It’s all coming together! Writer/director James Gunn, who was fired by Disney in July 2018 over controversial old Tweets, has been reinstated as the director of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3. After they were decimated by Thanos in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, the team was brought back to life in AVENGERS: ENDGAME, thanks to Hulk, who counteracted the Mad Titan’s destructive snap with the Infinity Gauntlet. And now, they are getting ready for their next big screen adventure.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe moves toward their post-ENDGAME phase, we’re intensely curious about the next GUARDIANS movie. You probably are, too! So, here’s everything we know so far about GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3.
Does Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Have a Release Date?
Marvel Studios has announced their full Phase 4 slate… but GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 isn’t on it.
Simply put, no, the film does not have a release date yet. James Gunn has written a script, as the film was planned to be released in 2020. That was before things got weird during the summer of 2018, though, and the schedule changed. So, while the movie is still very much in development, we just don’t know when we’re going to see it yet.
Can We Talk About James Gunn Being Fired?
Let’s get into the temporary controversy that shocked the comic book movie world.
Gunn made a lot of bad, tasteless jokes on Twitter well before he was hired by Marvel. In July 2018, a number of people brought new attention to those old statements — for which Gunn had already apologized multiple times — in response to the filmmaker’s outspoken political views.
Disney fired Gunn, who replied with a statement apologizing again for his words. "My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative," he said. "I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time."
Gunn remained fired until March 2019, when he was brought back into the fold. There are rumors about how and why that decision was made, with the GUARDIANS cast and Marvel President Kevin Feige reportedly having a strong influence on the decision. Regardless, Gunn now has the chance to finish the set of movies he began with 2014’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. The only wrinkle is that, in the downtime after being fired, he agreed to make THE SUICIDE SQUAD for Warner Bros. and DC, and that film is in production now.
When Will Guardians 3 Shoot?
It won’t be too long before Star-Lord and company get back into costume.
Typically, Marvel Studios projects enter production about a year before they are set to be released, so without knowing when the movie is going to come out, we can’t really say when shooting is scheduled to begin.
James Gunn has to make THE SUICIDE SQUAD before he moves back to Marvel’s turf. It could be a couple of years before GUARDIANS 3 begins filming. With THE SUICIDE SQUAD scheduled for August 6, 2021, it probably won’t be until that year that his trilogy capper gets before cameras.
Which Guardians Are Alive?
The full Guardians of the Galaxy team (well, kinda) will be back together following their adventure with the Avengers.
Now that ENDGAME has been released, we know that all of the original Guardians are back among the living. Only two members of the original team, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), survived the first snap from Thanos, but the rest of the team was revived by the Hulk’s counter-measure in the most recent AVENGERS film.
But there’s a catch. Yes, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Teen Groot (Vin Diesel) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) are back on board Quill’s ship, but Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is not with them. Thanos sacrificed Gamora to obtain the Soul Stone in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, and she was not resurrected. But the Gamora of 2014 (we’ll call her… Gamora 2014) was brought forward in time thanks to the Quantum Realm plot of ENDGAME. Now, with Thanos dead, Gamora 2014 is alive, but off on her own path separate from the Guardians (whom she doesn’t actually know).
Is Thor in Guardians of the Galaxy 3?
Will GUARDIANS 3 basically be Asgardians of the Galaxy? It’s not impossible!
We’re pretty sure that the entire original team, as outlined above, will be back for the third film, but the ending of AVENGERS: ENDGAME makes us wonder if they will be joined by another new member: Thor.
At the end of the May 2019 blockbuster, Thor went out into space with the Guardians, and we know from SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME that he is still off-world. Could this mean that Chris Hemsworth will have a supporting role in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3? It’s not totally impossible, but considering that he will be having another solo adventure — THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER — between now and the film’s potential release, it’s not looking super likely.
Will We See Adam Warlock?
The fan-favorite character was previously teased in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2.
Maybe the better question, if you’re not a die-hard Marvel fan, is, "Who is Adam Warlock?" In the comics, he’s an artificial being created to be a perfect entity by a group called the Enclave. Warlock is tied into several big Thanos storylines in the comics; while he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it was actually Thanos creator Jim Starlin who crafted some of the most significant stories featuring the character.
We saw a tease of Adam Warlock during the end credits of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (above), with Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha revealing a cloning pod she said contains "the next step in our evolution. I think I’ll call him Adam," she concluded.
That was now nearly three years ago, though, and Adam Warlock has not yet made an appearance. Fans have been asking about him for years, but James Gunn has not committed to fully writing the character into the MCU… at least, not yet.
What About Howard the Duck?
Voiced by Seth Green, Howard the Duck has appeared in all of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films so far.
One of the strangest characters from Marvel Comics, Howard the Duck, made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the post-credits scene for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (above), and then had cameos in both GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 and AVENGERS: ENDGAME (where he showed up in the big battle of ENDGAME blink-and-you’ll-miss-it style). James Gunn definitely seems to appreciate the ability to have the character around, at least in the background, so it’s entirely possible that he will be back for the next GUARDIANS adventure.
What Will Guardians 3 Be About?
As always, Marvel is playing coy about story details.
In 2017, Gunn said the third movie "will be the final in this iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy, yes. Who knows who will take up the mantle after that?" (Say it with us: Adam Warlock!)
The director said the third movie would continue the trilogy begun in the first two films and noted, "I think we’re going to come to an epic conclusion of who the Guardians are and why they were bought together."
Around the same time, Gunn told the Toronto Sun, "I think the first three movies tell a single story and that story is pretty simple. I think that there could be a GUARDIANS VOL. 4, but it would not be the same. It would not be the same group… basically, the story of this group ends with VOL. 3.”
We can be pretty certain that Star-Lord will want to find Gamora. She might be in a pretty strange place. For one, she must eventually realize that a future version of herself was sacrificed by Thanos. She also knows that she’s a being from 2014 who is effectively in the wrong time. And she has none of the romantic attachment to Star-Lord that developed for the original Gamora in the first two movies.
There’s one more important old quote, too. That Toronto Sun interview also contains this quote: "I will be helping to plant the seeds that will lead to the next decade [of MCU movies]," James Gunn said. "I’m helping to decide what projects we’ll be pursuing outside of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 and the next cosmic characters we will focus on." Maybe Thor has something to do with that?
Will the Third Movie Have an Epic Soundtrack?
Should we be getting ready to listen to "Awesome Mix Vol. 3"?
The first two GUARDIANS films had great soundtracks, both of which turned into big sellers in their own right. There was even a dance battle on screen in the first movie. So, there’s every reason to expect the third movie to follow suit.
Keep checking back in with the AMC Scene for more about GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3!