All eyes were on the return of Star-Lord and co in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and in the wake of its success talk was already turning to a third film.
That film is on its way. Writer/director James Gunn had been dropping a ton of hints about what might happen in Marvel Studios Phase Four’s Guardians sequel – aka Guardians of the Galaxy 3 – and then he was fired by Disney in July 2018.
But in a surprise (and very welcome) move, Gunn has been re-instated as director of the third movie, although he will work on The Suicide Squad first.
As if the behind-the-scenes changes weren’t enough, Avengers: Infinity War has been left the team with some cataclysmic changes…
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 director: He’s BACK!
James Gunn is back on board to return for a third outing with Star-Lord and the gang.
“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” the company said in a statement.
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi downplayed suggestions that he could step in to helm the movie, saying that it would be “awkward”, and many of the films stars rallied around Gunn urging for him to be brought back on-board.
“I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months,” he wrote on Twitter after the news broke.
Waititi was then among the Marvel directors welcoming Gunn back into the MCU fold.
It took until May 16 for Gunn to talk more openly about the whole saga, saying that “Disney totally had the right to fire me”.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 release date: When can we expect it?
Before Gunn’s firing, we expected the threequel to be one of the earlier Phase 4 movies in 2020, but even with his rehiring, we now can expect a long wait for it.
The epic Phase 4 announcement at Comic-Con confirmed Phase 4 movies through to the end of 2021, so it looks like we’ll be getting Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in 2022. Luckily, Marvel has three release dates for then: February 18, May 6 and July 29.
Gunn’s going to work on The Suicide Squad first which is due out on August 6, 2021, so we didn’t think he’d start on the Marvel movie until 2021 at the earliest. However, The Hollywood Reporter reckons that the movie will start filming in 2020.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 cast: Who’s coming back?
This is your last chance to avoid Avengers: Endgame spoilers, so be warned.
After Infinity War, it looked like maybe the third Guardians movie would just have to follow Rocket (with the voice of Bradley Cooper and the motion capture talents of Sean Gunn) and Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Fortunately, the Snap was reversed and Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are all back and in one piece.
What’s more, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is also alive again in the MCU, only it’s a Gamora from a past timeline in 2014, meaning she doesn’t have the history with the Guardians.
But did she survive Tony Stark’s Snap as she was technically on Thanos’s side? Who knows.
“The argument could be that Tony [Stark] wished away all the evil, the enemy, so is she still alive?” he said. “Who knows? That’s a story for another time.”
Related: Who the ‘new’ Gamora could be
They’ve picked up a new team member too in the form of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) so we can expect him to be along for the ride in the third movie.
Sean Gunn will apparently be back as Kraglin, Yondu one-time Ravager pal. He wasn’t in Infinity War but “has important stuff to do”, we’re told.
Gunn said that he wants Elizabeth Debicki to reprise her role as the golden-skinned high priestess of the Sovereign, Ayesha. She’ll have a significant part to play, as we will see in a bit.
Gunn also wanted Sylvester Stallone‘s Stakar to come back at some point in the MCU’s future, alongside his fellow Ravagers – Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus) and Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum) in the MCU’s future.
Guardians 3 would be the natural place for us to see them next.
Could we be seeing Marvel Comics characters Moondragon, High Evolutionary and Lady Lylla in the threequel as well?
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 plot: What will it be about?
Gunn said that the film will serve as the “epic conclusion” to the story he began in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy – and dispelled any rumours (or claims from other folks at Marvel) that the film might be set before Infinity War.
He said that the movie will bring to an end the current “iteration” of the team, adding: “Who knows who will take up the mantle after that?”
We’ve also managed to piece together the fact that the film will be set at least four years after the events of Guardians 2, as well as after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.
After Endgame, it looks like the third movie will revolve around the search for Gamora as she disappeared after the big battle with Thanos.
Gunn has noted that if he didn’t get to do the third movie, he would have been most disappointed at not finishing Rocket’s arc, so expect more from Rocket in the third movie, maybe even his full backstory.
Getting back to Ayesha as promised, you will probably remember that one of the five(!) mid-credits scenes saw the villain gazing at a cocoon which she said contained “Adam”.
That Adam is Adam Warlock, a long-standing Marvel cosmic hero with connections to Ayesha (she is his female counterpart in the comics). Gunn said that he was originally intended to feature in Guardians 2, and will instead appear in a later film.
The expectation is that Ayesha will be setting him on the tracks of her enemies, the Guardians, although Gunn later played down that rumour.
Warlock also has a connection to the Infinity Gems (‘Infinity Stones‘ in the MCU), but didn’t show up in Infinity War or Endgame.
In terms of other characters, don’t be holding out for one classic Guardians member, the time-travelling Vance Astro.
And somewhere in Guardians future we’ve been promised the “horrible” origin of Rocket Raccoon.
Gunn had been narrowing down the ever-important playlist for Guardians 3, although at 181 he has a way to go yet…
Gunn had promised endings and new beginnings for Guardians 3 which was originally meant to set up the future of the MCU, but with the delays, perhaps that’s not the case anymore.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 trailer: Any new footage?
Given all the back-and-forth behind the scenes, it’ll be a while before we see a trailer sadly. Maybe at Comic-Con in 2021 if we’re right about a 2022 release.