Earlier this week, news broke that French actress Pom Klementieff (best known for her work in Oldboy) has been cast in a major, secret role in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Just about everyone who saw the news suspected Klementieff would be playing Mantis, a half-Vietnamese martial arts expert with a long history of helping the Guardians of the Galaxy in Marvel Comics. And today, Heroic Hollywood confirmed those suspicions.
Her backstory is pretty long and convoluted (both in the comics and with her trademark—she’s belonged to both Marvel and DC at various points in her history) but she’s definitely always been most at home with Star-Lord’s band of lovable miscreants, which now has the market cornered on green-skinned female martial arts experts.
The enigmatic Mantis traces her roots back to the family of Vietnamese crimelord Monsieur Khruul who, disapproving of his sister Lua’s marriage to German mercenary Gustav Brandt, hunted the couple across Indochina. The Brandts eluded him while Lua bore a child, but Khruul ultimately had their house burned to the ground, killing Lua and blinding Gustav, who fled with their infant daughter. They found sanctuary in the temple of the Priests of Pama, renegade pacifist members of the alien Kree race who were caretakers of the Cotati, a telepathic race of sentient plants. The Priests trained Gustav, granting him psychic sight, but separated him from his daughter, not wanting his violent nature to influence her development. Brandt eventually left the Temple, later joining the crime cartel Zodiac as Libra.
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Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is scheduled to release May 5, 2017.