When Guardians of the Galaxy became the biggest hit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2, it was the first proof that the franchise could function well outside the Avengers cast. A sweary raccoon, a tree who only knows one word, a genetically engineered idiot, the adopted daughter of Thanos, and a half-Celestial who likes classic rock are not the most auspicious group to make up Marvel’s most popular standalone franchise. The group has since added an empath and traded out one Thanos adoptee for another. But the juggernaut rolls on with Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 heading to theaters in 2023.
The path to Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 was rather rocky. The first two films were blockbusters, bringing in $773 million and $864 million worldwide, respectively. Marvel immediately planned to make a third and final installment with director James Gunn to help kick off Phase 4 and set up the next saga. But the controversy over Gunn’s old tweets surfaced, causing Disney to fire him. For a while, the status of the film was up in the air, with stars like Dave Bautista vocally protesting Gunn’s removal. After looking further into the matter, Marvel and Disney reversed course, rehiring Gunn to finish his series.
By that time, the MCU had set the early Phase 4 schedule with Black Widow kicking off the new era, and Gunn had already committed to making The Suicide Squad, further delaying Guardians 3 filming. And that was all before the 2020 Hollywood shutdown upended Marvel’s release schedule for over a year.
But things are now back on track, and GOTG 3’s release date has been set. Here’s everything fans should know about the new film.
Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 Trailer
Filming for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was confirmed by Gunn to begin before the end of 2021. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel in June, star Chris Pratt revealed the planned filming schedule for the film was currently slated to begin in November 2021 and run through to April or so of 2022.
With no footage having been shot yet, there’s no trailer. However, that’s never stopped Marvel before. Fans got their first tease of the new film in the overview trailer “Marvel Celebrates the Movies,” which listed all the releases planned for the next two years.
Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 Cast
When the first film premiered, the GOTG ensemble was the most extensive main cast of any standalone series within the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the arrival of Eternals (which has a main roster of 10) in Nov. 2021, GOTG will lose that crown. However, it doesn’t make the character count any smaller.
Pratt will continue to head up the group as the well-meaning if slightly goofy Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord. Bautista will return as Drax the Destroyer, along with Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket and Vin Diesel as the voice of the now-young adult Groot. Pom Klementieff returns as the empath Mantis and Karen Gillan as Nebula, the once bad-girl adopted daughter of Thanos now turned good. Zoe Saldana is also expected to return as Gamora, although not the original Gamora, who died in Avengers: Infinity War. Instead, she’s a girl-out-of-time-Gamora, who accidentally traveled to the future from before she ever met her Guardian friends.
Fans also expect Chris Hemsworth to join the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as part of the fallout from Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, when Thor found himself teamed up with the motley crew and formed fast friendships with most of them.
Other actors from Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 who fans expect to return: Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, the leader of the Sovereign people, Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri, who will now run the Ravagers with Yondu’s passing at the end of Vol. 2. Also possible: Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord, Yondu’s old friend, who was set up towards the end of Vol. 2 as a leader of another group of superhero friends.
On Oct. 12, just ahead of filming, Deadline revealed at least one other major figure would join Vol. 3: Adam Warlock. The character was teased in one of Vol. 2’s five post-credit scenes. He’ll be played by Will Poulter (Midsommar).
Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 Plot
As always, Marvel has kept nearly everything under wraps about the upcoming installment. But fans do know at least one thing: They won’t be waiting until 2023 to see the Guardians again. As noted, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor took off at the end of Endgame with the Guardian crew. Thor’s next outing, Thor: Love and Thunder, arrives in May of 2022. Rumor has it that at least some of the GOTG cast will appear in that film, and Gunn was involved in their scenes, which will help set up GOTG3. Marvel has thus far not confirmed any of that. However, fans expect to know a lot more after Thor 4 arrives in theaters next year.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special
Though there is no Guardians of the Galaxy spinoff TV series in the works (at least not yet), fans should not count the crew out from Disney+ completely. Instead, the MCU is planning its first holiday special to arrive in time for Christmas 2023. There are no details yet, but fans will hopefully know more after Vol. 3 debuts that spring.
Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 Release Date
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will premiere in theaters on May 5, 2023.