Despite being almost completely unheard of before making their MCU debut in 2014, the Guardians of the Galaxy have grown to be among the most beloved heroes. Director James Gunn put his own stamp on the family of intergalactic outlaws across two solo installments, and he will soon continue that journey in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and a Disney+ Holiday Special.
The Guardians have proven integral to the recent MCU story, as Zoe Saldana's Gamora and Karen Gillan's Nebula had close ties to Thanos and the end of the Infinity Saga. Now, the Guardians will soon return for their first Phase 4 appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder, having just recently been seen jetting off into space with the God of Thunder.
With Gunn having taken the jump to DC for The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, Vol. 3 has been promised to be the end for the Guardians of the Galaxy, as their MCU journey concludes.
As fans, cast, and crew alike prepare to say their goodbyes to the beloved Guardians, Chris Pratt offered his own thoughts on leaving the MCU behind.
Chris Pratt Gets Emotional About MCU Departure
Pratt emphasized his desire to "put a lot of effort into experiencing the moment" and to take it in properly. The actor went on to share his realization about how his MCU tenure has been comparable to Russell Wilson's time as the quarterback for Pratt's home football team, the Seattle Seahawks:
“You want to be conscious and put a lot of effort into experiencing the moment. Like, this is going away. I want to take it in. You can’t take it in any harder than just being present to it. So I’m being present. The other day, Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback, he got traded to Denver. He’s been with Seattle for about ten years. Which has been about the duration of this. I was like, ‘Wait, hold on, what happened?’ The emotion around the last ten years sort of coming to an end. I was in the most embarrassing way, like, ‘My quarterback leaves, so I’m gonna cry.’ It’s hitting me in moments like that."
Discussing his future in Hollywood, Pratt insists he doesn't have a ten-year plan as he remains uncertain about "what's gonna come next:"
“I don’t actually know what’s gonna come next. You asked whether or not I’m cognizantly, intentionally turning a page. The page is turning. Whether I want to or not. Because the franchises are over.”
Other Guardians of the Galaxy actors have previously shared their own thoughts about leaving the MCU behind. Gamora's Zoe Saldana told Screen Rant that it's a "bittersweet moment" to be concluding the trilogy, but she and the entire cast are "very grateful to have lived this journey together:"
"I have to say we’re dealing with a lot of adversities, which is COVID and scheduling and things like that. But when we’re there, we’re having such a wonderful time, you know? It’s a bittersweet moment because it is our understanding that this will be the last Guardians of the Galaxy. So it’s bitter in that sense, but it’s sweet because we are all very grateful to have lived this journey together and James Gunn really is giving us a beautiful ending, and this story is really compelling. I think it’s going to be the best one yet. We’re having a blast, but then again, it’s just not easy to shoot a Guardians movie. There’s a lot of action. There’s a lot of dust. There’s a lot of makeup, endless hours of makeup, but the end result is so worth it."
Nebula actress Karen Gillan told CinemaBlend that there is "a feeling of closing out a chapter," also referring to the finale as a bittersweet moment:
"I think we’ve taken it to a whole new level this time. And you know, there might be, maybe, a feeling of closing out a chapter of sorts, so it’s a little bittersweet, in a sense. But I think everybody has upped it for this one."
Before Pratt delivers his MCU departure, Star-Lord and the Guardians will appear in Thor: Love and Thunder and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
Is This Goodbye for the MCU's Guardians?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 has been marketed as the end for the current iteration of the cosmic MCU team, but will that prove to be the case? The cast and crew have been consistent about their loyalty to each other, sharing their lack of interest in returning without one another, and with director James Gunn seemingly committed to this being his final MCU project, this may be the end of the road.
The third entry in the trilogy will be the seventh appearance of the intergalactic heroes, a tally that sits on par with Chris Evans' Captain America, excluding post-credits scenes and cameos. The Guardians will have taken the lead in a solo trilogy, joined the Avengers to conclude the Infinity Saga, tagged along with Thor for Love and Thunder, and even starred in a Disney+ Holiday Special.
While the end may seem nigh for the Guardians, something that will no doubt be emotional for fans, there's still plenty more to come for the team in the MCU. The cast and crew may now have wrapped on the franchise, but the team will soon be seen in Thor: Love and Thunder before returning later in the year for the Holiday Special and starring in their epic finale next summer.
Moving forward, Marvel Studios may well look to continue the franchise's legacy through a new team of heroes under the same name. After all, there have been many iterations of the Guardians of the Galaxy over the years, leaving the doors wide open to more adventures down the line.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5, 2023.