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Marvel’s Rocket Raccoon Explained: Ain’t Nothin’ Like Him, Cept’ Him

4 Minute Read
Jan 4 2024

The MCU’s super genius raccoon from space likes to play it tough. But his backstory will leave anyone with a broken heart.

Rocket Raccoon has been one of the MCU’s fan favorites since his first appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. But this genetically enhanced raccoon from space has been around in the comics since the 70s and was inspired in part by the Beatles song “Rocky Raccoon”.

Rocket Raccoon’s Comic Book Origins

First Apperance: Marvel Preview #7, July 1976
Creators: Bill Mantlo & Keith Giffen

Rocket’s first appearance was in Marvel Preview #7’s backup feature “The Sword in the Star”. And in his earliest days, Rocket was known as “Rocky”. After that, he wouldn’t make another appearance until The Incredible Hulk #271 in May of 1982. Shortly after in 1985 Rocket finally received his own four-issue limited series. But we wouldn’t see the modern Rocket that we know and love as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy until Marvel’s 2007 and 2008’s Annihilation: Conquest series.

In the Earth-616 storyline, Rocket started out his life as a normal, wild raccoon. It’s implied that he was snatched from Earth and brought to the Halfworld Asylum where he was used as a service animal. But this eventually turned into experimentation and genetic engineering. Rocket’s intelligence was greatly enhanced through surgery, and his DNA was altered similarly to that of the Inhumans.

Rocket’s Powers & Abilities

As a raccoon, Rocket has natural senses that are much more attuned than an average human. For example, his sight in dark conditions is very good, as is his sense of smell. But due to his augmentations, Rocket has some super-raccoon abilities as well.

His enhanced intelligence makes Rocket Raccoon not only much smarter than other raccoons but among the smartest creatures in the galaxy. He is a master strategist, quickly picks up on foreign and alien tools, weapons, and ships, and has been known to communicate with a plethora of other species.


Aside from his intelligence though, Rocket is also a good friend to have in a fight. Enhanced strength, durability, agility, and reflexes all make him a formidable foe. And his abilities as an expert marksman and proficient fighter make him especially dangerous. Rocket Raccoon has an almost endless number of ways to make his enemies hurt. And when he runs out he can think of a few more.

Rocket Raccoon in the MCU

Rocket wasn’t introduced to the MCU until 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. And at the time the movie starring the talking raccoon and the talking tree was seen as a risky move on the studio’s part. Since then though, the Guardians have proven themselves to be some of the most popular characters among long-time comic fans and newcomers to the MCU alike.

Rocket’s backstory was uncovered recently in GotG Volume 3, and it was by and large the same as his comic origins. But in general, Rocket on the big screen is a character used in equal measure as comedic relief, sometimes the scariest member of the team, and a serious character with serious problems and trauma.

Is Rock Raccoon a Hero or a Villain

Officially Rocket is a hero, and we most often see him working to do good and generally better the galaxy. That said, how he does about this work as well as his general demeaner isn’t like many classic “superheros.” It may be more fair to call Rocket an antihero at times, but in general he’s definitely one of the good guys.


Why Does Rocket Say He Is Not a Raccoon?

While Rocket is- or was- definitely a normal raccoon in his early life, he makes a point of saying that he isn’t a raccoon. And this is mostly because of a lack of context, he just didn’t know what a raccoon was since he only had the capacity for language after leaving Earth and standard Earth raccoons don’t exist out in space.

Because of this when he was first referred to as a raccoon he assumed it was some sort of insult that he was unfamiliar with. By this point his attitude on the word may have changed. But it’s also not unreasonable to say that Rocket isn’t a raccoon anymore and has been made into something more.

Is Rocket Smarter Than Tony Stark?

Rocket would certainly say so. In fact, he has referred to himself as the smartest character in the MCU, and it may not be untrue. Rocket claims that while Tony Stark was smart, that’s only ‘Earth Smart’ while Rocket is genetically engineered space explorer smart. That said, these are two famously egotistical characters, so Rocket’s own ranking of himself may not always be the most objective.

Why Does Rocket Raccoon Have Two Actors?

Both Sean Gun and Bradley Cooper have been instrumental in bringing Rocket to the big screen because unlike some other characters, Rocket is created with CGI. Gunn is responsible for the motion capture acting behind Rocket’s actions and movements. Meanwhile Cooper is his voice actor, bringing the not-a-Raccoon’s most famous lines to life. That said, younger version of Rocket have also been voiced by Sean Gunn and Noah Raskin in Vol. 3. to make sure that young and baby Rocket’s don’t sound too much like adult Rocket.

What is your favorite Rocket Raccoon moment or quote? Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 yet? How did you think Rocket’s story on the big screen compared with the comics? Let us know in the comments!

Happy adventuring!


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