As Secret Wars looms closer, Marvel is slowly revealing a number of new series diving into the fates of the characters caught in the multiversal mashup of Battleworld. But today, Marvel has revealed exclusively to EW that Battleworld isn’t the only surviving terrain in the Secret Wars. It has a moon in its orbit, one that will be familiar to anyone who’s seen Guardians of the Galaxy—Knowhere, the head of a dead Celestial-turned-seedy-cosmic slum. In a brand new series, Guardians of Knowhere by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato, the Secret Wars have left the Guardians of the Galaxy, without a galaxy left to defend, wrapped up in a mystery that leads them to Knowhere—and the machinations of a mysterious new villain.
“We’re gonna open up on a mystery in Knowhere,” says writer Brian Michael Bendis. “And that mystery is going to open up a lot of stuff—including a new villain. Characters a lot of people have been asking for will show up, and by the end of the series, you’re going to see a status quo change that I think people are going to be very excited about.”
Guardians of Knowhere leans right into the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy film (which spent a healthy chunk of time in Knowhere) for its setting, which Bendis describes as Blade Runner-esque and evocative of one of Star Wars’ most famous locations.
“When I hear my kids or my kids’ friends talk about it, they talk about it the way we used to talk about Mos Eisley,” says Bendis. “Remember, before the special edition, you didn’t really see any Mos Eisley, you heard them talking about the scum and villainy [and you thought], ‘I want to go where the scum and villainy is!’ And it’s the same mindset, and very exciting to present a modern version of that to all the people that love the Guardians so much.”
According to Bendis, that scum and villiany will give Gamora and Drax plenty of time in the spotlight. “They do well in seedy underbellies,” the writer notes.
Like the Guardians themselves, Knowhere—a port of call built into the disembodied head of a Celestial, one of the most powerful races in the Marvel Universe—was formerly one of the more esoteric parts of Marvel history. Thanks to the success of the film, creators like Bendis can dive headfirst into what used to be the purview of only the most dedicated fans.
“It is so exciting that everybody knows who they are now … It certainly makes you think of the stuff that jazzed you up—like Star Wars—you remember, your imagination took you to places that George Lucas never even showed you. You just went there yourself,” says Bendis. “Seeing my kids do that too, just make stuff up—and there are no bad ideas when you’re that age—to be reminded of that, that stuff is the coolest stuff. The Guardians world has a logic unto itself that allows for a lot of that fertile imagination in a very exciting way. It’s almost like it demands it of you.”
That said, Bendis does acknowledge that this is a brand new series spinning out of a cataclysmic event story, so some fans are concerned about the changes that it may bring.
“Yes, it’s very scary—what will the Marvel Universe be when this is all done?” Bendis says. “The best series that are being done during this—and all the ones that I’m attempting—are going to bring something into the Marvel Universe that wasn’t there before. And this one will absolutely be doing that. There will be a fundamental change in the Guardians coming out of Secret Wars that I think is going to [lead to] a nice conversation for people to have afterwards.”
He adds a small qualifier to that last bit.
“And by people I mean some people. Some people are going to want to kill me,” he laughs. “But other people will be very excited about it. There will be a roll call change that I think people are going to be surprised by.”
Guardians of Knowhere #1 will go on sale June 17, 2015. Above, you’ll find the exclusive cover art by series artist (and Bendis’ art partner during New Avengers) Mike Deodato. Below, you can see Skottie Young’s interlocking variant cover art for the first few issues.