MCU Fans, Say Goodbye to the Current ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Line-Up

After Iron Man kicked off a string of hits, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was up and running. But only after The Avengers did the MCU start really taking chances. One of the biggest swings was 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, an irreverent sci-fi comedy featuring a tree and a raccoon.

Yet, against all odds, writer/director James Gunn turned the obscure Marvel characters into some of the MCU’s most popular. After a hit sequel and two Avengers movies though, only one more Guardians of the Galaxy remains. And it will likely be the last fans see of the current team.

James Gunn at the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' premiere
James Gunn at the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ premiere | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

James Gunn will return for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

For a while, it seemed like Gunn’s involvement with the franchise had come to the end. After some offensive tweets surfaced, the filmmaker was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In the interim, Warner Bros. brought him on to write and direct The Suicide Squad for the DC Extended Universe.

But after several months, Disney changed its mind and rehired Gunn. The vision he had in mind for the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy was back on track at last. Fans who adored Gunn’s MCU movies would discover what fates await Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Zaldana), and company.

Of particular interest is how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will build on the events of Avengers: Endgame. That epic 2019 release saw Thanos (Josh Brolin) defeated, and most of the Guardians resurrected. But the version of Gamora the team knew remains gone, replaced with her past self.

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The director has confirmed his next film will be the last for the team

Fans have long assumed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would be the final installment in a trilogy. But this isn’t simply speculation. Depending on release dates, Gunn could very well be the first director to finish an MCU trilogy. Yet, the filmmaker himself has confirmed chapter three is the last.

On his Instagram (via Screen Rant), Gunn answered a fan question. And in his response, he said Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will likely be the final movie in the series he directs and the last with the current line-up. Gunn does leave a bit of room for doubt, but this approach still fits the MCU.

After all, nearly every MCU series has tapped out at a trilogy. But since those are mostly centered on a single hero, therein lies room for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4 to happen. If the MCU considers the series more of a team-up, perhaps there is room — like Avengers — for new characters to take over.

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Will any Guardians remain in the MCU after their trilogy is complete?

There is a big difference between the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy movies though. The former is comprised of marquee heroes like Iron Man and Captain America. Meanwhile, the latter features a motley group of characters who have only ever appeared in ensemble MCU movies.

Assuming the current Guardians of the Galaxy team retires from that series, they could always pop up elsewhere. Whether they appear in a group is less likely. But there’s certainly a future after Gunn’s trilogy wherein Gamora, Groot (Vin Diesel), or Nebula (Karen Gillan) could remain a part of the MCU.

None of the Guardians will likely headline his or her own movie anytime soon. Fans would certainly love for some of their favorites — such as Dave Bautista’s Drax — to stick out as ensemble players. After all, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has served that role for a decade.

Perhaps it’s the Guardians’ turn to slip neatly into supporting roles.