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Guardians 3: The trailers, the cast, the plot, the release dates, and more for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

What we know about the finale to the Marvel Studios' cosmic trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 poster
Image credit: Marvel Studios

It's time - Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now in theaters. The end of the Guardians trilogy (and that of James Gunn in the MCU), this film closes the saga of Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax, and the rest of the intergalactic ne'er-do-wells with a sideline in perpetually saving us all from total destruction on a cosmic scale.

The final installment in James Gunn’s trilogy (well, trilogy-and-a-bit, with the addition of the Holiday Special on Disney+), Vol. 3 promises to bring the long-running story of the team to a satisfying end after nine years, as well as opening up space just a little bit wider for future Marvel stories to explore. It's a film that Popverse's own Tiffany Babb enjoyed a lot, calling it "the best superhero movie of the past six years" - which is high praise indeed.

But what is Guardians Vol. 3 actually about? We're glad you asked. Here’s everything you need to know about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 before you watch it. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets.

... are you here to skip to the end and find out what happened in the movie? If you're that type, read our guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ending.

Where are the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailers?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 still
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The first Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer debuted back in July 2022, but you had to be at Marvel Studios' Hall H panel during Comic-Con International: San Diego 2022 to see it. Marvel Studios and Gunn held back from releasing it to the public, saying at the time they weren't happy with the look of the special effects and that it needed more work.

But on December 1, they released it. Check it out:

And like clockwork, during Super BowL LVII Marvel revealed a second major Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer - with an infant Rocket, a nefarious High Evolutionary, and more.

Who is in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 still
Image credit: Marvel Studios

If you’ve ever seen a Guardians of the Galaxy movie in the past, congratulations: your favorite character is almost certainly going to be back in Vol. 3. The entire team returns for the close of the trilogy, which means that Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillen, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper are re-teaming as the eponymous Guardians, alongside Sean Gunn, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone, and Michael Rosenbaum, all of whom are reprising their roles from earlier movies in the series.

They’ll be joined by Will Poulter (playing Adam Warlock), Maria Bakalova (as Cosmo the Space dog), and Peacemaker’s Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary. It’s a pretty packed cast list.

On April 25, James Gunn announced on twitter that Linda Cardellini, Mikaela Hoover, and Asim Chaudhry would be playing Rocket's childhood friends Lylla, Floor, and Teefs, respectively.

We'd tell you more, but that'd go into spoiler territory - and we keep that over here in our guide to the Guardians 3 ending.

What is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 all about?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 still
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Bad news for those sensitive about cruelty to animals: as it seems Vol. 3 is at least in part about Rocket getting sick as his body begins to reject the genetic modification that made him the surly little beast that fans know and love. (You’re really not ready to watch a CGI raccoon crying. Really.) That storyline will bring in the High Evolutionary, a scientist who’s no stranger to genetically modifying animals for his own purposes… and, in fact, might have had something to do with Rocket’s origin in the first place.

There’s more going on than just that, though; Adam Warlock has been created by the Sovereign people to seek revenge on the Guardians for their actions in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which really has the potential to cause trouble for the team… and, as if that isn’t enough, Star-Lord still can’t get over losing Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War… something that is even more difficult considering that an alternate timeline Gamora is still running around as the new leader of the Ravagers. Let’s just say that there’s a lot to get through, and — given that it’s the last movie in the series — a not-zero percent chance that not everyone will make it through the movie in one piece. Or even multiple pieces.

Marvel's official synopsis for the movie is this: "In Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 our beloved band of misfits are looking a bit different these days. Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them."

Really: they’d better not kill off Rocket.

Who is creating Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 still
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Unusually for a Marvel trilogy, the Guardians movies have been pretty consistent in terms of creative talent throughout their run: James Gunn is back as writer and director for Vol. 3, which are the same duties that he served on the first two movies as well as the Holiday Special — although, it should always be remembered, Nicole Perlman did a lot of early lifting as the initial writer of the first movie back in 2014 before Gunn stepped on board the project. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige produced all three movies, and cinematographer Henry Braham and editors Fred Raskin and Craig Wood are also returning for their third outings with the series.

There is one noticeable personnel change, though: John Murphy is handling the movie’s score, replacing Tyler Bates, who scored the first two movies in the series. (Murphy, who worked with Gunn on DC’s The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, also scored the GOTG Holiday Special.)

What do I have to watch in order to prepare for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

As the concluding film of a trilogy, it goes without saying that both 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are required viewing before settling into Vol. 3. That’s not all, though; after those two, it’s important to check out both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, in which the Guardians play a significant role — to the point where the line-up of the team changes in ways both big and small. The line-up changes, you ask? Why, yes, because Thor joins the team… which means you probably want to watch Thor: Love and Thunder (or, at least the opening of it), before finally tuning into the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special to really get in the mood. That last one, especially, is essential, as it sets up the status quo of the characters headed into the third movie. Think of it as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.5 if you’re not into seasonal cheer.

Will Gamora be in GOTG 3?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

As seen in the trailers, yes, Zoe Saldana is back as Gamora in the new movie... although she's not exactly the same Gamora as earlier movies, thanks to that Gamora's death in Avengers: Infinity War. This Gamora is, technically, a younger version of that character who has traveled through time to arrive here, as seen in Avengers: Endgame. As such, she's not got the same emotional connection to the rest of the team, which I'm sure isn't going to be a plot point at all in the movie...

Is Adam Warlock good or bad?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Just what Adam Warlock is going to be is an open question ahead of the movie's release. Certainly, he was created to be a thorn in the Guardians' collective side, but James Gunn has suggested that he's got a moral journey ahead of him in the movie, even going so far as to say that the character will provide an "interesting juxtaposition with where we've been so far." So... bad guy to good guy in one movie, perhaps...?

We'd tell you more, but that'd go into spoiler territory - and we keep that over here in our guide to the Guardians 3 ending.

Is Guardians 3 Phase 5?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is officially part of Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it's the second movie in Phase Five, following Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Yes, this does mean there might be some Kang-related moments or Easter Eggs to pay attention to. We're definitely in the build-up to the Kang Dynasty, after all...

Will there be a Vol. 4 of Guardians of the Galaxy?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Officially, Marvel Studios hasn't said that there won't be a fourth installment on the series, but almost everyone involved in the movies, most clearly James Gunn and Dave Bautista, have spoken about it being the final installment. Notably, Marvel has started leaning into this idea with the final marketing push for the movie, describing it as the "final tour" for the team.

Of course, Marvel is relaunching the Avengers franchise with 2025's Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, so there's nothing to say that we might not eventually see a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4 with an all-new team at some point in time. Maybe some heroes from the 30th century, for example...

Is Guardians of the Galaxy 3 on Disney+?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has yet to hit theaters, making a Disney+ release some distance in the future. Based on the May 2023 theatrical release, expect it to show up on the streaming service in late summer 2023 at some point.

What is on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 soundtrack?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

As with all Guardians movies to date, GOTG Vol. 3 has a pretty killer soundtrack. Unlike the earlier movies, however, this one isn't limited to one particular time period or cut-off date for its inspiration, leading to the surprise inclusion of bands like The The, The Flaming Lips, and Florence + The Machine. Here's the full track listing for the soundtrack:

  • “Creep” (Acoustic Version) – Radiohead
  • “Crazy On You” – Heart
  • “Since You Been Gone” – Rainbow
  • “In the Meantime” – Spacehog
  • “Reasons” – Earth, Wind and Fire
  • “Do You Realize??” – The Flaming Lips
  • “We Care a Lot” – Faith No More
  • “Koinu no Carnival” (From “Minute Waltz”) – EHAMIC
  • “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” – Alice Cooper
  • “San Francisco” – The Mowglis
  • “Poor Girl” – X
  • “This Is the Day” – The The
  • “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” – Beastie Boys
  • “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence + The Machine
  • “Badlands” – Bruce Springsteen
  • “I Will Dare” – The Replacements
  • “Come and Get Your Love” – Redbone

Will there be a post-credit scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

According to director James Gunn in a comment on an Instagram post, the answer is yes... kind of. "There is not a post credit scene. There are two," he wrote in late April, ahead of the movie's release.

Popverse can confirm there is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene, so stay frosty in those theater chairs... and maybe splurge for the recliner?

We'd tell you more, but that'd go into spoiler territory - and we keep that over here in our guide to the Guardians 3 ending.

When is the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The movie is scheduled for a May 5, 2023 release. On March 17, 2023, it was announced that Guardians Vol. 3 will also get a China release on May 5, 2023.

For those of us with a long memory, you'll remember that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was originally announced to debut on May 1, 2020, but was delayed due to Walt Disney Studios firing Gunn for a period due to derogatory statements Gunn had made on Twitter years prior to his involvement with Marvel. Gunn had apologized for the comments and seemed remorseful, and Disney re-hired Gunn eight months later. In those eight months however, Gunn had signed with Warner Bros. for The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, leading to his schedule to be booked up, necessatating serious delays to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.


Who can forget when the High Evolutionary wandered into Hall H at Comic-Con International: San Diego earlier this year…?

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Graeme McMillan

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Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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