Peter Jason Quill was born in Missouri on February 4, 1980, the son of Meredith Quill and his father. His father was of an ancient species unknown even to the Nova Empire, and he eventually disappeared. His mother nicknamed him "Star-Lord."

In 1988, he went through hard times, as his mother fell ill with cancer and he fought with other boys. His mother gave him a present as she died in the hospital, but he was too shocked to hold her hand as she drew her last breaths. He ran away from the hospital as the doctors and his grandfather remained in the hospital room. He burst out of the doors and knelt in a field, mourning his mother's death, when he was abducted by a spaceship.

While in space, he worked for Yondu Udonta, a space outlaw who saved him from being eaten by his men, since they had never tasted a Terran before. He gained a reputation for his way with women, but was not an impressive criminal, as even Nova Corps corpsman Rhomann Dey mistakes his codename for "Starprince" - Quill was arrested once for petty theft.

Star-Lord, eventually becoming the founder and leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Deciding to leave the Ravagers, he stole the Orb, unintentionally becoming a part of the Quest for the Orb. During the Quest, he formed an uneasy alliance with GamoraDrax the DestroyerRocket Raccoon, and Groot, and helped stop Ronan the Accuser from destroying Xandar. After the Battle of Xandar, he left with the other Guardians to do "a little bit of bad and a little bit of good".