Fans have been waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 going on six years now, but its many spoilers are now here for audiences to devour.
The wait has been so long it’s almost hard to believe it's actually here.
But the big trilogy-capper is in theaters worldwide, and with it, so is James Gunn’s extremely emotional and powerful story following his favorite team of cosmic misfits.
But what were the biggest reveals and plot developments the movie held for those watching? These are the eleven biggest moments and scenes that fans would consider major spoilers...
1.) None of the Guardians Die
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3:
To the surprise of everyone, James Gunn’s big Marvel Studios swan song does not result in anyone from the original team dying. The most notable deaths of the movie go to Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha and Chukwudi Iwuji's High Evolutionary.
Instead, the majority of the Guardians decide to go their own ways for various reasons - more on those spoilers later...
2.) Rocket’s Tragic Origin
Taken as a baby raccoon, 89P13 was one of the High Evolutionary’s best experiments. After naming himself Rocket, a discovery made by the intelligent raccoon made his brain extremely valuable—but not the whole package.
Shortly after his sentient elevation, Rocket meets his cellmates Lylla, Teefs, and Floor. Sadly, all three are killed after Rocket unsuccessfully tries to break them out after learning that their creator intends to kill them.
After losing the only friends he’s ever known, Rocket basically tears the face off his creator before fleeing to start his own life.
3.) The Sovereign's Origin Revealed
While the Sovereign people were used as an obstacle to the titular team in Vol. 2, here, their people were given some unexpected backstory.
Their society was revealed to have been created by The High Evolutionary, with the creator intending for Adam Warlock to be the perfect version of them all. That was, however, before Warlock was taken out of his pod early, leading to his child-like nature in the film.
4.) Counter-Earth's Destruction
Halfway through the film, audiences are introduced to Counter-Earth—a recreation of the original Earth populated with the High Evolutionary’s animal-human hybrids.
The introduction of such a big set piece is exciting, as it could be further explored in different contexts down the line in other MCU films. However, here, Chukwudi Iwuji’s villain had other plans: wiping his creation slate clean.
Counter-Earth is destroyed on screen, and with it, millions, possibly billions, of living sentient lifeforms are extinguished. The Guardians barely make it off alive themselves.
5.) Mantis Carves Her Own Path
Throughout the movie, Mantis is clearly getting fed up with how everyone on the team is acting. It's here that the first signs of her inevitable choice can be found.
After the High Evolutionary is defeated, Mantis decides she needs to pave her own road and listen to herself over other people. She even takes two pet Abilisks with her on her new journey into the galaxy.
6.) Drax, the Father Figure
With how Dave Bautista talked to the press over the past few months, many assumed Drax would be dead by the film's end.
In January of this year, the actor formally said goodbye to the role, noting how it was a “relief” to be done and that the process of becoming Drax “wasn’t all pleasant” due to the makeup.
However, at the end of the film, Drax doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. While he isn’t a part of Rocket’s newly minted team, he does take on a father figure role for all the rescued children from High Evolutionary.
The introduction of Phyla-Vell seems to open the doors for Marvel Studios to properly introduce Drax’s late daughter Moondragon, who, in the comics, isn’t quite as dead as he thinks. She also happens to be Phyla-Vell’s love interest.
After putting the Destroyer in this unique place character-wise, it would be a shame if Bautista never returned to explore that hypothetical storyline with his daughter.
7.) The Legendary Star-Lord Takes a Sabbatical
Once all is said and done, Peter Quill finally comes to the heartbreaking acceptance that this new Gamora, pulled straight from 2014, will never be the same one he lost in Avengers: Infinity War.
He also comes to realize, like Rocket, he’s been running for most of his life. It’s time to finally face the music and head back to Earth—and that’s exactly what he does.
So, taking a break from the Guardians of the Galaxy, Pete goes to Earth to reunite with his grandfather, played by Gregg Henry, and spend some time on the planet he had avoided for decades.
Thanks to the second post-credits tag, Marvel Studios confirmed that "The Legendary Star-Lord will Return." This makes sense, given how Chris Pratt’s hero is now in the perfect place to be brought back into the mix when Kang the Conqueror starts causing trouble in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
8.) Gamora’s New Family
While this Variant of Gamora does grow closer to the Guardians of the Galaxy member audiences have known for years, there’s another family she got close to off-screen.
Instead of staying in Knowhere with the remaining Guardians, Gamora heads back to the Ravagers, which include the members of Yondu’s old team.
Oddly enough, Zoe Saldana recently announced that “it is the end for [her as] Gamora.” Although the ending of the movie does not imply she’s done with the MCU quite as strongly.
If anything, it places her in a perfect point for Marvel Studios to use the character whenever and wherever the company wants.
9.) Nebula Leads Knowhere
Just like everyone else, Nebula finds herself a new calling: leading the people and city of Knowhere.
It’s quite a change from where audiences first met her in the original 2014 film.
This also puts Nebula in a fantastic place in the MCU, where she can easily be integrated and weaved into other cosmic stories. Fans can probably expect Knowhere’s importance to only grow from here.
Perhaps, if the Eternals get their sequel, they could find use in a weaponized decapitated Celestial head.
10.) A NEW Guardians Team Emerges
Going into this movie, fans were worried sick that this would be the last time Bradley Cooper’s voice graced the MCU. However, it’s quite the opposite—Rocket Raccoon is now the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
He’s even put together a new team. The roster includes a much larger Groot, Adam Warlock, Kraglin, Cosmo, and Phyla-Vell.
Thanks to his experiences over the course of the film, and the second chance given to him by the Guardians of the Galaxy, Warlock becomes an ally to Rocket and his crew.
Kai Zen’s Phyla-Vell is the biggest addition to the team and could prove to be a pivotal cosmic character in the MCU in the coming years.
11.) The High Evolutionary Dies… Or Does He?
In Vol. 3’s big climatic act, the Guardians team up and take on High Evolutionary’s cronies and then the man himself. It doesn’t take long until the squad subdues the big bad.
Instead of killing him, Rocket chooses to spare the life of his former creator, leaving the villain to go down with the ship.
While audiences see High Evolutionary’s spacecraft explode, the pivotal moment of death for Iwuji’s character isn’t shown on screen.
So, if Marvel Studios ever really wanted to, its creatives could easily find a way to bring High Evolutionary back into the picture.
The End of One Volume... And the Beginning of Another?
While the movie feels fairly conclusive to James Gunn’s trilogy, it’s strange so many actors have painted the picture that they are done with those roles. Each and every member is in a new, unique place. And it would be a shame not to explore each and every one of them at some point in the MCU’s future.
Either way, Marvel’s cosmic side of the equation is now in a new era, and viewers might see some of these new changes as early as The Marvels later this year.
Besides the upcoming Captain Marvel sequel, the cosmic corner of the MCU is looking pretty sparse.
Currently, there are only Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, Secret Wars, and a Nova project confirmed. One would also assume that an Eternals sequel is on the cards at some point.
It looks like the cosmos might be a little quiet for a good stretch of time.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters.