guardians of the galaxy

James Gunn Confirms That Vol. 3 Will Be the End of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

“This is the end for us. This is the last time people will see this team of Guardians.”

Get ready to say goodbye to the Guardians of the Galaxy. Director James Gunn confirmed that the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would not only be his last time directing a GOTG film, but would be last outing for the Guardians themselves. In an interview with Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast, Gunn discussed Vol. 3 saying, “This is the end for us, the last time people will see this team of Guardians.”

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Gunn is presumably referring to the core crew, comprised of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Sean Gunn/Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Though Gamora died in Avengers: Infinity War, a 2014 time traveling version found herself rejoining the crew at the end of Avengers: Endgame. The Guardians were also joined by Thor, who hitched a ride with the crew at the end of that film.

It’s unclear if this is the last we’ll see of all the Guardians, or just this specific line-up. It’s a safe bet to say that one of the main Guardians (likely Star-Lord) will die, thus breaking up the team. But perhaps some Guardians may reappear in future MCU installments. They may crossover with Marvel’s other cosmic crew, the Eternals, which ended their film with the reveal of Thanos’s brother Eros (Harry Styles).

After all, the Eternals were created by the Celestial Arishem, and Star-Lord’s biological father Ego (Kurt Russell, introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) is a Celestial as well. Star-Lord himself is half-Celestial, but lost his powers after defeating his father.

Gunn, who is currently filming the final installment in Atlanta, said “It’s big; it’s so, so big and dark, and different from what people might be expecting it to be,” adding “I just want to be true to the characters, the story and give people the wrap-up that they deserve for the story, … That’s always a little bit scary; I’m doing my best.”

Gunn joked, “I’m aware that the third film in most trilogies sucks; not always.” 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was an unexpected hit, grossing over $772 million worldwide. GOTG‘s success was surprising, as the comic book characters were relatively obscure and the cast was devoid of any A-list stars. The film not only made Chris Pratt an in-demand leading man, but it vaulted James Gunn’s career to meteoric heights.

Gunn followed up with GOTG Vol. 2 in 2017, which earned nearly a billion dollars. The Guardians also appeared in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Gunn went on to direct The Suicide Squad for DC and create HBO Max’s Peacemaker, one of the most successful streaming series to date. Gunn is currently working on The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which is scheduled to be released in December 2022 on Disney+. It is inspired by the notorious cult classic, the Star Wars Holiday Special.  

Plot details have been kept under wraps for Vol. 3, but Marvel has already announced that Will Poulter has been cast as Adam Warlock,  an artificial powerful being created by the Sovereign to destroy the Guardians as revenge.

The final installment, GOTG Vol. 3, is set to hit theaters May 5, 2023.

(via Deadline, image: Marvel Studios)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.