Marvel have always struggled to find their way with Chris Hemsworth's Thor. The character had originally suffered two largely mediocre titles, but the franchise finally hit its stride as Taika Waititi took up the reigns with Thor: Ragnarök, a film that shifted to a lighter, more comedic tone.
Feige announcing a fourth solo installment in Hemsworth's Thor franchise — with Thor: Love and Thunder — came as one of the bigger surprises of the Phase 4 slate. The announcement broke new ground for the MCU as Thor became the first character to cross the trilogy boundary with a fourth installment.
One of Thor's most popular MCU arcs so far has been his relationship with the Guardians of the Galaxy which was explored across Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. The latest appearance of the character left Thor jetting off into space with the Guardians set to explore the cosmos as he left the throne of New Asgard to Valkyrie.
It's no secret the Guardians are to play a role in next year's Thor sequel, recent set photos have seemingly confirmed the majority of the team will be returning alongside Thor in the film. However, the capacity of their roles has remained unclear.
BAUTISTA IS FINISHED ALREADY?
Update: Dave Bautista has commented on The Direct's social media post for this story with an indication that he has not yet completed production for Thor: Love and Thunder:
An image posted by Drax actor Dave Bautista on his Instagram story made reference to his “face of jet lag," suggesting that the actor has just taken a long-distance flight. This likely points toward the actor having just returned to the states from his filming on Thor: Love and Thunder in Australia, indicating he has wrapped production on his scenes with Chris Hemsworth and crew.
A MINOR CAMEO OR MORE TO COME?
While it's not exactly a confirmation, Bautista's departure from Australia seems to suggest he has completed filming on the project. With COVID-19 guidelines for film production requiring strict quarantines among the cast and crew, it's unlikely Bautista would be returning to the States for a brief trip unless it was a one-way.
It's entirely possible different members of the Guardians team will have different sized roles in the film with Chris Pratt's Star-Lord likely to have the biggest considering he is the main character of the GOTG crew. Bautista only began filming less than a month ago, so his completion this soon after would seem to suggest the team will play a relatively minor role in the film.
Bautista isn't the only Guardian who's been seen to be saying “Goodbye” to sunny Australia in recent days. Both Karen Gillain (Nebula) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis) have suggested on their Instagram stories that their shooting on the sequel is complete as well. This seems to paint the picture of a smaller role for the Guardians in Thor 4, something which shouldn't come as a huge surprise considering this is, in fact, a Thor movie.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 set to release in 2023, a holiday special coming in December 2022, and a role in Thor: Love and Thunder, the Guardians have a lot of fun antics that will come to screens over the next few years.
Thor: Love and Thunder will hit theaters on February 18, 2022.