Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting underway, and the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie is helping to kick off the next chapter of storytelling. The first two Guardians films were hugely popular and dominated at the box office, so it’s not surprising that Marvel/Disney wanted another sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy was released in theaters in 2014 and brought to life the superhero team of the same name from Marvel Comics. The sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, came out three years later with the same ensemble cast, as well as some new characters.
A second trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was released during the 2023 Super Bowl. From the footage we’ve seen so far, this is going to be one action-packed and emotional end to the Guardians trilogy. From the release date to the cast, HollywoodLife has rounded up everything we know so far about the upcoming film below.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is scheduled to be released in theaters on May 5, 2023. The film’s initial release date was set for May 1, 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic obviously changed that.
What’s Know About the Story
The first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was released in December 2022 at CCXP23 in São Paolo. The footage showed the Guardians, including Gamora, facing off against new enemies, including Adam Warlock.
The second trailer dropped during the 2023 Super Bowl. The newest footage dived deeper into Rocket’s origin story and his connection to the High Evolutionary. “He didn’t want to make things perfect. He just hated things the way they are,” Rocket said about the evil scientist.
“We were always searching for a family until we found each other,” Peter says. “Are you ready for one last ride?” The Guardians live and fight as one.
The events of the third film are expected to take place after Avengers: Endgame, when the Guardians teamed up with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin).
Director James Gunn has confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will take place after Thor: Love & Thunder. In July 2021, he described the script for the third film as being “pretty heavy actually” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a heavier story, so it’s an emotional process to go through,” James said.
James told EW in May 2023 that a big goal for the third film was to finally showcase Rocket’s origin story. “It’s almost like the first two movies are just an excuse so that I could tell Vol. 3,” he said.
Chris told EW that James created a “beautiful moment” in the third film between Mantis and the abilisks. “He’s lifted some techniques for action from some Korean filmmakers. He’s really a student of film and comic books,” Chris said about the famous director. “He’s watched everything, and he’s read everything. It’s really his world, and that’s what makes him extra special. He’s the real deal.”
‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ Cast & Crew
Your favorite Guardians of the Galaxy stars will be back for the third film. That includes Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis. All six of those characters also appeared in Thor: Love & Thunder. Zoe Saldana is also returning as Gamora, who was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War but returned as a younger version of herself who traveled to the present in Avengers: Endgame.
Elizabeth Debicki is back as Ayesha, the golden High Priestess and leader of the Sovereign people. Sylvester Stallone returns as Stakar Ogord, a high-ranking Ravager. Sean Gunn, brother of director James Gunn, will reprise his role as Kraglin Obfonteri, second-in-command to the Ravagers. Will Poulter will star as the main villain Adam Warlock, an artificial being created by the Sovereign to destroy the Guardians.
Chukwudi Iwuji plays the High Evolutionary, Rocket’s creator who is not a good person. “Shady doesn’t touch it. He is narcissistic, sociopathic, but very charming. I couldn’t have thought of a better character that uses [a] skill set better to join the MCU with,” he told Collider. “Because there’s something very Shakespearean about him, there’s something very emotionally dark about him, and he’s a lot of fun on top of all that.”
Maria Bakalova joins the MCU as Cosmo the Spacedog, a canine character from the Marvel comics. “Yes, I was in mo-cap. I think that’s the only thing I can share so far… it’s been amazing,” she told Discussing Film. “I’ve been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside being a fan of Dogme 95, the movement created by Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Yes, they are two completely different things, but equally important to me. So having the chance to join the family of Marvel and especially the Guardians of the Galaxy, which was my first love in the MCU, was a dream come true. I love seeing all the people excited for Vol. 3, the fans have been so welcoming and warm. It’s truly precious and reminds you why you’re actually doing this kind of work, to make people feel something. I think that’s the biggest gift.”
Daniela Melchior and Nico Santos are also members of the cast, but their roles have not been disclosed.
James Gunn is directing the third film, as he did with the first two. In July 2018, James was actually fired by Disney after controversial tweets resurfaced on the internet. The entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast issued a statement in support of James, while fans started a petition to reinstate him on the film. Disney eventually reversed their decision and James was hired back to direct the film. He continued working on Guardians of the Galaxy 3 after he completed his work on The Suicide Squad and its spinoff series Peacemaker starring John Cena.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is the main producer of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Henry Braham is the cinematographer, Craig Wood and Fred Raskin are the editors, and John Murphy is composing the film’s score. Tammy Smith is the casting director.
Development on the third Guardians of the Galaxy film began around the time that the first movie was released. Pre-production got complicated due to James Gunn’s firing, but once that was all settled, work on the film officially began in April 2021. Filming commenced on November 8, 2021, at Trilith Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Karen Gillan marked the start of filming by sharing a photo of the full cast with James on Instagram. “Very glad to have the Guardians family back together with our fearless leader back where he belongs! This movie is gonna blow your socks off so GET. READY. PEOPLE. #gotgvol3 #nebula,” she wrote.
The film was initially going to be shot using Industrial Light & Magic’s StageCraft virtual production technology that’s used on The Mandalorian series, but that didn’t come to fruition since the sets were too big, according to James. Filming also occurred in London, England before officially wrapping on May 6, 2022. “We, the Guardians, sat in a circle,” Pom told EW about the final day of filming. “It felt emotional and deep and beautiful at the same time.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was initially set for release on May 1, 2020 but that shifted to May 5, 2023. It comes out less than three months after Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania, and will be followed by The Marvels, in theaters November 10.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special premiered on Disney+ in December 2022, five months before the third film’s set release date. The TV special was created, written, and directed by James Gunn and was filmed during the time of production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It starred Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff in their roles from the film franchise. John Murphy composed the score.