We don’t really know much about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond the untitled Avengers 4, but we now have double-secret confirmation of the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 release date. Last May, as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was hitting theaters, writer/director James Gunn had already been confirmed to reprise his duties for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 and the filmmaker revealed in a heartfelt Facebook post that he’d be spending “the next three years” creating the third film in the Guardians franchise. That seemed to indicate the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 release date as sometime in 2020, and indeed while Marvel Studios hasn’t confirmed a specific date, Gunn took to Twitter over the weekend and confirmed once again that Guardians 3 will hit theaters in 2020:
Marvel Studios has three release dates staked out in 2020 for untitled films:
May 1, 2020
August 7, 2020
November 6, 2020
The May release date would be in keeping with the debut of Guardians 2, which worked quite well for the studio to the tune of $863.7 million, but an August release date would be something of a “throwback” as the first Guardians debuted in the first weekend of August—at that time a bit of an oddity for a big blockbuster—and soared at the box office.
Gunn has said that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians, which likely means the franchise will continue with a different lineup but likely with a different filmmaker at the helm as Gunn moves on to other things. The filmmaker is not only working on Guardians 3 at the moment, but is also overseeing the creation and curation of the “Marvel Cosmic Universe,” which relates to Marvel movies that take place in outer space.
Indeed, while Marvel currently has five films in the can and another about to start production, they’re going to run through those movies in the span of just under a year and a half, and we know zilch about the movies coming after. This year we have Black Panther in February, Avengers: Infinity War in May, and Ant-Man and the Wasp in July, then we get Captain Marvel in March 2019 (which starts filming soon), the aforementioned untitled Avengers 4 in May 2019, and Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 in July 2019.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has called Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4—which were shot back-to-back—a “culmination event” that will forever change the MCU and bring to a close the storyline that has permeated through all prior films, so Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be part of a “new” MCU that could look quite different. As a sequel that makes it one of the few familiar faces in what could be a lineup of new and unique superhero movies as folks like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans reach the end of their contracts.
So yeah, while we know almost nothing about the future slate of Marvel movies beyond the already-announced sequels, fans can rest assured that if things are markedly different, we’ll get some comfort food in the form of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sometime in 2020.