Classification: Extraterrestrial humanoids
Location/Base of Operations: Centauri IV (the fourth planet out from the star Alpha Centauri B) (see comments)
Habitat: 69% of surface covered with water, temperate climate
Gravity: 102% Earth
Atmosphere: 99% Earth density
Known Members: Chandra
(deceased), Delphinia (exiled), Samaya
(deceased), Yondu Udonta (exiled)
(Centaurian Inhumans/Incentaurians): Matriarch Oola Udonta, Arris, Els Udonta (aka the Stonethrower) and Prax Ord (aka Metallic Titan, deceased) of the Light Brigade
Estimated population: (non-Inhumans on Centauri IV and
elsewhere) 100 million
(Incentaurians [formerly aboard the city-ship of the Universal Inhumans]): 22,000 (11,500 male, 10,500 female)
Affiliations: Avengers of Earth, Spaceknights of Galador
First Appearance: (Reality-691) Marvel Super Heroes II#18 (January,
(in Reality-9812) Avengers Forever#1 (December, 1998)
(first mentioned in Reality-616) The Thing: Freakshow #3 (October, 2002)
(first seen in Reality-616) Annihilation: Prologue#1 (May, 2006)
Powers/Abilities: Most Centaurians possess no superhuman physical powers but, if they are like their counterparts from Reality-691, then their species may be natural mystics. They may possess an intuitive mystical sixth sense perception that would permit them limited empathic relationships with other life forms, with their empathic potential being inversely proportional to the other lifeform's level of development.
Some (or all) Centuarians may possess an intuitive mystical rapport with nature, particularly with their homeworld, but also with any world that still possesses natural wildlife. This rapport may enable some Centaurians to sense foreign bodies or substances or focus on specific elements within a specifc area. Some may also be sensitive to mystical beings and forces, and may be able to detect their presence.
Some Centaurians may be able to enter a trance state that allows them to replenish their own inner strength by communing with natural forces.
Aside from the Centaurian Inhumans, some Centaurians have demonstrated rudimentary psychic abilities. Chandra was a female empath who possessed the mental ability to sense the emotions of other beings. She was one of the Centaurians who believed that their people were gifted with such mental abilities by their gods. However, the identities of these "gods" (assuming that they were not actually Kree scientists from millennia ago) have never been revealed and even their existence has not yet been confirmed. Further, if these abilities are not mystical in nature, then they are likely the result of either mutation or latent gene sequences inherited from Inhuman ancestors.
An average Centaurian has physical abilities that are about the same as an average Terran human, assuming that both individuals are the same size and mass and gender and engage in the same amount of regular exercise. A Centaurian male who is an above average physical specimen of his race would have slightly more strength and endurance than the average human male.
Some official sources claim that the native Centaurian language is a system of grunts, clicks and whistles, and that while some Centaurians can master English it is painful for them to speak it for too long without resting their throats. This claim has not been substantiated and may simply be due to the fact that researchers did not take into account the natural taciturnity of their primary specimen (Yondu Udonta of Reality-691).
Some Centaurians (like Yondu) have demonstrated an ability to hear sounds that are too high-pitched for humans to perceive. However, nothing has been revealed about the exact range of sounds which are audible to Centaurians.
Cultural Traits: While some Centaurians allegedly worship elemental spirits, others (like Chandra) are known to worship gods. Anthos is the only god whose name has yet been revealed and some of his followers believe that he is the only god. Those Centaurians who do not worship any gods are known as "akuun" (a Centaurian word meaning "one-without-faith"). It has not been revealed what percentages of the population are akuun, Anthosians (Anthos worshippers) or worshippers of other gods.
Eyes: Two (on head)
Fingers: Four (plus opposable thumb)
Skin color: Blue
Hair: None; red dorsal crest
Average height: Approximately 7' (including dorsal crest)
Note: Some Centaurian Inhumans have different skin and/or dorsal crest colors than the majority of the Centaurian race. One had dark blue skin with a red crest while another had orange skin (striped like a tiger) with a green crest.
Type of government: Unrevealed. Official statements that their government is tribal in nature are seemingly contradicted by the possibility that the Centaurians may have a unified world government.
Level of technology: Unrevealed. Although some Centaurian warriors, like the Bowmasters, use seemingly-primitive weapons like bows and arrows, the fact that they were effective against the forces of the Builders suggests that the arrows weren't as non-technological as they looked. Similarly, some Centaurians (e.g., Chandra, Samaya) have demonstrated a familiarity with advanced technology which seems to indicate that (at least) part of their civilization is at a higher technological level than Earth, and includes access to FTL starships.
(Marvel Presents#4 (fb) - BTS) <"countless eons ago" in Reality-691's timeline, at least> - Ancient Centaurians (probably mystics) foresaw the coming of a cosmic threat which they named Karanada - "The emptiness that devours." Karanada was/would be an "anti-energy" creature, a moving state of non-being which would envelope all it touched and unmake it to conform to its own spiritual likeness. Karanada would be pure cold that was not merely the absence of heat, and total paralysis of both the body and the soul.
As told in the tales of the Centaurians, Karanada was to come upon the universe both slowly and suddenly, unnoticed, yet wreaking havoc. Its only purpose would be to put an end to existence, and beings who lacked its opposite, the essential element of spirit, would be doomed to be its victims.
(Fantastic Four I#577 (fb) - BTS/FF I#6 (fb) - BTS/FF I#7 (fb) - BTS) <300,000 years ago> - The Supreme Intelligence of the Kree Empire conceived of its metagenesis plan. Most Kree believed that the purpose of this program was to develop the ability to transform members of other races into sentient living weapons who would fight alongside the Kree, but its true, secret purpose was to find a way to reignite the Kree race's stagnant evolution. In carrying out the Supremor's instructions, twenty-three Kree science teams visited a total of at least 106 different inhabited planets and experimented upon test subjects from the various young races living on those planets. Somewhat to their surprise, the Kree scientists were able to achieve complete success. Through their experimentation, the Kree were able to develop a specific, race-based catalyst for each and every one of these species, catalysts that could transform those exposed to them, endowing them with abilities that made them living weapons.
(Fantastic Four I#577 (fb) - BTS/FF I#7 (fb) - BTS) - The Centaurians were one of the races upon whom the Kree experimented. The Centaurian Inhumans gained their abilities through Isogenesis, a process which involved injecting the extract of the Isogen Orbs.
(FF I#6 (fb) - BTS) - Once the experiments had been completed, the Supreme Intelligence summoned the two lead scientists to Hala to report on the results of their Metagenesis research. The Supreme Intelligence then began to simultaneously upload and review the data provided by the scientists but its analysis soon detected an anomaly, one which the Supremor foresaw would lead to its eventual death at the hands of the product of one of these metagenesis experiments. Fearing for its life, the Supreme Intelligence ordered the cessation of the research and the deaths of the scientists. However, one of the condemned scientists, unwilling to accept the loss of his life's work, managed to shatter the data crystal and terminate the upload at 94% before being killed.
(FF I#6 (fb) - BTS/Fantastic Four I#600 (fb) - BTS) - The Supreme Intelligence then ordered the Accuser Corps to wipe out all traces of the Inhumans who had been created by the Kree experiments. The Accusers burned over one hundred worlds but the incompleteness of the Supremor's data enabled five tribes of Inhumans to remain hidden and thereby survive.
(Fantastic Four I#577 (fb) - BTS) - Aside from the Centaurian Inhumans, the other four Inhuman tribes who survived were those created from the Badoon, the Dire Wraiths, the Kymellians and the Terrans.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#1 (fb) - BTS) - Over time, some Centaurians developed certain mental abilities (like empathy). Those Centaurians who were religious by nature came to believe that their gods had gifted their people with these mental abilities.
(Fantastic Four I#577 (fb) - BTS) - Eventually, under circumstances which have not yet been revealed, the Centaurian Inhumans (aka the "Incentaurians") somehow made contact with the Badoon, Dire Wraith and Kymellian Inhumans. These four tribes called themselves the Universal Inhumans and left their respective homeworlds to reside in an immense city-ship (of unrevealed origin) which traveled amongst the stars.
(Royals#6 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the Centaurian people divided themselves along religious lines into two (or more) groups. Since most Centaurians worshipped gods (especially Anthos), they came to see those who did not worship as being different from them, and these non-believers came to be known as "akuun" (a Centaurian word meaning "one-without-faith"). It has not been revealed if this division of the Centaurian race was a peaceful and voluntary separation or a violent and enforced segregation, but the continent of Akuunos on Centauri-IV is considered to be "the territory of the godless Akuun."
(Sub-Mariner I#18 (fb) - BTS) - For countless ages, the water vapor of the neighboring planet, Arima, which orbited the stars Alpha Centauri A and B in a "figure-of-eight" path, had been slowly escaping into space. In more recent years, the process of dehydration had accelerated, leaving Arima's cities exposed to the burning rays of its twin suns and its very civilization in danger of total annihilation. Acting out of desparation, the water-breathing "Alpha Centaurians" devised funnel-disks to atomize the hydrogen-oxygen liquids of other worlds and teleport them across the void of space to replenish the fluid of their world. They began to send out expeditions to planets with vast quantities of water and use their funnel-disks to steal their water.
(Star-Lord#2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the Centaurians came to believe that a male named Yondu Udonta was "a little too rough and tumble" for them. They told Yondu that he would "never make a good Centaurian" and then they cut off his "headfin" and exiled him from Centauri IV. Yondu would go on to become the leader of a small multi-species band of space pirates (the Ravagers) who would one day rescue a teenaged Peter Quill (the future Star-Lord) from dying alone in deep space aboard the Kree Warbird that he had stolen from NASA.
(Annihilation: Prologue#1 (fb) - BTS) - In recent years, a female Centaurian named Samaya was recruited into the Nova Corps. The details of Samaya's recruitment have never been revealed but she proved to be good at her job and eventually rose to the rank of Nova Centurion. She became good friends with a female Rigellian Nova Centurion named Pyo.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#1 (fb) - BTS) - In recent years, a young female Centaurian named Chandra who possessed empathic powers joined the crew of an alien starship. At some point, this starship came too close to the planet of "New Xeron" and its conqueror, Randau the Space Parasite, used his Solar Scepter to shoot down the ship and add its crew to his collection of slaves (which included some other Centaurians).
(The Thing: Freakshow#3 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Paibok the Power Skrull had "Centaurian scientists" in his employ amplify his genetic code so that his abilities would be enhanced. Exactly who these scientists were has not yet been revealed.
(Annihilation: Prologue#1) <Annihilation Day, plus 7> - In response to a Nova Corps crisis alert, Nova Centurion Samaya arrived at Xandar Spaceport with her Rigellian comrade Pyo, reporting for duty right behind the Terran Nova, Richard Rider. After shuttling down to the Xandar Cluster, the three Centurions sat together during the briefing about the destruction of the primary Kyln array. Samaya's battalion was ordered to reinforce localized Omega Core forces, but just as the briefing was ending, the Xandar Cluster was struck by a massive surprise attack by the hostiles (later identified as the Annihilation Wave from the Negative Zone). Samaya ordered Rider to go with her, and the two of them joined with other Centurions to battle the insectoid attackers. The battle was already going badly when Samaya noticed that the burning hulk of the Spaceport was coming down right towards them. Rider tried to rescue her by flying them both through the wreckage but, just when it started to look like they might both survive, some flaming debris struck Samaya directly, shattering both her helmet and her head and killing her instantly.
A shocked Rider barely had time to scream out "SAMAYA! NO!" before he was struck by a much larger piece of debris; Rider survived when his uniform protected him.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#1/1 - BTS) <Annihilation Day, plus 222> - With the death of Annihilus, the parasites which had forced those who had been infested by them to obey his will stopped functioning, freeing all the positive-matter beings who had been enslaved by them. Aboard the Annihilation Wave battle Cruiser Ch'trrr, Terrax the Tamer reacted explosively, using his cosmic power to destroy the ship and its crew. Terrax and his fellow ex-slaves Paibok the Power Skrull and the Elan known as the Deliquent survived the blast but found themselves riding a section of the destroyed ship as it hurtled to a crash landing on a nearby planet.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#1/1 (fb) - BTS) - On New Xeron, Chandra witnessed the crash and pulled all three from the burning wreckage.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#1/1) - Once all three had regained
consciousness, Chandra explained the situation on New Xeron, and how Randau the Space
Parasite, a being who fed on the life energy of living beings to make himself stronger, had
conquered the planet, enslaved the natives and abducted and enslaved the crews of any
starship that strayed too near to the planet. Chandra showed Paibok and Terrax her group
of offworlders who sought to destroy Randau but lacked the power to do so, and asked them
to use their great power against the Space Parasite. After a brief discussion, Terrax and
Paibok agreed to aid the rebellion, and instructed Chandra to have her army rest for an
attack which they would launch on the following day.
That night, Chandra approached Terrax, revealed that her people's gods had gifted her with the ability to sense the emotions of others and tried to comfort Terrax about the despair, helplessness and shame that he felt over his recent enslavement, but Terrax reacted bady to her efforts. Only the fact that Chandra was able to gasp out that it wasn't his fault stopped Terrax from crushing her into paste.
The next day, the resistance army attacked Randau, beginning with Terrax easily destroying his palace. Unfortunately, the next attacks were far less successful as Randau proved to be strong enough to withstand their attacks and even become far stronger by absorbing their energies. As Randau was about to slay Terrax, Chandra and her army attacked, with Chandra shooting her arrows at him and defiantly shouting that he would never enslave others ever again. For her efforts, Randau used his Solar Scepter to vaporize Chandra and some of her fellow attackers. However, this brief distraction had given Terrax a chance to recognize his error in assaulting Randau with energy so he shut off the power to his Cosmic Axe and instead used it to simply cleave Randau's body in half from the head down.
In the aftermath, Terrax celebrated his victory, but then he learned that the planet's inhabitants had become used to being slaves of a master who had provided for them and protected them from invaders and now wished him to rule them in Randau's stead. Enraged that they preferred to be slaves, Terrax stated that the bones of the only "one on this misbegotten planet who was worthy of life" now littered the dust and that the rest were as much parasites as their fallen king and that "parasites must be exterminated!" With these words, Terrax used his Cosmic Axe to slice the entire planet in half. The only known survivors were Terrax, Paibok and the Deliquent.
(Annihilators#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Timely Inc. established an office of its Customer Services Division in the Alpha Centauri system aboard a starship that orbited one of the system's planets. Following the death of Star-Lord and the subsequent disbanding of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon got a job as the mail clerk at those offices.
(Annihilators#1/2) - After working as a mail clerk for six months in the Alpha Centauri offices of the Customer Services Division of Timely Inc., Rocket Raccoon quit (before he could be fired) after he was attacked by a clown assassin made of living wood.
(Fantastic Four I#577) - The massive city-ship of the Universal Inhumans landed in the Blue Area of Earth's Moon, observed by Uatu the Watcher and the Terran Inhuman known as Dal Damoc the Wayfinder.
The following day, the Fantastic Four arrived to investigate. They were met by Dal Damoc who introduced himself as Black Bolt's proxy and welcomed them to the Universal City. Dal Damoc then escorted the Fantastic Four into the massive ship and revealed that it hade been created by four races which had become one. The Wayfinder also revealed that the ancient Kree experiments that had created Earth's Inhumans had been actually been performed on many different alien species and that success had been achieved with five. The Wayfinder then introduced the foursome to the leadership of the Universal Inhumans, including the Centaurian Royal Family led by the Matriarch Oola Udonta, who stated that the Universal Inhumans, under the banner of their king, Black Bolt, would claim their holy land, New Hala. The Wayfinder indicated that that holy land was Earth.
(Legendary Star-Lord#5 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, for reasons which have not yet been revealed, a young female Centaurian named Delphinia was exiled. Delphinia later came to put her archery skills to good use as a member of the Slaughter Squad, a group of murderous criminals employed by Mr. Knife.
(Wolverine & The X-Men I#7 - BTS) - SWORD Director Abigail Brand had some of her agents treat X-Man Kitty Pryde with "some Centaurian penicillin" after Pryde had been infected with a Brood virus by Professor Xanto Starblood, an alien "extreme zoologist" who was head of the Intergalactic Anthropology Department at the University of Rigel-3. The treatment was successful at killing all of the microscopic Brood that had been created within Pryde's body.
(Infinity#3) - After destroying the ringworld known as the
Behemoth, the ancient race known as the Builders delivered an ultimatum of
"surrender, and live" to all the worlds in their path. The Centaurians, having
witnessed the destruction of even older worlds than their own, were the first
to kneel before the Builders.
On Earth, the Inhumans (both Terran and alien) in Attilan were evacuated via Eldrac the Door. Later, when Thanos came to Attilan to demand that his half-Inhuman son be turned over to him, Black Bolt screamed "NOOOO!!!" and destroyed Attilan.
(Royals#6 (fb) - BTS) - Following the destruction of Attilan, the four non-Terran tribes of Universal Inhumans were forced to retreat from Earth.
(Avengers V#21) - Soon afterwards, after witnessing Thor kill a Builder who had taken control of the Kree homeworld, Hala, the Bowmasters of Centauri IV were marshaled by Spaceknights who had survived the destruction of Galador and together they began to fight back against the Alephs of the Builders.
(Infinity#5) - Inspired by the Avengers, all of the worlds who had surrendered to the Builders turned against them and defeated them, with each planet becoming an "Avengers world." Hawkeye helped liberate "Centauri Prime," which also became an Avengers world.
(Royals#6 (fb) - BTS) - Since the homeworlds of the Badoon, Dire Wraith and Kymellian races would not allow their Inhumans to return, the Universal Inhumans travelled to Centauri-IV where they settled (or were allowed to settle) on the continent of Akuunos, the territory of the godless Akuun, where they built a great new city, Novahala.
(Guardians of the Galaxy III#12) - At least three Centaurians were among the many spectators present at the trial of Jean Grey (one of the five original X-Men who had been brought forward in time to Reality-616's modern/current time) held on the Shi'ar Throne world. As such, they witnessed imagery transmitted by a Shi'ar imperial battle cruiser as it recorded how the star D'Bari was transformed into a supernova and how the battle cruiser was subsequently destroyed by the Dark Phoenix.
(All-New X-Men #24) - The three Centaurian observers were present in the Shi'ar Tribunal Hall when King J-Son of Spartax revealed that the Shi'ar had killed Jean Grey's entire family on the off chance that it was her genealogy that had attracted the Phoenix Force. The Tribunal was adjourned right after that.
(Royals#7 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, a single Skyspear crashed into the Great Desert outside Novahala.
(Royals#7 (fb)) - The Universal Inhumans sent a Kymellian sage to examine the "obelisk" with his gift for sight beyond sight but the Skyspear boosted the Kymellian's powers and took control of him, forcing him to relay a message that "Continued interference would be met with extinction" and to use his augmented powers to keep others away. The sage remained at the crash site, guarding the Skyspear, until he died.
(Royals#6 (fb) - BTS) - As the possibility of a new Snarkwar of succession loomed, scientists working for Prince Hyinar's Queen Mother suspected that Centauri-IV might be a "weaponworld" - a planet inhabited by beings who possessed super-powers that could be stolen from them and transferred to Zn'rx.
(Royals#6 (fb)/Royals#7 (fb)/Royals #8 (fb)) - Prince Hyinar and his forces captured the Inhumans from Earth and the members of the Light Brigade, stole their powers and used them to capture the members of the Universal Inhumans court. The rebel Zn'rx were soon defeated but not before both Kal Blackbane and Metallic Titan were killed.
(Royals#8 (fb) - BTS) - The four Universal Inhuman queens insisted that the Inhumans leave as soon as possible, and this was done.
Comments: Centaurian race created by Arnold Drake,
Gene Colan, and Michael Esposito (as "Mickey Demeo").
First Centaurian in mainstream reality created by Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins and Ariel Olivetti.
Although Yondu of the Guardians of the Galaxy was the first Centaurian ever seen in a Marvel comic, he was from a future era which was later revealed to be an alternate timeline known as Earth-691. Nova Centurion Samaya was the first Centaurian to appear who was native to the "mainstream" reality of Earth-616. However, the existence of "Centaurian scientists" in Reality-616 was mentioned almost two years earlier in The Thing: Freakshow #3.
References to how the ancient Centaurians foresaw the coming of Karanada are not strictly canon since they were mentioned by Yondu who exists in a different timeline (Reality-691). However, since this foreseeing occurred "countless eons ago" it seems likely that it is part of the common past shared by both Reality-616 and Reality-691 before they diverged at some as-yet-unspecified point, so I included them in this profile.
I have chosen to keep any references to the Centaurian Inhumans in this profile to a minimum so I have only mentioned their ancient origin and their first modern-day contact with beings from Earth. Aside from the fact that Jonathan Hickman has so far not bothered to provide any details about these other Inhuman races, I think that they probably deserve a profile of their own. Also, my copies of those comics which feature them are currently buried under stuff and difficult for me to reach at this time.
Where in the universe is the Centaurian homeworld?
From its first edition, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe has always insisted that, as in Reality-691, a planet known as "Centauri IV" was the homeworld of the Centaurian race who existed in Reality-616. However, that homeworld wasn't depicted until Infinity#3, and its name wasn't confirmed as being "Centauri IV" in any story until Avengers V#21. Unfortunately, the narrative in Infinity#5 later referred to that planet by the name "Centauri Prime."
Aside from that example of misnaming, one thing that concerns me is that there has so far been no in-story confirmation that the Centauri IV which exists in Reality-616 is part of the Alpha Centauri system. Until that "fact" actually appears in print, the possibility remains that someone will repeat Kurt Busiek's mistake (caused by his reliance on an error provided in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe) of writing a story which identifies Beta Centauri as their home star system. If that were to happen, then serious consideration would have to be given to the idea that the 616 Centaurians actually live in a different star system than the 691 Centaurians. See below for more thoughts on this possibility.
As detailed below, ever since its first edition the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe has consistently claimed that the planet Centauri-IV is part of the Beta Centauri star system while at the same time acknowledging that the Centauri-IV where Vance Astro ended his thousand-year journey was part of the Alpha Centauri system. I have always thought that the writer of the Centaurians profile used "Beta Centauri" in the mistaken assumption that the three stars which make up the Alpha Centauri trinary star system were Alpha Centauri, Beta Centauri and Proxima Centauri when, in actuality, the two main stars are actually known as Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. And since the profile on the Alpha Centaurians identifies their homeworld as orbiting Alpha Centauri A, I have stated that Centauri-IV must orbit the other star, Alpha Centauri B. However, while working on this profile I have come to realize that this was merely an assumption on my part, one which that has (so far) not been supported by any published story. So, logically, considering the flawed information provided by both profiles, Centauri-IV could actually be orbiting either of the two stars.
However, if the Handbook's information is (at least) partially correct and the planet Arima's "figure-of-eight" orbit causes it to be the third planet out from Alpha Centauri A, then a good case can be made that Centauri-IV cannot orbit that same star and so must be orbiting Alpha Centauri B instead. If Centauri-IV was the fourth planet out from Alpha Centauri A, then that would mean that its orbit would take it even closer to Alpha Centauri B than Arima. And since that star's gravity is strong enough to pull Arima into its peculiar orbit around both the A and B stars, the stronger pull that the B star would have on the closer Centauri-IV would mean that it would also have a distorted orbit. Therefore, since there is no evidence that Centauri-IV has an abnormal orbit, it is reasonable to conclude that it must only be orbiting the B star. Also, since Arima's odd orbit means that it must be as far from each of the two stars as possible, it is similarly reasonable to conclude that its orbit around the B star must be further out than that of Centauri-IV.
What's in a name?
I've known of the "Centaurians" for over thirty years now but it wasn't until I wrote the profile on Nova Centurion Samaya that I realized that the official name for their race is WRONG!
Consider the following: In science fiction, the names of most sentient races are derived from the names for their home planets. Thus, we have Earthlings (or Terrans) from Earth (or Terra), Martians from Mars, Vulcans from Vulcan, and Minbari, Centauri, and Narn from, respectively, Minbar, Centauri Prime, and Narn. With this in mind, it seems to make sense that the race which evolved on the planet Centauri-IV would be the Centaurians. However, this line of reasoning overlooks the crucial fact that Centauri-IV is NOT that planet's "real" name, it's the name that the Terrans gave it when they colonized it. Centauri-IV's real name is its original name, the one by which its native inhabitants knew their world before the Terrans took over. Similarly, it follows that the actual race name of the "Centaurians" should be their name for themselves and not a name derived from what the humans called their homeworld.
To be fair, this wasn't really a problem prior to Samaya's appearance since all earlier "Centaurians" came from alternate realities in which their race was no longer the master of their homeworld. In Reality-691, Centauri-IV had been colonized by Earthmen who considered the natives to be "primitive" and "barbaric." Similarly, in Reality-9812 the "people of Beta Centauri IV" (as they are known to their overlords) are brutally dominated by the forces of the first Terran Empire. Under these circumstances, it's understandable that the native race would come to be known by whatever name their conquerors chose for them. However, in Reality-616 there has so far been no significant contact between Terrans and the natives of the fourth planet from the star whose Earth designation in Alpha Centauri B. So, since there is no way that those natives could know what Earth people call their home star, why do they refer to themselves as Centaurians?
In skimming through the Alien Races listed in the Official
Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition, I found that only 10 of the almost 140 races
which had profiles were known by names taken from the Earth designation for their home stars.
Aside from the Centaurians, the other nine races are:
1. Alpha Centaurians
7-8. Sirians and Siris
Additionally, it seems likely that the Sagittarian race was named after the constellation of Sagittarius but this has so far not been confirmed. Personally, if I were ever elevated to the position of God-Editor of the Marvel Universe, one of the things I would do is instruct my minions to come up with new, non-Terran-derived names for these alien races.
It is interesting to note that the Centaurians from Reality-616 (of which Samaya is the first ever seen) appear to differ from those of Reality-691 (like Yondu) in at least four ways. First, the mainstream Centaurians are far more accepting of technology than Yondu was. We can see this with Samaya (who was a member of the Nova Corps) and with Chandra (who was a crewmember on a starship) and with the Centaurian Inhumans (who live with the other Universal Inhumans aboard a giant city-ship which travels between the stars). There are also the (unseen) "Centaurian scientists" whom Paibok the Power Skrull claimed had enhanced his abilities. All in all, it seems that "our" Centaurians have a much greater knowledge and appreciation of science and technology than Yondu and his people do. The question is, why? Is it because they exist in different realities? Or is it the fact that they exist in different TIMES which is important? Maybe the Centaurians who exist in present-day Reality-691 are as advanced as their 616 counterparts but *something* is going to happen to their civilization in the next 900 years which will cause them to regress to a more primitive level of technology.
The second difference relates to their religion. So far all the 691 Centaurians either worship "Anthos" or they are "Akuun" (a Centaurian word meaning "one-without-faith") and every Habaktu (warrior holy man) is taught that all Akuun must die. In contrast, Chandra's people (from Reality-616) believe that it was their godS who gifted them with their various mental abilities (like Chandra's empathy). So, either the 691 Centaurians have always had a monotheistic religion while the 616 Centaurians have been polytheistic or the present-day Centaurians in both realities are currently polytheistic but something will happen in Reality-691 that will cause the Centaurian people living there to become monotheistic. Given that some GotG stories imply that "Anthos" is actually Thanos the Mad Titan, it's not inconceivable that the 691 Thanos wiped out the 691 Centaurian gods and established a new religion in which he was worshipped as Anthos. However, it should be noted that the link between Anthos and Thanos is still only unsubstantiated speculation.
The third difference concerns their attitudes towards sex. Yondu once stated that, for his people, a sexual relationship is only for the purpose of procreation. This implies that Yondu's people either do not enjoy sex (at least, not enough to engage in it recreationally) or their society has restrictions about when it may occur. Contrast this to Samaya's promise to mate with Richard Rider for life if he succeeded in saving them both or to the enjoyment that Els Udonta clearly experienced while kissing Peter Parker. Based on this, it seems that the 616 Centaurians probably enjoy sex more than their 691 counterparts. Of course, it's also possible that Yondu's status as a Habaktu places certain (greater) societal restrictions upon him that would not apply to other 691 Centaurians.
The fourth difference concerns the anatomy of their adult females. As established in the first Guardians of the Galaxy series, Centaurian females had pouches on their chests in which they carried their young. In a footnote in GOTG #15, editor Craig Anderson stated that "The Centaurians are a race of marsupials." For the most part, the Centaurians from Reality-691 were depicted as lacking human-like breasts. Photon, the first female Centaurian ever shown up close, was quite clearly flat-chested and even males like Yondu were depicted without the nipples that human males possess. However, in Reality-616 the situation appears to be much different as, with the exception of Samaya, every adult female Centaurian has been depicted as quite obviously having human-like breasts. So, what are the implications of this significant physical difference? Does it mean that the 691 Centaurians are marsupials while the 616 Centaurians are placental mammals? If so, then that would mean that the evolutionary path taken by one reality's Centaurians must have differed from that taken by the other reality's Centaurians, and that would indicate that the two timelines must have diverged many thousands of years ago. However, while this reasoning is sound, no in-story evidence to verify this theory has yet been presented so it remains pure speculation.
One last thing about the presence of breasts on female
Centaurians. The TV Tropes & Idioms website has a page (
Mammaries") devoted to the practice of drawing female non-human characters with
human-like breasts so that their gender will be immediately apparent to readers/viewers.
If you scroll down the page to the "Other" section and click on the "Comics" link, you'll
find the following notation about the Centaurians:
In the Guardians of the Galaxy comics, the Alpha Centaurians initially had a marsupial-like pouch instead of breasts (though oddly, the females still cover the chest area with clothing), but when Kevin West took over he promptly gave the Centaurian ladies boobs.
Although Guardians of the Galaxy I#24 established that the "fin" on the heads and upper backs of the Centaurians was actually a crest ("Tahlei") composed of compressed hair follicles and NOT a fin, in Star-Lord#2 Yondu refers to his "headfin" which was cut of by his fellow Centaurians when they exiled him from Centauri IV. This could be another physiological difference (like the absence/presence of breast on adult females) between the Centaurians from Reality-616 and those from Reality-691.
Alpha Centauri in the real world
Alpha Centauri is the brightest
star in the southern constellation Centaurus and the third brightest star in the night sky.
Originally believed to be a single star, Alpha Centauri was discovered to actually be a
visual binary star (a binary star whose two components orbit each other at a distance
which is great enough for them to be observed as a double star in a telescope) in 1689,
almost a century after "it" was named Alpha Centauri by German astronomer Johann Bayer. As
a result, the two component stars are now known as Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B,
and the main binary system itself is known as Alpha Centauri AB.
At a distance of 4.37 light years, Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to Earth. The "A" star, the primary of the system, is a yellow main-sequence star that is about 10% more massive and 23% wider than the Sun. The "B" star, the companion star, is a slightly oranger star that has only about 90% the mass of the Sun and is 14% smaller in width. These two stars orbit a common center of mass with an orbital period of 79.91 years and since their orbit is moderately eccentric the distance between the two stars varies between 11.2 and 35.6 astronomical units (AU). The A and B stars are, respectively, more and less luminous than the Sun, and if seen independently would be the fourth and twenty-first brightest stars in the night sky (instead of the third).
A third star, Proxima Centauri, is believed to be gravitationally bound to the other two stars and may actually be orbiting them. If this is true, then Alpha Centauri AB and Proxima Centauri (sometimes referred to as Alpha Centauri C) would be a trinary star system, Alpha Centauri AB-C, with Proxima Centauri orbiting Alpha Centauri AB at a distance of about 15,000 AU and taking between 100,000 and 500,000 years to complete one orbit. At a distance of 4.24 light-years, Proxima Centauri is the closest known star to the Sun and, as a red dwarf, is only about 12% as massive and 14% as wide as the Sun (or about 1.5 time as wide and 129 times as massive as Jupiter). This star is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from Earth and even from any planets orbiting Alpha Centauri AB it would be a very faint (fifth magnitude) star.
The stars in the Alpha Centauri trinary system are all believed to be slightly older than the Sun. Being very Sun-like, Alpha Centauri A and B will eventually (in about 5 billion years) both become red giants and then white dwarfs. In contrast, Proxima Centauri, as a red dwarf, will last for 4 trillion years before becoming first a blue dwarf and later a white dwarf.
Currently, there is only one planet that has (possibly) been detected orbiting any of these three stars. Alpha Centauri Bb (allegedly) orbits its parent star at a distance of only 0.4 AU. As such, this planet would not be in its star's habitable zone and would be a "lava world" with a surface temperature almost three times as hot as Venus.
Beta Centauri in the real world
Beta Centauri is the second
brightest star in the southern constellation Centaurus and the tenth brightest star in the
night sky. Although Beta Centauri appears to be close to Alpha Centauri in the sky, they are
only an "optical double star" since Beta Centauri is actually about 350 light-years away from
Earth. Additionally, Beta Centauri is now believed to be a trinary star system in which the
primary is a spectroscopic binary (two stars which orbit each other so closely and quickly
that they can only be detected as two through use of a spectrometer) consisting of a pair of
near-identical giant blue-white stars that are each about 14 times as massive as the Sun and
whose orbit around each other varies between 0.5 and 5.5 AU, and a smaller companion star
which is a fourth magnitude star which orbits the binary pair at a distance of at least 210
As giants, the twin stars are only about 12 million years old and will "soon" expand into red supergiants before exploding as supernovae. No planets have yet been detected in this star system and, with their short lifespans, there hasn't been enough time for any planets which might be orbiting them to have evolved either habitable environments or any form of life.
So, what do these real world facts have to do with the Marvel Universe? As it turns out, not much. I just included them to provide some idea of how likely (or not) it would be for any intelligent lifeforms to evolve in the Alpha Centauri system which exists in the real world. That in turn reflects on how "realistic" it was for Marvel's writers to choose Alpha Centauri as the home of the "Centaurian" race. By these standards, Arnold Drake passes but Kurt Busiek fails. On the other hand, although Drake created Yondu it was left to Steve Gerber to establish that he was a Centaurian from the Alpha Centauri system so maybe Gerber should gets Drake's passing grade.
Alpha Centauri in the MU
The following is a list of all references to the Alpha Centauri star system which exists in the Marvel Multiverse (at least, in Realities 616, 691 and 9812). These references are listed in order of publication.
1. Marvel Super Heroes II#18 (January, 1969) - The first appearance of Yondu,
the last known member of an unnamed race of blue-skinned humanoids who were native to the
unnamed Earth-colonized planet on which Vance Astro landed.
2. Sub-Mariner I#17-18 (September-October, 1969) - The first appearance of a race of aquatic semi-humanoids whose home planet orbited the twin suns of Alpha Centauri in a figure-eight orbit.
3. Marvel Two-in-One I#5 (September, 1974) - The name of Yondu's homeworld is revealed to be "Centauri-IV" and the star system in which it is located is "Earth's nearest stellar neighbor."
4. Defenders I#29 (November, 1975) - Alpha Centauri is finally mentioned in connection to Centauri-IV...but only in the letters page.
5. Marvel Presents#3 (February, 1976) - This issue's text page confirms that Earth's only interstellar colony was "on the fourth planet in orbit about the nearest star, Alpha Centauri."
6. Marvel Presents#4 (April, 1976) - First visit by the Guardians to Centauri-IV. Also, "An Outline Course In World History 1975-3015 A.D." by Steve Gerber reveals that "the first terran starship, Andromeda, was constructed in 2908, but perished on its maiden voyage, upon entering the Proxima Centauri anti-matter star-system."
7. Thor I#258 (April, 1977) - While held captive aboard an alien starship, Thor meets Gormok, a yellow-skinned humanoid from "a world known as Centuri-Six."
8. Nova I#10 (June, 1977) - When Nova shows up at a battle between the Sphinx and the Condor and his allies, the bird-winged villain is surprised to see him since he "thought he was still aboard his spaceship - - circling Alpha Centauri by now."
9. Dr. Strange II#25 (October, 1977) - Dr. Strange sets a group of unconscious former stars who had been forced into humanoid form "into orbit around a large planet of the star which was once Alpha Centauri."
10. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#1 (January, 1983) - The "Alien Races" pages contain a quarter-page profile on the aliens from Sub-Mariner #17-18 who are now named as "Alpha Centaurians." Their homeworld is identified as "Arima" and is the third planet from the sun in the Alpha Centauri A star system. A notation states that the Alpha Centauri trinary star system boasts other worlds with intelligent life (i.e. the Centaurians and the Centurii).
11. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#2 (February, 1983) - The "Alien Races" pages contain a profile on the Centaurians which identifies them as being from the planet Centauri-IV in the Beta Centauri star system (which is part of "the Centauri system") and a profile on the Centurii which states that they are from the planet Centuri-Six in the Proxima Centauri star system.
12. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#4 (April, 1983) - The profile on the Guardians of the Galaxy refers to Yondu as being "of Alpha Centauri."
13. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#12 (December, 1983) - The profile on Vance Astro confirms that the planet where he landed in the early 31st Century was in the Alpha Centauri system. Despite this, the profile on Yondu insists that his homeworld, Centauri IV, is in the Beta Centauri system.
14. Guardians of the Galaxy I#24 (May, 1992) - Eon states that Galactus is "on to the three inhabited worlds in the Centauri system." It would later be revealed that this "Eon" was actually Era, the evil son of the real Eon (who is deceased).
15. Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (June, 1992) - The omniscient recap mentions the "three inhabited planets in the Alpha Centauri system." The third planet from the 'A' star is identified as Arima and its inhabitants are the water-breathing Alphans. Centauri IV is described as "the only other world with an ocean in this sector." The Keeper transports the Alphans to Centauri IV, Galactus consumes Arima, and Yondu is reunited with a tribe of cave-dwelling Centaurians who had also survived the Badoon genocide. The third inhabited planet is not seen and its name is not mentioned.
16. Silver Surfer III #-1 (July, 1997) - After having been returned to the Atlas Comics office following an abduction experience which he can no longer remember, writer Stan Lee comes up with a terrific idea for a new alien invasion story that he'll call "The Grotesque Grey Gargoyles from Alpha-Centauri" whose artwork will "be right up Jolly Jack's alley."
17. Avengers Forever#1 (December, 1998) - In a Twenty-Sixth Century future of an alternate timeline, the Centaurians are identified as being the "people of Beta Centauri IV" and their homeworld is specifically described as "the fourth-closest planet to the star Beta Centauri."
18. Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files#1 (October, 2006) - The profile on the Centaurians states that Centauri IV is located in the Beta Centauri system.
19. The Immortal Iron Fist#21 (February, 2009) - In an alternate 31st Century future of Reality-90221, the planet Yaochi in the Alpha Centauri system is home to the last Chinese humans in the universe. These colonists suffered under the rule of the evil President Xing, with over 4.5 billion dying, until Wah Sing-Rand, the youngest Iron Fist ever, finally arrived in 3099 A.D. and destroyed the evil Xing and his regime, freeing the people to use the seeds and the modest terraforming technology he had brought from K'un-Lun to revitalize the dying, infertile planet and remake it into a new land that the people considered "close enough" to Heaven.
20. Prelude to Deadpool Corps#5 (May, 2010) - The first appearance of the (semi-humanoid) robot race of Centauri 9 who, along with the Mad Folk of the Crab Nebula, were passed over by the Contemplator in favor of the Deadpool Corps to deal with the threat of the Awareness.
21. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Update#3 (October, 2010) - The profile on Yondu continues to state that Centauri IV is located in the Beta Centauri system.
22. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Update#5 (February, 2011) - The profile on Major Victory (Vance Astro) continues to state that Centauri-IV is in the Alpha Centauri star system.
23. Annihilators#1/2 (May, 2011) - Following the death of Star-Lord and the subsequent disbanding of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon worked for six months as the mail clerk at the Alpha Centauri offices of the Customer Services Division of Timely Inc. It should be noted that those offices were aboard an orbiting ship, that none of the aliens employed there were members of any known species and that the limited view of the planet where Rocket lived during this period seemed unlike either Centauri IV or Arima.
24. Wolverine & The X-Men I#7 (May, 2012) - After it was discovered that X-Man Kitty Pryde had been infected with a Brood virus by alien Professor Xanto Starblood, an extreme zoologist who was head of the Intergalactic Anthropology Department at the University of Rigel-3, Abigail Brand had her guys at S.W.O.R.D. pump Pryde "full of some Centaurian penicillin" they thought would kill off the rest of the microscopic Brood inside her.
25. Drax#1 (January, 2016) - According to Venom (Flash Thompson), "there's an Irish Pub on Alpha Centauri" where he hoped to get some bangers and mash.
A final thought about the Alpha Centauri system as it exists in Reality-616. Since the story in The Immortal Iron Fist#21 is meant to be a possible future of the present-day (2009) Marvel Universe, that means that the planet Yaochi must exist within Reality-616. If so, then what planet is it? Is it a version of Centauri IV which is no longer inhabited by the Centaurians? Or is it a drier version of Arima whose native race is also no longer present? Given how destructive President Xing was in ruling his people, I could easily see him (or his predecessors) choosing to eliminate any pre-existing native population in order to acquire "living space" for the colonists from Earth.
Alpha Centauri vs. Beta Centauri
As can be seen from the list above, for over twenty-five years all printed editions of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe have consistently identified the Centaurian homeworld as being located in the Beta Centauri star system instead of in the Alpha Centauri star system. If this error had remained confined to the Handbooks it would have been only a minor irritation. Sadly, this bit of misinformation was brought into continuity by Avengers Forever writer Kurt Busiek. I can only assume that Mr. Busiek wanted to use the Centaurians but was not very familiar with them and so he relied on the Official Handbook to provide him with the information he needed about them.
So, where does this leave things? In Reality-691, the Centaurians live on the planet Centauri IV in the Alpha Centauri system, their counterparts in Reality-9812 are the "people of Beta Centauri IV" and the Centaurians of Reality-616 live on a planet known as both "Centauri IV" and "Centauri Prime" which is located in a star system that has not yet been identified (at least not in-story). Since the situation with the 616 Centaurians is currently in an undefined state, I've decided to focus on examining possible explanations for the conflicting data about Realities 691 and 9812. I realize that it's customary to simply ignore such errors (as when John Byrne mistakenly authorized Tigra to be used in Avengers Annual#18 even though her storyline in his Avengers West Coast series had her in a feral state at the time) but personally I prefer it when such errors are "explained away" instead.
Let's begin by considering the idea that the Centaurians in those realities actually do live on planets located in different solar systems. How could such a situation have developed? I can only think of two possibilities, the first of which would be that two identical species evolved separately on two different worlds. While theoretically not totally impossible, the odds against such an exact case of convergent evolution having occurred are literally astronomical. Of course, those odds would get much better if some external agency were involved in shaping the evolving race (as the High Evolutionary did on Counter-Earth) but so far there has been no evidence of such meddling. So, I consider this "separate origin" theory to be improbable.
The second possible explanation would be that this species
evolved on the same planet in both realities but in one (or both) of them later relocated to
another planet where they now live. This theory generates the following three scenarios:
1. In both realities, the Centaurian species evolved on Centauri IV in the Alpha Centauri system but at some point the Centaurians in Reality-9812 somehow traveled to the fourth planet orbiting the star Beta Centauri.
2. In both realities, the Centaurian species evolved on the fourth planet in the Beta Centauri system but at some point the Centaurians in Reality-691 somehow emigrated to the planet Centauri IV in the Alpha Centauri system.
3. In both realities, the Centaurian species evolved on some as-yet-unidentified planet but at some point both versions of the species relocated to other planets. The 691 Centaurians went to Centauri IV in the Alpha Centauri system while the 9812 Centaurians ended up on Beta Centauri IV.
These scenarios all have some rough edges to them. For one thing, neither group of Centaurians seems to possess the level of technology that would be needed for interstellar travel. Of course, there are ways around this stumbling block. It could be that the Centaurians were a high-tech civilization on their original planet but for some reason they gave up (or lost) their technology after they had moved their people to their new homeworld. Or maybe their relocation to another world was accomplished using some form of magic. Or maybe they didn't actually move themselves but were moved by some other race, one which did possess the technological capacity to do so (like the Preservers from the Star Trek continuity).
A second difficulty is that the names of some locations on Beta Centauri IV in Reality-9812 are the same as the names of some locations on Centauri IV in Reality-691. On the one hand, it's unlikely that two civilizations which had developed separately on different planets would choose to give the same names to various locations. On the other hand, it's not unreasonable to suppose that a population which had relocated to another planet might have taken the names of places from their old home and given them to similar locations on their new home. So, maybe the Plysa Forest on Beta Centauri IV was named after the Plysa Forest on Centauri IV? Or vice versa? Either way, it's not a major problem.
The third and final problem concerns the uniqueness of Yaka metal in each reality. According to the Official Handbook, Yaka is "only native to Centauri IV" in Reality-691 while Avengers Forever #1 states that Beta Centauri IV is "the only source of the miraculous Yaka metal" in Reality-9812. The idea that a unique mineral would naturally occur only on planets inhabited by a certain distinctive species is preposterous. Of course, that presupposes that Yaka is a naturally occurring element found in the Marvel Universe (like vibranium). Alternatively, it could be that Yaka is actually an artificial substance. If that were true, then Yaka could be something created as a by-product of the technology which the Centaurians (may have) once possessed or it could be a mystical metal (like uru) which was somehow created by the mystical rapport that the Centaurians had with their worlds.
So, in conclusion, what can be said about the idea that the versions of the Centaurian race which exist in different realities live on different planets? While I feel it's safe to say that this theory is plausible and any associated problems can be explained away, there is no actual in-story evidence to support such a situation (aside from Mr. Busiek's mistake). Accordingly, this theory must remain mere speculation. Perhaps we should look at the problem from another angle?
Same planet, different names?
Let's now consider the possibility that the Centaurians who live in those realities actually do live on the same planet in the same star system but that, for some reason, each reality's version of that star system is known by a different name. On the face of it, this theory sounds ridiculous but a little research reveals that it's not that far-fetched. The key to this idea lies in how the two star systems were named. Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri are the Bayer designations for two stars which, when seen from Earth, appear within the constellation Centaurus (i.e., within the boundries of the internationally defined area of the celestial sphere known as Centaurus). These names first appeared in the star atlas Uranometria which German astronomer Johann Bayer published in 1603 A.D. and which introduced the convention of identifying stars by combining Greek or Latin letters with the genitive form of the Latin names of the constellations in which they were located. Like many people, I assumed that Bayer listed his stars in order of their brightness, with Alpha always being the brightest star of its constellation, but a little research on Wikipedia revealed that, for several reasons, this was not always the case.
First, Bayer compiled his star atlas before telescopes (invented in 1608) were widely available and so only stars which are visible to unaided human eyes are listed. Furthermore, even the best eyesight can only differentiate between six levels of brightness and so, since ancient times, all stars have been divided into six magnitudes, with first magnitude stars being the brightest and sixth magnitude being the faintest. Of course, not all stars considered to be of the same magnitude actually had the exact same apparent brightness but without modern technology there was no way for stellar brightnesses to be measured precisely. In creating his catalog Bayer generally assigned his designations to all of the first magnitude stars first before moving on to each of the other five magnitudes in turn. However, out of the 88 modern constellations, there are over 20 instances in which the "Alpha" star is not the brightest.
Second, within each magnitude, Bayer did not follow a consistent pattern. Sometimes he designated stars according to their location within their constellation (i.e., from north to south) but other times he gave earlier letters to those stars who rose earlier. In other cases Bayer gave the alpha designation to stars which were historically significant (like a previous north pole star) but there are also constellations in which Bayer seemingly assigned his designations at random. For example, Alpha Sagittarii is more than two magnitudes fainter than the brightest star in Sagittarius which Bayer designated Epsilon.
So, with this information in mind, we can speculate on why
the star system that is closest to Earth in Reality-9812 may have been designated beta instead
of alpha. I've come up with the following three possible explanations:
1. The stars in Reality-9812 are actually the same as those in Reality-691 (and in the real world) but the Johann Bayer who lived in Reality-9812 simply chose to assign the letters for his designations for the stars in the constellation of Centaurus in a more random manner than he did in other realities. This idea is certainly plausible, given how the real Bayer labelled the stars in Sagittarius, but it seems a bit underwhelming to blame the difference on the whims of a 17th Century astronomer.
2. The star closest to Earth in Reality-9812 is known as Beta Centauri because there is another star in that reality's constellation of Centaurus that is actually brighter than it. There are several ways in which this could happen. One possibility is that the pattern of star formation in Reality-9812 just happened to be somewhat different than in the real world, and as a result one of the Centaurus stars is naturally brighter than its real world counterpart. Or maybe the interstellar clouds of gases which formed two separate stars in the real world instead combined to form one larger and brighter star in Reality-9812. Or maybe there is a non-natural cause for the difference. After all, this is the Marvel Universe and beings with the power to affect stars are known to exist, like Barry Bauman of Earth and Princess Ilse Pterigil of the planet Dreolln. And then there are beings like the gods of the Nest, normal humans who, after being killed by exposure to an unknown form of radiation, were reborn as "gods" who then traveled out into space where they transformed into something which Earthbound astronomers interpreted as being a new-born star. In short, there are plenty of ways in which such a difference could have come about.
3. The star that is closest to Earth in Reality-9812 is actually as bright as its real world counterpart but only appears to be dimmer. A natural explanation would be that quantum differences between realities caused an interstellar cloud to exist in Reality-9812 that just happened to be in the line-of-sight between Earth and its nearest stellar neighbor, thereby causing "our" Alpha Centauri to be receive Bayer's beta designation. In fact, if the cloud was large enough, then the stars known to us as Alpha and Beta Centauri could both be dimmer in that reality and thus one of the other Centaurus stars would be Reality-9812's Alpha Centauri. A less-natural explanation would be that a battle in the Kree-Skrull War was once fought on the outskirts of the Sol system and the cloud of debris from that conflict is blocking some of the light that should be falling upon Earth from some of the Centaurus stars. Either option seems feasible to me.
Although these explanations all seem plausible, they depend
on the idea that Reality-9812 diverged from Reality-616 at least 400 years ago, at or before
the time when Johann Bayer created his star atlas. One hiccup which could make these possible
explanations unworkable can be found in Avengers Forever #8. In that issue, a Space Phantom
claims that it was the actions taken by Immortus during the Kree-Shi'ar War which created a
new timeline in which an interstellar Avengers Corps was established that would later grow
into the first Terran Empire. It was implied that it was witnessing the punishment of Beta
Centauri IV (as seen in Avengers Forever #1) which caused the Time-Keepers to reprimand
Immortus (as seen in Avengers Forever #8) which in turn caused Immortus to create the
"Crossing" scenario and then, when that failed to be fully successful, led to him sending
Tempus to the Blue Area of the Moon to kill Rick Jones (also seen in Avengers Forever#1).
Obviously, if this sequence of events is correct, then that would mean that Reality-9812
diverged from Reality-616 sometime after the events depicted in "The Crossing" storyline.
However, I would argue that the fact that the evil Galactic Avengers Battalion continued to
exist even after the Crossing succeeded in preventing some of the specific events shown in
Avengers Forever #8 means that Reality-9812 cannot be the exact same Terran Empire future
seen in that issue. And if there are multiple Terran Empire timelines, then maybe one of them
(Reality-9812) diverged from the mainstream reality much further back than Avengers Forever
I think it's a common mistake to ASSume "diverge" means the realities physically split from each other and share a common reality before then. They just diverge in terms of heading in different directions, whereas they were pretty much parallel before. Having a name as Alpha or Beta isn't really going to change the course of reality, so they could still be parallel realities up to a more significant point of divergence.
In conclusion, it's clear that we don't have to rely on "Kurt Busiek made a mistake and we should all just ignore it" as the only way to dealt with the misidentification of Beta Centauri IV as the homeworld of the Centaurian race in Avengers Forever #1. There are two (or is it six?) very plausible alternate explanations available, any one of which would do the job. Unfortunately, none of them are anything more than fanfic and will remain mere speculation unless one of the Powers That Be at Marvel decides to make one of them "canon." And while I'd like to see that happen, it seems that most readers are content to simply ignore that mistake from Avengers Forever and feel no pressing need to fix it.
Another easy explanation is that there is indeed some difference
between what we call their world/star and what they call it. Science
fiction is rife with examples where human form, language, technology,
culture, etc. seems to pervade the universe...I think that's just the
nature of who is writing the stories. Regardless, they apparently all
call it Centauri regardless of who designated it, so I don't see the
point of fighting that, but perhaps at least one group considers their
sun Beta Centauri. It's not that huge a stretch, IMO.
Distorted reality/Altered timestream
In Guardians of the Galaxy I#27-33, the Guardians team from the early 31st Century of Reality-691 made their fourth visit to the late 20th Century of Reality-616. Arriving just after the Infinity War had begun, their stay resulted in several significant developments. First, Vance Astro's journey through the Dark Dimension attracted the attention of Dormammu who secretly followed him and stowed away aboard Drydock so as to travel to the future. Second, the struggle between Stakar and Aleta for control over their shared physical form as Starhawk ended with a victorious Aleta sending Starkar's consciousness back into the jar on Arcturs IV where he was destined to begin his life cycle over again. And third, after abandoning their pre-emptive strike against the Badoon, the Guardians returned to their own time, but the Yaka dagger which Yondu had given Charlie 27 was left behind on Moord where it was found by the Brother Royal.
After returning to their own time, the Guardians took part in several adventures before Aleta shanghaied them away from Asgard on a mission to confront the Beyonder. However, before they went Beyond, Aleta took them to Alpha Centauri to pick up Yondu. Unfortunately, their old comrade was in a very hostile mood because what the Guardians had done in the past had changed the course of Badoon history so that they had invaded Yondu's planet centuries before the 31st Century. Most of the male Centaurians had been killed in the initial attack and many of the females had been used to breed a new race of Badoon/Centaurian hybrids who now far outnumbered the few surviving true Centaurians. After Aleta had Talon explain the Time Jolt theory, Nikki wondered if they might have returned to an alternate future than the one from which they had left but Yondu grew impatient and demanded that they restore his world's history or he would not use his spiritual knowledge to help them on their upcoming mission. Surprised, Aleta asked how he knew why she wanted his help but, as Yondu replied that Starhawk had told him, the Guardians all saw that Stakar had returned as Starhawk. As the two Starhawks began to battle, their conflict attracted the attention of an irritated Hawk God who appeared before them and punished them by fusing Stakar's left hand and Aleta's right hand together. The Starhawks used their now-combined power to travel back to 20th Century Moord to reverse the Time Jolt and correct Alpha Centauri's disrupted history. After destroying the Yaka dagger before the Brother Royal could claim it, the Starhawks returned to the 31st Century and confirmed that Alpha Centauri IV's history had been restored to the way it had been before the Time Jolt. And then other things happened.
At first glance, this seems like a familiar science fiction story: A group of time travelers return to their own time and discover that their actions in the past have radically changed the course of history so they travel back in time to restore the timeline to the way it was. There's even an explanation for why the time travelers still remembered the original timeline. However, there is one HUGE problem with the story in that those timeline-changing actions all take place in the mainstream Marvel Universe from which, as several footnotes reminded us, the Guardians' timeline had already diverged. As a result, NOTHING that happened in that storyline could have altered the history of Reality-691 and yet, as shown in GOTG #44-47, Centauri IV's history had been altered by the Guardians' actions and it took a second trip to 20th Century Moord by the Starhawks to restore Centauri IV's history to the way it had been.
The problem with this storyline isn't just that the Marvel Multiverse doesn't work that way, it's that the Guardians themselves are (or should be) well aware of that fact since they all know what happened when Vance Astro tried to change his past. As a result, this storyline is a prime example of why people who don't know how time travel works in the Marvel Multiverse should not be allowed to write stories concerning time travel in the MU. It just leaves a mess that has to be explained away.
As far as I know, there has never been any attempt made to fix this storyline's flaws so that it would make sense. The most obvious solution would be to "reveal" that the events depicted in GOTG #30-33 which appeared to take place on Moord-616 actually occurred on Moord-691. This retcon would explain how leaving the Yaka dagger on Moord in GOTG #33 could have caused the altered timeline seen in GOTG #44-46 but it would also lead to other problems that would have to be addressed. I spent some time trying to explain why those problems would disprove the theory but I finally decided that what I had written was ultimately pointless so I deleted it.
So, back to the problem at hand. The story in GOTG #30-33 was written as if those events occurred on the planet Moord which existed in Reality-616. The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, the Marvel Chronology Project and the Marvel Comcis Database all agree that the Badoon Brother Royal and L'Matto from those issues exists within Reality-616 and are NOT part of Reality-691. If we accept that as true, then we are faced with a situation in which Reality-691's past appears to have been altered by time travel but which, thanks to mishandling by the writers, cannot possibly BE caused by changes in Reality-691's past because no such changes occurred there. Therefore, the only possible explanation is that something else happened which (somehow) enabled the Guardians from Reality-691 to interact with an altered Centauri IV which existed in a possible 31st Century future of Reality-616. In the absence of any official explanation, I have come up with my own fanfic theory which is, of course, mere speculation.
My theory depends upon the idea that the altered timeline depicted in GOTG #44-46 (listed on the Marvel Chronology Project as the "Yaka-verse") existed as one of the possible futures of the then-present-day Reality-616. Basically, this theory provides a way (or two) in which the Guardians (and Yondu) from Reality-691 could have been traveling to Centauri IV but ended up on the Alpha Centauri IV which existed in the Yaka-verse where they then met Stakar.
The history of the Yaka-verse begins when the Yaka dagger was left on Moord in the late 20th Century by the Guardians. In this timeline, the Badoon L'Matto assassinated the Brother Royal, seized control of the Brotherhood of Badoon and invaded the Alpha Centauri system centuries earlier than happened in Reality-691. Under his leadership, the Badoon slaughtered most of the male Centaurians while the female Centaurians were captured and forced to breed with Badoon males to produce a new species of Badoon/Centaurian hybrids who eventually far outnumbered the few surviving non-Badoon Centaurians. Since this Yaka-verse stemmed from events in GOTG #30-33, the Stakar who was expelled from the Starhawk body by Aleta ended up in this timeline and thus, a thousand years later, he could be present on the altered Centauri IV.
The centerpiece of my theory is that some powerful being wanted to get Stakar and Aleta back in the same reality for some reason. For the sake of simplicity, let's assume that it was the Hawk God who wanted to the two of them to fulfill the true purpose behind their cosmic co-existence. Once Stakar was on Alpha Centauri IV in the Yaka-verse, there were two ways in which he could be reunited with Aleta: Either the Guardians could have been brought to the Yaka-verse or Alpha Centauri IV could have been brought into Reality-691. Moving people between the realities while keeping them unaware of the transition would seem to be the easier option. First, Yondu somehow switched realities so that, from his point of view, it appeared as if his world was reshaped around him. Next, as Aleta transported herself and the other five Guardians from Asgard-691 to Centauri IV-691, she was subtly redirected as they passed through the dimensional barrier so that they ended up on Alpha Centauri IV in the Yaka-verse. That put Aleta and Stakar on the same planet where they could be fused together. Finally, once the power of Starhawk was again self-contained, they traveled into the past to prevent the Yaka-verse from ever existing. The main problems with this theory are: a) how to prevent Aleta from noticing that she's being diverted and b) how Mainframe of the Galactic Guardians could have been montioring the Guardians on Alpha Centauri IV if they were actually in another reality.
In the more difficult option, most of the people involved remained where they were but it was the planets that they were on which were shifted between realities. In this scenario, Stakar was on Alpha Centauri IV in the Yaka-verse when it was merged with (or switched with) Centauri IV in Reality-691 while Yondu remained in his home reality as his planet seemingly changed around him, as if its history had been altered. Aleta brought the Guardians to Centauri IV where they meet Yondu who told them how their actions had altered "his" world's history. As before, Stakar and Aleta were reunited and went on a mission that would prevent the Yaka-verse timeline from ever coming into being. The problems with the previous scenario would not exist but merging or switching or overlaying two planets would (presumably) be much, MUCH harder than shifting seven individuals between realities. Of course, if the power of a Cosmic Deity is involved, then many things are possible.
The whole point of this Time Jolt storyline was to bring Stakar back to the 31st Century and once that was done Centauri IV's disrupted history was returned to the way it had been. And in the minds of the writers that's all that happened: one thousand years of the Guardians' timeline was briefly rewritten and we readers saw it returned to its original state. However, as noted above, that could NOT be what actually did happen. Instead, the Guardians' actions in Reality-616 distorted its possible future into becoming the Yaka-verse which briefly interacted with Reality-691's 31st Century before it was made to have never existed. The thing is, how sure can we be that the Yaka-verse was unmade? Since it was a version of Reality-616's future, the trip to Centauri IV in GOTG #47 to confirm that Yondu's world was restored doesn't actually prove anything. For all we know, the destruction of the Yaka dagger by the Starhawks could have just caused Reality-616 to diverge again, restoring Reality-616's future to its original (pre-Yaka) state but not actually cancelling out the Yaka-verse. If that were the case, then the Yaka-verse could still exist despite the fact that its function (returning Stakar to Reality-691) has been accomplished.
I think another, more simplistic option, is that something caused the
Yaka dagger's placement to resonate across at least a certain number of
alternate realities...magic, cosmic influence, who knows? But yes,
while the basic problem stems from failure to appreciate that the
Guardians' future is not Reality-616's future, there are multiple
explanations that could explain this. And, whether the Yaka-verse
started as a different reality or not, it is certainly a divergent
reality, and we have more than enough stories that show that divergent
realities are not prevented by events that seem to alter their history.
That's just when they diverge. Age of Apocalypse, House of M,
etc....they all persist after they were seemingly prevented.
....and, in fact, this divergent reality was identified as Earth-9445 (Reality-9445 is more appropriate, but, same reality anyway) back in the OHotMU A-Z HC#3 Appendix to Alternate Realities, if not before. Explanations for how it affected Reality-691, even temporarily, remain the same.
Anyway, solid profile and thorough review, as always!
Profile by Donald Campbell.
The Centaurian race from planet Centauri-IV have no known connections to
images: (without ads)
Official Handboook of the Marvel Universe I#2, page 32, panel 4 (main image)
Annihilation: Prologue#1, page 25, panel 3 (Samaya)
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#1, page 5, panel 3 (Chandra)
Fantastic Four I#577, page 19, panel 1 (Centaurian Inhumans)
Infinity#3, page 7, panel 1 (Centaurians kneel)
Avengers V#21, page 2, panel 2 (Spaceknights on Centauri IV)
Infinity#5, page 9, panel 3 (Hawkeye on Centauri Prime)
Guardians of the Galaxy III#12, page 16, panel 1 (at the Trial of Jean Grey)
Annihilation: Prologue#1 (May, 2006) - Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins with Ariel Olivetti (art), Andy Schmidt (editor)
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#1 (April, 2007) - Christos H. Gage (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (pencils), Stefano Landini (inks), Andy Schmidt (editor)
Fantastic Four I#577 (May, 2010) - Jonathan Hickman (writer), Dale Eaglesham (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Annihilators#1/2 (May, 2011) - Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Timothy Green II (artist), Bill Rosemann (editor)
Infinity#3 (November, 2013) - Jonathan Hickman (writer), Jerome Opeña and Dustin Weaver (art), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers VI#21 (December, 2013) - Jonathan Hickman (writer), Leinil Francis Yu (pencils), Gerardo Alanguilan (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Infinity#5 (December, 2013) - Jonathan Hickman (writer), Jerome Opeña and Dustin Weaver (art), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Guardians of the Galaxy III#12 (April, 2014) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Sara Pichelli & Stuart Immonen (pencilers), Sara Pichelli & Wade Von Grawbadger (inkers), Stephen Wacker (senior editor)
All-New X-Men#24 (May, 2014) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Stuart Immonen (pencils), Wade Von Grawbadger (inks), Nick Lowe (editor)
Star-Lord#1-2 (January-February, 2016) - Sam Humphries (writer), Javier Garron (artist), Jake Thomas (editor)
Royals#6-7 (October-November, 2017) - Al Ewing (writer), Kevin Libranda (artist), Wil Moss (editor)
Royals#8 (November, 2017) - Al Ewing (writer), Kevin Libranda and Javier Rodriguez (pencilers), Kevin Libranda and Alvaro Lopez (inkers), Wil Moss (editor)
Last updated: 08/06/15
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to http://www.g-mart.com/ for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Races