Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) reunited with Earthlings for the first time in a while in Avengers: Infinity War, but he seems to have forgotten where he came from after he corrected Tony Stark/Iron Man’s (Robert Downey Jr.) assumption about his origin planet telling the genius, billionaire he’s from Missouri instead. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo as well as writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely did a great job depicting the fan-favorite cosmic heroes in Infinity War. But there’s one tiny loophole when it comes to Quill: his confusing reaction when asked about his origin planet.
While the James Gunn-helmed films never set foot on Earth, it was very integral to their overall narrative, given Quill’s ties to his home planet. Guardians of the Galaxy‘s opening sequence established Star-Lord’s life on Earth before being abducted by Yondu, and throughout the movie, he continued to reference his life on his home planet, particularly his memories with his mom. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continued this trend by tracing back Ego’s (Kurt Russell) multiple trips to Earth to visit Meredith Quill. And yet by the time Avengers 3 rolled around, Quill looked genuinely confused when Stark told him that Missouri is on Earth.
Quill and his team’s initial encounter with Iron Man, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Titan started intense, with both teams going at it with each other not knowing that they were all out to confront Thanos, albeit having different primary motives. When Quill mentioned Jesus as a sarcastic answer to Strange’s question about what master he serves, Stark immediately figured out that the cosmic hero is actually from Earth like them. But instead of acknowledging his roots, Quill not only said that he’s from Missouri, but he also explicitly said he’s not from Earth. While there’s a possibility that he’s just been used to call Earth Terra by then considering how long it had been since he encountered Earthlings, this is still an interesting response from Quill especially, given that he has regularly talked about his home planet in the past.
Some fans have postulated that the reason why Quill would act indifferent after hearing about Earth and opting to name-drop Missouri instead was to make sure that Stark and his team are actually from Earth. Should this be the case, it subtly exhibited the character’s ability to think forwardly, after all, while he’s not exactly the smartest hero in the MCU, his years spent with Yondu (Michael Rooker) and the Ravagers equipped him with the ability to effectively navigate a tricky situation.
However, Stark wasn’t actually the first one to talk about Earth with Quill in Infinity War. Earlier on in the movie, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) already mentioned Earth to the Guardians while he was explaining that the two of the Infinity Stones are safe with the Avengers, which is why he believes Thanos (Josh Brolin) is headed to Knowhere to pick up the Reality Stone. At this point, Quill’s reaction upon hearing his home planet was neutral; he was actually more intrigued about the existence of the Avengers. In fact, learning about the decimation of Xandar evoked more emotion from him than hearing news from Earth.
Gunn served as a consultant for the Guardians portions of Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s curious that in both instances, it seems like Quill was almost indifferent about his home planet given how much he loves to spit out pop culture references to the point that even Mantis (Pom Klementieff) knew who Kevin Bacon is.