take was fun. But I started to feel that there were two [too] many characters in the story and for all of the characters to get their due, I needed to remove one. So this character left, and Mantis stayed."
So, who are the likely suspects? Quasar, Moondragon, and Bug all come to mind, specifically as characters that Gunn might gravitate toward. Bug and Moondragon both have similarities to Mantis (the first in appearance, the latter in abilities) so it's easy to see how he might have found them redundant for this particular film. Quasar is interesting - the first wasn't ever a direct member of the team, the latter has a connection to the original male Captain Marvel (she's his daughter). Both include fairly complex backstories, though that's something Gunn would have no trouble altering if he really wanted to include one of them, and he did say he "thought [his] take was fun."
Interestingly, Gunn also mentioned that he had the possibility of including at least one Avenger in his film. "I could and I choose not to," he said in response to a question about which he'd put in there "if he could." So not only is there another Guardian that could've been in there, but an Avenger (likely the space-bound Hulk and Thor) could've as well.
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is currently in post-production for a May 5, 2017 release.
Have you seen Suicide Squad yet? Want to win a Hot Toys Joker figure from the movie? All you have to do head on over to ComicBook.com's Movie Database or click the image above and rate the movie to enter! A winner will be chosen August 19th, 2016!