guardians of the galaxy vol 3 star lord helmet

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3/Marvel

James Gunn explains a controversial plot hole in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’: Star-Lord’s missing helmet

Many fans were confused by the absence of Peter Quill's helmet in a crucial scene.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on May 8, 2023

This post includes spoilers.

One of the most intense scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 involves Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) flinging himself into space to grab his beloved Zune. Exposed to the freezing vacuum, Quill comes close to death before the superpowered Adam Warlock flies out and saves him just in time.

Quill’s impulsive decision demonstrates the emotional importance of his music collection, his main link back to Earth and his mother. But to many fans, this moment felt confusing or contrived. Why? Because in previous films Quill’s costume included a helmet, and there was no obvious explanation for why he was suddenly traveling around without basic protective gear.

So instead of being immersed in a thrilling final-act scene where it genuinely feels like the hero might die… some viewers were either distracted by wondering what happened to the helmet, or outright annoyed by what they saw as a “forced” moment of mortal peril.

Responding to one of these questions on Twitter, director James Gunn explained that Quill’s helmet was missing because he forgot to pick it up when the Guardians left their HQ at the beginning of the movie. Gunn also defended the absence of Quill’s rocket boots, explaining that he’d replaced them with a jet pack—which Quill wasn’t wearing in this scene.

In a follow-up tweet, Gunn dropped what could be interpreted as a mild dig at MCU continuity. When a fan pointed out that Peter Quill’s last helmet was destroyed in GotG Vol. 2, Gunn replied, “It did but then he somehow had a new one in [Avengers: Infinity War].”

That’s a pretty minor detail compared to Gamora’s death-turned-amnesia storyline, but it’s one of several ways that the last Avengers movie interrupted an ongoing arc in the GotG franchise. It seems like Gunn wanted to get rid of Quill’s signature helmet years ago, but Infinity War got in the way, meaning he basically had to handwave the helmet’s return at the start of GotG.

As is often the case with continuity issues, your response to the helmet situation depends on whether you need stories to make perfect logistical sense, or if you’re happy to just enjoy them on an emotional level.

In the moment, that scene with Peter Quill in space feels believable and serves a dual purpose in Adam Warlock’s evolution from villain to hero. If you’re distracted by the helmet question, that’s a valid reaction. But the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise was never particularly rooted in logic or realism.

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*First Published: May 8, 2023, 9:18 am CDT