Abnett and Lanning’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” has a large ensemble (the team has about a dozen members, though rarely all at the same time). That said, even if they killed her off, they clearly liked Phyla. She’s one of the focus characters and gets more page time than, say, Gamora. So why was the latter chosen to be the token girl Guardian in the movies?
Gunn hasn’t publicly said how Phyla got excluded from the 2014 “Guardians of the Galaxy,” or if she was ever considered to appear at all. It might’ve been simple practicality; a cast of five is already plenty to handle. Starting with eight Guardians like the comics did? That would’ve been biting off too much to chew. As for Phyla’s absence specifically? Gamora has ties to Thanos and the “Infinity Gauntlet” saga, so for franchise-building, introducing her made sense. In contrast, Phyla’s connection to Mar-Vell would be superfluous.
The movies don’t feature Moondragon either (Drax’s daughter is truly dead in the MCU), and that romance is key to Phyla’s character. Plus, let’s be honest — an openly queer woman as a lead of a huge blockbuster in 2014? That would’ve been pushing the envelope too much for Disney.
Gunn would later claim on Twitter that it was his own idea to include Phyla in “Vol. 3.” Clearly, he recognized the movie as his last chance to introduce some version of the character. If Phyla-Vell is your favorite Guardian, it must’ve been vindicating to see her get some silver screen recognition. Will the MCU Phyla grow closer to the comic version in future movies? We’ll have to wait and see.
The “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies are streaming on Disney+.