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After watching 'Guardians of the Galaxy', one thing struck me as odd after getting over the sheer spectacle of the film; what the hell was the Xandarian military doing when Ronan invaded their homeworld, which was completely exposed save for the Nova Corps (a glorified police force in the movie's universe)?

With the Kree War concluded for almost everyone involved (obviously not for the extremists on both sides), there was little to no excuse for the main fleet to have been so catastrophically distant as to be incapable of a timely defense. Even if there somehow was a big enough distraction necessitating a massive military response, surely Xandar would have retained a large 'Home Guard', to say nothing of fortifications such as orbital guns, minefields, sensor disruption fields, barriers etc.? How could such an advanced civilisation neglect the most basic principles of national/planetary security?

If those factors were in play, even approaching the planet would have been a suicidal proposition for the Accuser, with or without an Infinity Stone. Commanding just one Capital ship and the fighters on it, he had barely enough manpower for even a brief skirmish. It would be like a single battleship challenging the US Navy; any kind of engagement would shut up the mouse that roared once and for all.

  • I think Ronan did a great deal of killing them on his way to find the Gem. This was largely before the film started. – user1027 Jan 20 '15 at 2:30
  • Ronan was just a particularly nasty terrorist until he got his hands on the Stone; I highly doubt he did any significant damage up until that point, save killing a few ambassadors for the hell of it. Furthermore, even he realizes he can't take on even the Nova Corps with his poor excuse of a military, for all of his bluster; why else do you think he runs away after 'cleansing' the Kyln? – Flanneur Jan 20 '15 at 2:34
  • Perhaps they were still at the Kyln, or searching for Ronin in the general vicinity? – James Sheridan Jan 20 '15 at 3:16
  • The Kree War was recently concluded. I would guess that the main fleet was still near the borders of Kree space. Would you leave your borders relatively undefended immediately after signing a truce with your lifelong enemies? – KSmarts Jan 20 '15 at 19:28
  • They were with Gondor. – Rogue Jedi Nov 4 '15 at 1:36
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In the comics, and so presumably in the MCU, the Nova Corps is the military force of Xandar. We're given no evidence to believe this isn't also true in the MCU.

So, the answer is:

The Xandarian fleet was there in the form of the Nova Corps.

This Unofficial MCU Wiki states: "The Nova Corps are the military wing of the Xandarian Star Empire."
Even this Unofficial MCU Wiki states that the Nova Corps is "the Empire's primary military and peacekeeping force".

We're only ever shown the Nova Corps in regards to Xandarian military. The command center HQ is also depicted as being the place where treaties and strategies are discussed. These things are all handled by Nova Prime (Glenn Close's character).

In this interview, James Gunn describes the Nova Corps:

CraveOnline: Tell me about your treatment of the Nova Corps., because they’re a little different in the movie, and I’m wondering if this precludes a Nova movie. James Gunn: No, it doesn’t preclude a Nova movie. It’s frankly not something I’m planning on right now, but yeah, we had to service the story and so there were changes made.
CraveOnline: To make them more like just cops?
James Gunn: Well, they’re an international military force. I think there’s a lot more depth to the Nova Corps. that people don’t know, and there’s some things that make them more like Nova in the comics that people just don’t know about them yet, like the Nova Force. And there’s stuff frankly we cut from the movie because there was too much Nova stuff at the end of the film.

(Emphasis added)

This is the answer. If you're not satisfied, you may want to ask the question:
Why didn't the Xandarian fleet have better ships?
Or:
Why didn't the Xandarian fleet have a better strategy?

  • 1
    Nova Corps is portrayed vastly difrent in the movie. No mention of tapping into the Xandarian Worldmind to make the Nova Corps members superhuman. In the comics, the Nova Corps was basically a group of 500 super humans which is all the military you needed. The movies portrayal does leave one to believe that they are just regular joes that fly fighter craft. – Firebat Jan 20 '15 at 2:42
  • But that makes no sense whatsoever according to the comics-verse OR the movie-verse. Their main duties are to guard Xandar and its Worldmind, and thus only consist of a few hundred members in the former (albeit being MUCH more powerful with their use of the Nova force). Although they are more numerous in the film, my point still stands; they are ultimately auxiliaries, and not representative of the sum total of Xandar's might. Think about it; if they had this much trouble with ONE warlord and ONE ship, how could they have subdued an empire's worth of his kind? – Flanneur Jan 20 '15 at 2:46
  • Even the MCU Wiki states that the Nova Corps is "the Empire's primary military and peacekeeping force". This does make sense, because we're only ever shown the Nova Corps in regards to Xandarian military. The command center HQ is also depicted as being the place where treaties and strategies are discussed. – user31178 Jan 20 '15 at 2:55
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    Marvel.wikia.com is not the official Marvel wiki, Marvel Universe (marvel.com) is. – phantom42 Jan 20 '15 at 5:44
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    @Flanneur From what I saw, their energy field would have stopped the Dark Aster if Ronan did not have the infinity stone. So I don't know if saying "they had this much trouble with one ship" is really fair. – KSmarts Jan 20 '15 at 18:54
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Elsewhere probably dealing with the aftermath of the war. Patrols, humanitarian aid, etc. would still be going on, as the peace treaty had just been signed. The war with the Kree had just ended, and Ronan was a lone wolf, behaving unpredictably. The Xandarian forces couldn't know where he would attack, and he was using hit-and-run tactics to avoid a major battle up until then. Until Star-Lord's 'dick message', the Nova Corps had no reason to think that Ronan would be an existential threat to Xandar. After all, the Xandarian defenses mostly held up against Ronan's ship.

It was mainly the presence of the Power Stone that prevented them from being effective. Due to the stone, the Nova Corps had to use the shield to prevent Ronan's ship from reaching the ground. Then the shield was broken by the stone. In the absence of the stone, the Nova Corps would have been able to muster a half-decent defense. They would have still had losses on Xandar, simply due to the large number of fighters that Ronan commanded, but the battle wouldn't have required so many resources being devoted to preventing Ronan's landing.

Due to the short amount of time it took for the battle on Xandar to end, there wasn't much time for reinforcements to arrive from elsewhere. Xandar didn't know to raise any alarms until Ronan was in orbit. Ronan's attack happened to be a unique one that managed to pierce the defenses that Xandar had. For most normal attacks, the defenses on Xandar would be sufficient.

  • The "Xandarian forces" and "Xandarian defenses" you mention are called the Nova Corps in the MCU. – user31178 Jan 20 '15 at 16:53

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