It’s been five years since the Guardians of the Galaxy headlined their own Marvel Studios movie, and a lot has happened since then! Members have changed, people have died, and Thanos was defeated. According to franchise director/co-writer James Gunn, the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the last time we’ll see this team in the MCU.
"The movie is incredibly big, it's so so so big and dark and different than what people might be expecting it to be," Gunn told Deadline’s Hero Nation Podcast. "This is the end for us, this is the last time people will see this team of Guardians."
But fret not - there's a bit more adventuring before the end, between the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder movie and this winter's Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have became fan favorites thanks to Gunn’s lead, combining both serious aspects and humor seamlessly. The movies even inspired two very popular Disney Park rides! The Guardians have been through a lot – as has the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, so let’s catch up with our favorite Guardians to see what’s going on with them ahead of their final voyages.
Who is in the Guardians of the Galaxy now?
Currently, the team is comprised of Starlord, Drax, Mantis, Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Thor. Thor joined the team at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but has worked with them since Avengers: Infinity War after the Guardians saved Thor as he was floating aimlessly in outer space.
But arguably the heart of the team, Gamora, is no longer with the Guardians; she was killed by her father Thanos during Avengers: Infinity War so he could retrieve the Soul Stone for the Infinity Gauntlet. A variant Gamora did appear during the final fight scene of Avengers: Endgame, but she was quickly revelanted to be a version of the green-skinned space pirate who never met, or even joined the Guardians - instead showing animosity and hostility to these self-admitted group of "jackasses."
And while not a full member, the ravager Kraglin was last seen with the Guardians after his band of pirates turned on Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We didn't see him in the team's subsequent appearances in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, so it's not clear where he landed. The whereabouts of the rest of the Ravagers are even more nebulous, but that's something we hope is addressed soon.
What are the Guardians of the Galaxy up to now?
The last time we saw the Guardians was in Avengers: Endgame, when the team joined with the rest of the Avengers to take down Thanos once and for all. After the battle, the Guardians, now with Thor, leave Earth to defend the galaxy. While little is known on what’s been happening with the team overall, we will get an update in Thor: Love and Thunder.
What’s ahead for the Guardians of the Galaxy?
With Thor: Love and Thunder hitting theaters on July 8, we’ll finally see our favorite space team on the screen once again. Yet it will be for only a few brief moments, as we already know Thor will be leaving the team to find his own way.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will premiere on Disney+ in December of 2022 - expect 40 minutes of holiday zaniness, and perhaps a trip to Groot's homeworld of PLanet X.
Following this, the finale of this team will land May 5, 2023 with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
We could possibly get unanswered questions we have from previous movies, such as what will happen between Gamora and Starlord. We may also get a chance to see Stakar Ogord, Ravager leader, get a chance to shine. In the comics he is known as Starhawk, an antihero from the Earth-691 timeline. It is unclear if this will be explored in the third installment.
How have things changed since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?
The biggest change is the loss of Gamora. An alternate timeline version of Gamora does appear at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but she is clearly hostile towards Starlord. While we don’t know what will become of this Gamora, she will be in the third movie installment. In an wasn’t opposed to exploring a darker Gamora;
"There's a part of me that wants her to go back, find her way back to the Guardians, but there's also a part of me that wants to explore a bad Gamora," Gamora actor Zoe Saldana said during an ACE Comic-Con Seattle panel in 2019. "I've never seen that and she's, you know, she's considered the most lethal assassin, the most lethal woman in the galaxy, so I would want to see what that wrath looks like also because it would just give me layers to sort of work on.”
Yondu died saving Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, marking the biggest change for Starlord and Kraglin. Despite being disowned by the Ravagers prior to the events of the original Guardians of the Galaxy film, the larger group of pirates appeared and took part in a proper send-off for their fallen comrade during Yondu's funeral. During a post credit scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we see Kraglin wearing Yondu’s fin and practicing with his telekentic arrow.
Stakar Ogord is also seen reuniting with other Ravager leaders. These leaders include Charlie-27, Martinex, Aleta, Krugarr, and Mainframe. Martinex, Charlie-27, and Aleta were all founding members of the original Guardians of the Galaxy team in comics (alongside Yondu) back in the late '60s. Of special note is Krugarr; in comics, he is a sorcerer - in fact, he is the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth-691. While it is unclear what these characters are doing together, chances are good we will see them in the third installment.
After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor also joined the team. It’s clear Starlord is lukewarm with Thor, but Rocket Raccoon openly adores the Asgardian god. Groot is also a teenager now, and with that comes with all the issues a normal teenager would have.
What unfinished business is left over from Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?
Ayesha, the gold-skinned high priestess from the Sovereign race, is out to get the Guardians. After being embarrassed and defeated by the Guardians in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the vengeful priestess is seen at the gestation pod. Within the pod is a new member of their race, whom she refers to as Adam – better known to comics fans as Adam Warlock.
Warlock is believed to be more beautiful and powerful than the Sovereign before him, and he was created by Ayesha with the intent to destroy the Guardians. In the comics, Adam Warlock was created by the Enclave, a group of scientists with their own private army. At one point of his publicated history, Warlock was even a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. We could possibly see him begin as a foe, and end a hero.
With Thanos gone, Gamora’s plans are currently unknown, but she could very well be going after her sister, Nebula. Prior to this Nebula wasn’t always Gamora’s friend, and while Gamora always showed more kindness to her sister, this alternate Gamora may not be as kind. Starlord is still in love with her, and we could see him trying to rekindle a lost love with a Gamora variant.
As we said earlier, Stakar reunited with his old Ravager team. While we don’t know what role they will play in the third installment, it could be possible that they become the next team of Guardians. After all, James Gunn did say this would be the last time we see the original cinematic team.
Taneleer Tivan, the collector from the first movie, might also have some unfinished business with the Guardians after Thanos destroyed his collection. Some fans are also hoping for another glimpse of Howard the Duck, who appeared in a post credit scene during the first movie.
With all of this going on, the final installment of this franchise will no doubt keep fans on the edge of their seats. While we wait for more information and the first trailer, we can have fun speculating as to what’s to come! For now, fans will finally have the chance to see the Guardians again on the big screen in Thor: Love and Thunder, only in theaters July 8th.
Interested in reading Thor comics, but don't know where to start? Check out Popverse's guide to the 10 most essential Thor comics of all time.