While Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 opens in theaters this weekend, preliminary work is already underway on the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Writer/director James Gunn revealed a few weeks ago that he would be sticking around to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, which Marvel Studios hasn’t yet put on its release calendar. But it appears that Gunn hasn’t just decided he’s doing another Guardians movie, he’s already started writing it.
As part of a set report from USA Today (via CS), it was revealed that Gunn has already started work on Guardians of the Galaxy 3, “discussing the story with Pratt and having ‘some pretty intense conversations’ with Saldana about a significant role in the threequel.” This isn’t actually that surprising, as Gunn started writing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 the weekend the first movie came out.
When Gunn revealed he was returning for Guardians 3, he made it clear that the film will conclude a trilogy of Guardians movies:
Much of what’s happened in the MCU for the past ten or so years has been leading, in a big way, to the Avengers’ Infiniy War. 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. I will be working side-by-side with Kevin Feige and the gang to help design where these stories go, and make sure the future of the Marvel Cosmic Universe is as special and authentic and magical as what we have created so far.
I promise you, the fans, I’ll do it all with integrity and love and respect for the characters.
Indeed, Gunn and Kevin Feige have basically said that the Guardians of the Galaxy team that takes shape after Vol. 3 will not necessarily be the exact same team from these first three movies. You’ve seen Scream 3, you know the rules of threequels—all bets are off, and even the main character can die. So expect some fun twists and turns in what could be Gunn’s final MCU film for a while.
But first the Guardians will appear in Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4, so Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 likely won’t arrive in theaters anytime before 2020 at the earliest.