In 2014, when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was proving itself to be a huge success of a project and Phase 2 was in full swing, Guardians of the Galaxy was seen as a big gamble. Instead of adapting a Marvel mainstay from the 1960s, they were making a movie based on a space-based superhero team that existed briefly in the mid-00s. Marvel was going to be expanding their universe with an adventure starring the chubby guy from Parks and Recreation and a professional wrestler. The movie’s style was previewed in a mid-credits scene in Thor: The Dark World and it had viewers scratching their heads at Benicio Del Toro’s bizarre performance as the Collector.
The gamble paid off. Guardians of the Galaxy became a gigantic hit. It received a sequel in 2017, and the team became major players in Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Not only did they also return in the comics, but each member from the movie got their own solo series spinoff. The team starred in various video games based on their movie depictions, will have a Christmas special on Disney+ in December, and currently have two Disney theme park rides (one of which comes with a Halloween overlay/sequel).
Unfortunately, such things can’t last forever. James Gunn will be finishing his wacky space mercenary trilogy with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and that will apparently close the book on the franchise. Maybe some of the characters will live on in some form in the MCU and make a cameo here and there, but this is supposedly going to be the final chapter for Star-Lord’s team of a-holes.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Cast
Naturally, we’ll be getting the current iteration of the Guardians, though without Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. That means Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, and Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket. Sean Gunn will also return, both as the motion stand-in for Rocket and also as Kraglin, the Ravager crew member who is arguably a member of the Guardians (James Gunn joked that he is a member, but he doesn’t get to vote on things).
Zoe Saldana will return as Gamora, or, more specifically, the Gamora Variant introduced in Avengers: Endgame. As the original version of the character was killed in Avengers: Infinity War by Thanos, this time-displaced Gamora (who existed just prior to the Guardians’ formation) is stranded in the main MCU timeline. Other than a connection to Nebula, she has no interest in the rest of the team and is off on her own.
Sylvester Stallone will return as Stakar Ogord, a Ravager leader who ended the last movie by reuniting with the leaders from other Ravager factions. The cameos included Miley Cyrus, Ving Rhames, and Michelle Yeoh, but there is no word on if any of them will be returning.
Speaking of cliffhangers from the last movie’s mid-credits, Elizabeth Debicki will return as Sovereign queen Ayesha. That leads to our next entry.
New Characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
As it stands right now, the one major character we know to be newly introduced in the new film is Adam Warlock, played by Black Mirror star Will Poulter. As the Sovereign were repeatedly humiliated by the Guardians of the Galaxy and wasted untold resources in their quest for revenge, Ayesha has one last plan to make things right. She has created an ultimate being who will crush the Guardians, referring to him as “Adam.”
In the comics, Adam Warlock (otherwise known as Him) was a creation of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in the pages of Fantastic Four #66. An artificially-created being, Adam is something of a cross between Space Jesus and David Bowie. Normally, he’s treated as being THE protagonist of Marvel’s cosmic stuff and spends a lot of time as Thanos’ frenemy.
Borat 2 breakout Maria Bakalova also has a mysterious role in the film, as has Gunn’s The Suicide Squad star Daniela Melchior, who played Ratcatcher 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Villain
While there is no official confirmation, arrows point to the big villain as being Chukwudi Iwuji playing the role of the High Evolutionary. Some fairly recent set photos show various half-man/half-animals, as well as graffiti that resembles the High Evolutionary from the comics.
Another Kirby/Lee creation, the High Evolutionary was introduced in Mighty Thor #134 back in 1966. He is a more cosmic and armored take on Dr. Moreau, dedicated to his radical experiments that force evolution onto others. He also has ties to Adam Warlock and considering how the Sovereign are supposed to be perfected by evolution, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out that the High Evolutionary had a hand in their society.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Story
Unfortunately, there’s little to go on when it comes to concrete details on the overall plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Of course, there would have to be some attempt for Star-Lord and his team to reconnect with the Gamora Variant and win her over all over again. That’s the one thing you can bet on as there will not be any special cliffhangers building towards the crew returning in yet another installment.
This will be the Guardians’ last hurrah. At least, it will be THIS incarnation of the Guardians’ last hurrah. James Gunn has suggested that there could very well be more Guardians of the Galaxy stories, but it will not be with this roster. Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, and the rest will get their narrative closure in this movie. Even Dave Bautista has gone on record to state that this will be the last time we get to see him in the role of Drax as he’s approaching his mid-50s and his character is constantly shirtless. “I’m expecting everything to start sagging any second now,” Bautista joked.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Release Date
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be released on May 5, 2023. Initially, it was set to be released on May 1, 2020, but between the temporary firing of James Gunn from Marvel projects, him being busy working on The Suicide Squad, and the whole COVID-19 pandemic, lots of delays kicked in.
The movie will be preceded by Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023) and followed by The Marvels (July 28, 2023).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Trailer
Chances are, we should be getting some kind of trailer or teaser for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 when Marvel returns to San Diego Comic Con somewhere between Thursday July 21 and Sunday July 24. If not that, we’d expect something by the D23 Expo on Friday, September 9 at the latest.