How James Gunn left the Guardians team will certainly play a key role moving forward in the MCU, making Vol. 3's place in the Multiverse Saga even more important.
When Does Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Take Place?
According to Disney+, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 takes place after Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and before Secret Invasion, in the order in which they were released this year.
Originally slated to be released in 2020, it's interesting to think about when Vol. 3 would've been on the timeline had James Gunn never been fired from Disney.
Nevertheless, the current timeline placement shouldn't come as much of a shock. Whether it takes place before or after Ant-Man 3 seems irrelevant, but Vol. 3 was certain to fall after the events of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
The Holiday Special was previously put in a contradicting order, after Secret Invasion, which (if it were true) would make the events of Vol. 3 the most recent within the MCU timeline.
The full list of MCU projects in timeline order can be seen below:
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Captain Marvel
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- The Incredible Hulk
- The Avengers
- Thor: The Dark World
- Iron Man 3
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- I Am Groot: Groot’s First Steps
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- I Am Groot: The Little Guy
- I Am Groot: Groot’s Pursuit
- I Am Groot: Groot Takes a Bath
- I Am Groot: Magnum Opus
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War
- Black Widow
- Black Panther
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Doctor Strange
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Avengers: Endgame
- What If...?
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
- Moon Knight
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Ms. Marvel
- Thor: Love and Thunder
- Werewolf by Night
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
- Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
- Secret Invasion
The full graphic of the MCU timeline can be seen below:
The Guardians of the Galaxy's Complicated Timeline History
The 10th MCU film, Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit in August 2014. It was a space adventure that brought the superhero fun of the MCU, mixed with James Gunn's unique spin and a hint of galactic adventures like Star Wars.
While many other films in Phase 2 and Phase 3 pushed the MCU narrative forward (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, etc), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was stuck in the past.
Vol. 2 was released in May 2017 but was set soon after the event of its predecessor, which is set in 2014 within the MCU.
The Guardians story didn't catch up to the rest of the cinematic universe until Avengers: Infinity War when everything building within the Infinity Saga reached a breaking point.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, the remaining Guardians teamed up with Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Love and Thunder for "a few weeks" according to James Gunn.
After Love and Thunder, Guardians 3 was the first film of its series to take place in the present-day MCU in nearly a decade.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now streaming on Disney+.