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New Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Set Photos Tease the Sequel's Tragic Plot

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 plot Rocket Raccoon
By Klein Felt

It won't be long before James Gunn finishes off his epic MCU trilogy with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The upcoming threequel is set to debut in Summer 2023 and has been teased as the culmination of the Guardians saga thus far. The film will see the entire main cast return for another adventure headlined by Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Vin Diesel as Groot, Dave Bautista as Drax, and Zoe Saldana as Gamora. 

Gunn has mentioned that this will be a much bigger tale for the crew, also revealing that it will be the last time fans see this version of the Guardians team. Not much is known about exact story details, but Marvel Comics icon Adam Warlock is set to make his MCU debut in the project, played by Will Poulter. 

Surely Warlock will be integral to the plot of GOTG 3, but what else will make this narrative move along? The High Evolutionary is rumored to make an appearance, with rumblings suggesting that Peacemaker's Chukwudi Iwuji could be bringing the villain to life. And, if some new set photos are to be believed, this film could explore the backstory of one of the most beloved Guardians. 

Halfworld in Guardians of the Galaxy 3

Guardians of the Galaxy 3
Marvel

New photos from the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 set revealed that the film could further explore Rocket Raccoon's disturbing backstory. 

Just Jared published production images of what look to be altered animal-human hybrids, akin to the enhanced creatures that came out of Rocket's planet of origin, Halfworld.

The beasts also resemble the animal-human amalgams seen on the High Evolutionary's Counter-Earth in the comics, tieing into the villain's rumored appearance. Counter-Earth is a near-identical version of the planet created by the High Evolutionary, with the set photos including some indications that the Guardians may have ended up on this alternate Earth.

Given the warped version of Earth's locations and residents and the Rocket-like anthropomorphic humans, it's possible that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could combine elements of Halfworld and Counter-Earth to explore Rocket's tortured past of being experimented on in Halfworld and dive deeper into his tragic backstory.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Rocket Halfworld
Marvel

The hybrids seen on set look awfully similar to those found on either Halfword or the High Evolutionary's Counter Earth on the comic page. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Rocket Halfworld 2
Marvel

 

A Darker Guardians Story

Not to say that the Guardians films have not tackled darker topics, but if these photos are in fact hinting at a look at Rocket's past, it is not a leap to say that this would be the darkest entry in the trilogy. 

For those who don't know, before Rocket becomes ingrained in the Guardians team, he is one of many animals who were forced into painful and terrible experiments under the watch of the High Evolutionary. It is through these procedures that Rocket becomes the bipedal loudmouth that he is, as he attempts to cover up the atrocities he both witnessed and had conducted upon him. 

Guardians 3 has been touted as a real tear-jerker by people privy to the project. So, it would make a lot of sense if Halfworld, the High Evolutionary, and this horrible experimentation played a part in what has been described as an overtly tragic story. 

And diving into Rocket's past does seem like a logical next step for these filmmakers. Fans have gotten a taste of nearly every Guardian's backstory up to this point, but Rocket Racoon has remained the exception. If this is actually the last time moviegoers see this version of the team, there's no better time than now to fill in those blanks before the MCU fandom possibly says goodbye. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5, 2023.