Pratt was last seen as Quill during the finale of Avengers: Endgame, when he and many of the other Marvel heroes were restored to existence for the final battle against Thanos. At movie’s end, the reunited Guardians ventured back into space to search for Gamora (Zoe Saldana), with one extra companion on board: the God of Thunder himself (Chris Hemsworth), who seemed eager to possibly assert his authority over Quill, the team’s leader.
Since we last saw Thor leaving Earth with the Guardians, the obvious question is: will more of that dysfunctional crew turn up in Thor: Love and Thunder as well?
Vin Diesel, the voice of Groot, seems to think so, telling Comicbook.com earlier this year that “the director talked to me about [how Thor 4] will incorporate some of the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Now that Pratt’s involvement is confirmed, it seems more likely that other Guardians will show up too. The idea of Thor: Love and Thunder director/writer Taika Waititi getting a chance to combine his quirky, absurdist sense of humor with the wackier members of the Guardians seems like too good an opportunity for either the filmmaker or Marvel to pass up, doesn’t it?
Waititi reinvented the Thor franchise with 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, adding more humor and overall weirdness to a series that had taken itself a little too seriously in its first two installments, while also giving the movie a colorful, more psychedelic visual palette based much more directly on the work of the great Jack Kirby.
Adding the Guardians to the mix will probably up the weirdness, but it also raises an interesting question: Will James Gunn be asked to contribute? Gunn helped out with dialogue for the Guardians on Avengers: Infinity War, and since whatever the team does in Thor: Love and Thunder will serve as a lead-in for Gunn’s own Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it might make sense for Waititi to pull him in for some consultations.
The last interesting aspect of all this is that Marvel appears to be continuing its tradition of the last few years of increasing the size and importance of its character crossovers. With the exception of the Avengers films and Captain America: Civil War – which, let’s face it, was Avengers 2.5 – most MCU crossovers have been fairly limited to brief cameos or mid-credits sequences.
That changed in 2017, with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man playing a significant role in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk a featured player in Thor: Ragnarok. In addition to seeing the Guardians in Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel’s Phase 4 will also bring Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness while the Sorcerer Supreme himself (Benedict Cumberbatch) is slated to appear in the third Spider-Man movie.
When we asked Marvel president Kevin Feige back in 2017 if those all-hands-on-deck Avengers team-ups might not serve as anchors to each phase anymore, Feige told us, “I think that’s fair. I think the future is unknown, the future is going to be a clean canvas and maybe there will and maybe there won’t be similarities.”
As with everything Marvel, various puzzle pieces are in place but the big picture remains maddeningly out of reach for now. In the meantime, Thor: Love and Thunder will begin shooting in Australia this January, with Hemsworth and Pratt joined by Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Waititi himself (Korg) and Christian Bale in an undisclosed role.