James Gunn Says ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Will Make Sense Without ‘Avengers 4’

It has been said that the events of Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled fourth Avengers film will have a massive impact on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But director James Gunn says the impact won’t be so large that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 won’t make sense if you haven’t seen those two films.

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters in 2018, and the fourth film will follow in 2019. Both of those movies will feature the Guardians of the Galaxy, who will help in the battle against Thanos. Then, in 2020, the Guardians will return to their own franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Although the Avengers movies will be significant, James Gunn said during a Facebook Q&A session today that he’s still making sure you can watch the Guardians trilogy as its own complete story.

Responding to a comment from a Facebook user who suggested that everything changes in the third and Avengers, Gunn said, “I mean, everything doesn’t…Somebody said everything changes after the Infinity War, and it’s not – you can still watch the three Guardians movies as a whole and they’ll still basically make sense, with maybe a couple of little elements you’re going to have to be caught up on.”

The team assembles in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.'

The team assembles in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. | Marvel Studios


This seems to suggest that none of the Guardians will die in Avengers: Infinity War or the fourth Avengers movie. After all, one of the main characters of the Guardians trilogy being killed isn’t exactly a “little element.” Gunn is most likely referring to the death of Thanos, as Marvel’s villain will likely be killed by the end of the fourth Avengers. Since Nebula is Thanos’ adopted daughter, and since Thanos killed Drax’s family, his death will be a big moment in the lives of these characters. At the same time, someone who only cares about the Guardians movies could theoretically just learn that Thanos died in Avengers and they’d be fine to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

James Gunn would know this, as he also said in this Facebook Q&A that he is intimately involved in these Avengers movies.

“It’s very, very big,” Gunn said when asked how big his involvement in the new Avengers movies is. “So, everything that the Guardians does, I deal with…I’ve known what’s going on in the story for a long time.”

From previous interviews, it sounds like James Gunn is mainly involved in the Avengers movies in order to make sure the characters behave the way that they should. After all, Avengers: Infinity War will be the first time we see these characters saying or doing anything that wasn’t written by James Gunn himself (or by Nicole Perlman, the co-writer on the first movie).

“I’ve been working hard with the Russo brothers, with the Marvel guys, with Kevin Feige, to make sure that any of the characters that I’m involved with, that are in that movie are well taken care of and are as funny as they should be, and is are as honest and truthful as they should be,” Gunn said. “So I’ve been dealing with them all the time. I’ve been talking to the actors on set every single day as we go through production, and it’s been a great experience so far.”

Rocket Raccoon looking to the left of the frame

Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Marvel

It also sounds like the two upcoming Avengers movies do change the Marvel Cinematic Universe fairly significantly, but the changes probably affect the Earth storylines more than the Guardians storylines. In fact, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said that the fourth Avengers film is the conclusion of a 22-movie arc and that a new story will commence after that, with the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel beginning another era for the series.

“So much happens in [the 3rd and 4th Avengers movies], as you can imagine, and so much is affected by it that we felt what better person to hold your hand and lead you into the next incarnation of the MCU, in a grounded, realistic manner, than Peter Parker?” Feige told io9. “So, coming out two months after Untitled Avengers, [that’s what] much of what the next Spider-Man film will be about.”

James Gunn has said that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the end of a trilogy, and it will be the last movie for this version of the Guardians team. However, it will help set up a whole series of Marvel superhero films.

“One of the things that I’m doing with creating Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will take place after the next two Avengers movies, will help set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies,” Gunn said in August. “It’s going to really expand the cosmic universe. We’re going to be setting up new characters and it will be the last movie of this version of Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is expected to be released in 2020.