With the rave reviews and a stupendous audience response to The Suicide Squad, questions have been posed to director James Gunn about his other superhero movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe cosmic band of misfit superheroes is no stranger to death and destruction. Could there be major characters bidding farewell to the film series and the MCU? That might be the case if James Gunn’s cryptic answers to recent interviews are the basis.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 status
According to a Collider interview promoting DCEU’s The Suicide Squad, a couple of questions were posed to Gunn about other key project for DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. chief rival, Marvel Studios/Disney.
This was, of course, for Guardians of the Galaxy. In addition to the upcoming Holiday Special for Disney+, James Gunn has finished the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for a while now. As the director stated:
It’s basically been finished for years. I keep fiddling with different things and adding things, and figuring out permutations and stuff — I’m in the middle of doing another draft now — but it’s really small stuff in comparison to what it has been. It’s basically been finished since three years ago.
Gunn continued, stating that production has already started on location in Georgia. He also shared what he had to consider for the characters’ development outside the Guardians of the Galaxy films themselves.
For instance, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) died in Avengers: Infinity War in order for Thanos to acquire the Soul Stone. But a younger version was brought in during the events of Avengers: Endgame. This younger version is the one that currently exists in the MCU.
Due to this, the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would have to address that status quo. As Gunn states:
I have to pay attention to things that happen, which they did talk to me about – the stuff with Gamora and things like that. I know that the characters have been through certain things, so I have to deal with that stuff.
And as far as setting up the future of either the Guardians of the Galaxy series or the MCU, Gunn says it’s not really a priority. In the director’s own words:
But for the most part, they never once asked me to put anything in the script for Volume 3 to set up anything in the future. Nor would I do it, frankly, it’s not really my thing.
This is an interesting point. The MCU has made a reputation of setting the next entries of their mega-franchise. But Gunn stating this is not something Marvel specifically asked him to do makes it seem like the exception, rather than the rule.
This is especially the case in light of how Phase Four projects, both in films and in the Marvel Studios Disney+ series like WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Loki, have all had setups for plot threads that will only pay off in other projects.
Death to the Guardians
In another interview promoting The Suicide Squad, Gunn was posed the question of deaths that may occur in Guardians of the Galaxy. The director made comparisons with how The Suicide Squad treats its cast vs. that of the Guardians of the Galaxy:
Guardians of the Galaxy has a family film element to it, so I'm telling that story to a lot of different people. When Rocket says to Drax, 'I'm gonna shoot you in the face and kill you,' we don't as an audience think in two seconds he's going to pull out his gun and we're going to see Drax’s face disappear. [But] in this movie, The Suicide Squad, they say they're going to shoot each other in the face, and they not only say it, they actually do it. We know that can happen at any time.
This comes in light of the body count in The Suicide Squad. Major characters that returned from the previous Ayer directed Suicide Squad film like Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and nearly all the rest of the team members are dispatched, sometimes quite suddenly.
But that comes with the territory for DCEU’s team of mercenaries (after all, it is called Suicide Squad). Should fans expect the same for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
There's a much bigger sense of danger for all of our characters because we know all of them could die [in The Suicide Squad]. Whereas in Guardians, yes, obviously I killed Yondu, I killed the big original Groot, but it isn't the same thing. We know most of them are going to make it out alive. At least for two movies. The last Marvel project, who knows, but I see it as my last Guardians movie.
— ComicBook.com (@ComicBook) August 8, 2021
That last sentence from Gunn may be a hint as to the fate of at least a number of the main cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. With James Gunn indicating that this may be his last movie in the series, it would not be surprising if he also provides a swan song for any of the major characters.
Death becomes them
Even in the comics, characters like Drax and even Star-Lord have met their maker in one way or another (albeit, temporarily). Drax actor Dave Bautista has previously expressed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will also be his last film for the series.
So as it stands, any or all of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel), could be making their exit in the upcoming MCU Phase Four film.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is scheduled for a launch date of May 5, 2023.