Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Everything we know so far

Chris Pratt says 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' will use James Gunn's script

guardians of the galaxy vol 3 news cast release date 2

Ten years ago, no one would have expected a sentient tree and a heavily armed, talking raccoon to become two of Hollywood’s most popular superheroes. Two Guardians of the Galaxy movies later, that’s the world we’re living in. Unfortunately, the third film in the franchise (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, we assume) finds itself without a director following the departure of franchise director and screenwriter James Gunn — although star Chris Pratt seems fairly certain Gunn’s script will still be used for the film.

Marvel’s 2014 cosmic adventure Guardians of the Galaxy and its 2017 sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, outperformed expectations by becoming two of the highest-grossing films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a roster of relatively unknown characters. The two films assembled a colorful cast of reluctant heroes led by actor Chris Pratt’s charismatic thief Peter Quill and featuring Zoe Saldana as the assassin Gamora, Dave Bautista as the warrior Drax, Vin Diesel as the voice of the sentient tree Groot, and Bradley Cooper as the voice of brilliant weaponsmith Rocket Raccoon. The team was later joined by Karen Gillan as Gamora’s adopted sister, Nebula, and Pom Klementieff as the empathic Mantis.

After saving the universe not once but twice, the team of adventuring “a-holes” (their words, not ours) played a big part in Avengers: Infinity War, and are currently scheduled to return to the screen for another adventure in 2020. The abrupt departure of Gunn, however, has complicated matters.

Here’s everything we know about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 so far.

The script

While conducting press interviews for Ant-Man and the Wasp in June 2018, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Collider that Gunn’s final script was in and filming was set to begin in 2019. Disney’s decision to terminate the studio’s relationship with Gunn the following month put that schedule into question, but in a February 2019 interview with MTV News, Pratt indicated that Marvel is still planning to use Gunn’s script for the film.

Production delayed

According to the Hollywood Reporter, production on part three of Guardians of the Galaxy has been delayed following the firing of Gunn. The details surrounding the delay haven’t been announced, but sources close the production state that the move is more in the nature of a reorganization as Disney and Marvel search for a new director.

However, the staff that was in charge of pre-production have been dismissed for the time being and were told that they were free to pursue other projects. While Disney still appears eager to release a third film, it might be some time before we see anything concrete emerge. The 2020 target for the film has yet to be officially confirmed or denied by Disney in the wake of Gunn’s exit.

Gunn fired

After directing the first two installments and announcing that he would write and direct the third, Gunn was abruptly fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in July 2018 after political pundits unearthed highly damaging tweets posted by the director almost a decade earlier.

The campaign to convince Disney to remove Gunn — an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump — was led by a controversial right-wing blogger and eventually resulted in just that, with the studio’s chairman, Alan Horn, declaring “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

Shortly after Gunn’s departure, an open letter was posted on Instagram by Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt, beginning with the statement “We fully support James Gunn,” and ending with the signatures of every member of the franchise’s recurring cast. In the letter, the actors express their belief that — as Gunn stated himself — he is a very different person from the man he was when he made the comments more than a decade earlier.

The statement also alludes to the alt-right campaign to paint Gunn as a pedophile due to the content of several jokes he made, with the cast expressing disappointment with “those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.”

Targeting 2020

Given the three-year separation between the first Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel, many fans speculated that 2020 would be the most likely year for Vol. 3 to hit theaters. That speculation was eventually confirmed in January 2018 by Gunn himself, who responded to a fan’s question on Twitter with an official date — or rather, a specific year — when audiences can expect to see the third installment of the series.

Asked whether there will be a third Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn responded, “Coming in 2020.”

Gunn initially made his return for Vol. 3 official in an April 2017 post on Facebook. The lengthy post was published before the start of the press tour for Vol. 2, and Gunn indicated that he wanted to let fans of the franchise be the first to know, rather than simply announcing the news during a press junket interview.

“Yes, I’m returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Gunn had written earlier. “In the end, my love for Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, and Nebula — and some of the other forthcoming heroes — goes deeper than you guys can possibly imagine, and I feel they have more adventures to go on and things to learn about themselves and the wonderful and sometimes terrifying universe we all inhabit. And, like in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we will work on creating the story that goes beyond what you expect.”

An ending and a beginning

In an early post regarding Vol. 3, Gunn hinted that the third installment of the series could bring an end to some key elements of the franchise while kick-starting a new chapter for the ragtag team.

“Much of what’s happened in the MCU for the past 10 or so years has been leading, in a big way, to the Avengers’ Infinity War,” wrote Gunn. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will happen after all that. It will conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and help catapult both old and new Marvel characters into the next ten years and beyond.”

Gunn’s cryptic hint at what the future holds for the Guardians of the Galaxy could have a wide range of interpretations, but one thing seems certain: Whatever version of the team continues on after Vol. 3 will be very different from the team that was introduced in the 2014 film.

More Mantis

guardians of the galaxy vol 3 news cast release date mantis 2

It’s widely expected that the core team from 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy will return for Vol. 3, but given how many supporting characters have been introduced across the first two films, it’s anyone’s guess as to which cast members will be brought back for another adventure.

One character that does seem to have been confirmed to return, however, is Mantis — the empathic, antenna-sporting alien in Vol. 2. In a May 2017 post on Instagram, Gunn wished Klementieff a happy birthday and  looked “forward to spending the next couple of years hanging out with both her and Mantis while making Vol. 3.”

Given the uncertain realities of comic books and the movies inspired by them, even Michael Rooker’s fin-headed mercenary Yondu might return for more action.

Updated on February 7, 2019: Added information about the potential use of James Gunn’s script for the film.

Movies & TV

Game of Thrones’ failure shows why Avengers: Endgame was so magnificent

In the span of just a few weeks, we saw two of the most adored franchises reach a concluding chapter. But while Avengers: Endgame was a triumph, Game of Thrones’ final days were utterly dissatisfying. What went wrong?
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater, from Gravity to Logan

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

Skip the flowers and sunshine this spring and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

Twilight's Robert Pattinson is the leading contender to play The Batman

Warner Bros. Pictures is giving DC Comics' Dark Knight another solo adventure on the big screen (his first since the conclusion of the Dark Knight trilogy). Here's everything we know about the studio's upcoming film The Batman.
Movies & TV

Prime-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Game of Thrones finale, Veep, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Game of Thrones, Veep, Fleabag, and Easy all come to their ends.
Movies & TV

Now that Game of Thrones is over, here’s what GoT fans should watch next

Now that HBO brought its hit series Game of Thrones to a conclusion, audiences are going to have a Westeros-sized space open up in their regular viewing schedule. These series are a good place to start finding your next TV obsession.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now (May 2019)

Amazon Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be a major undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The Iron Throne deserved better: Who should have been ruler of Westeros

Who should have sat on the Iron Throne? A look at some of the people who could have been the best ruler to sit on the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones, and what they would have brought — or in one case, will bring — to their kingdom.
Movies & TV

Now that Game of Thrones is over, which fan theories came true?

We finally know who won the Game of Thrones, but the ruler's identity is just the beginning. Here's our list of the fan theories that came true, the ones that didn't, and the ones we're still not sure about.
Gaming

PlayStation Productions is taking inspiration from Disney’s Marvel films

Sony announced PlayStation Productions, a studio dedicated to bringing the gaming properties to film and television. The new studio is aiming to model things after Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Movies & TV

The best, most brutal, and most memorable Game of Thrones episodes

Game of Thrones might be over, but go ahead and watch it again. Revisit all of the nefarious plots, horrifying monsters, and brutal murders with favorite episodes of HBO's epic fantasy series.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video and what’s leaving in June 2019

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all of the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in May and June, from new original series to classic films.
Movies & TV

Coffee cups and plot holes: Game of Thrones got lazy as it raced to the finish

In its final seasons, Game of Thrones was afflicted by pacing issues, nonsensical character developments, and a few out-of-place beverage containers. It's a surprisingly lazy ending to a show that once prided itself on its thoughtfulness.