Before Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters in 2014, the space-traveling team was among Marvel's least known heroes. But after the critical and financial success of James Gunn's MCU directing debut, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot quickly became household names, even getting on the fast track to a sequel that debuted in 2017.
Fast-forward almost a decade, and shooting is well underway on the third and final installment of the trilogy to release in summer 2023; a festive Holiday Special is on the way to Disney+ in fall 2022 preceding that movie. The Guardians will also first make an appearance in some capacity in Thor: Love and Thunder in July 2022.
With Gunn now taking his talents to DC for The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker after a brief firing from Marvel, the trilogy-completing blockbuster will be the director's final MCU venture. But it seems it won't just be the director saying "goodbye" to the MCU as he teases the threequel will mark the final appearance for this iteration of the Guardians.
Chris Pratt's Guardians are Done After Vol. 3
During a recent appearance on Deadline's Hero Nation podcast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn confirmed the threequel will be the last time Chris Pratt's Guardians will appear in the MCU.
Gunn revealed Vol. 3 will be "the last time people will see" the current Guardians of the Galaxy team as the director takes the helm on his final Marvel outing:
“This is the end for us, the last time people will see this team of Guardians.”
The Marvel and DC director went on to share his nerves for the film due to his desire to "be true to the characters [and] the story" while "[giving] people the wrap-up that they deserve:"
“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.”
Lastly, Gunn joked about the common stereotype that "the third film in most trilogies sucks" but teased that is "not always" the case:
“I’m aware that the third film in most trilogies sucks; not always.”
Do the Guardians Have a Future in the MCU?
Whatever the case, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 marks the end of James Gunn's time in the Marvel universe, and it seems he will be taking much of his tight-knit cast of superheroes with him. Although chances are at least a few of the Guardians will be sticking around to form the next iteration of the team and maybe even lead their own Disney+ spin-offs down the line.
Drax actor Dave Bautista has previously been extremely vocal about his disinterest in continuing on at Marvel without James Gunn's involvement, but the rest of the cast has yet to offer any definitive comments.
Even if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is truly the end for Chris Pratt's iconic team, there is still plenty of action to come before the end of the road. Almost all the Guardians will pop up in some capacity this summer for Thor: Love and Thunder before closing out the year with their own Holiday Special on Disney+ which will lead directly into their trilogy-completing final appearance.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters next summer on May 5, 2023.