Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is likely still at least two years away, but it's definitely coming if that's of any comfort.
It was originally thought that the threequel could be out this year as one of the first movies of Phase 4, but then there was the whole behind-the-scenes drama of the firing and re-hiring of writer/director James Gunn.
That delayed things somewhat, especially as Gunn went off to make The Suicide Squad for DC. However, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige did confirm at Comic-Con 2019 that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will happen.
But when can we expect it and what can we expect from it? Here's everything you need to know about the long-awaited return of Star-Lord, Gamora and co.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 release date: When is Guardians of the Galaxy 3 released?
As of right now, we don't have an actual release date, but Gunn confirmed that the movie won't be in cinemas "until a little after 2021".
Gunn also responded to reports that filming was going to start in February 2021 by saying they were "not & was never accurate", although he has reassured fans that the movie hasn't been delayed from the current Marvel plans.
"I can confirm that the plans for when we're filming #GotGVol3 & when it's being released have not changed at all over the past year & a half or so. Any rumors otherwise are false," he said in August 2020.
So, where does that leave Guardians of the Galaxy 3? Disney currently has a few release date slots for 'untitled Marvel' movies: October 7, 2022, February 17, 2023, May 5, 2023, July 28, 2023 or November 3, 2023.
Our best guess is probably the July 28, 2023 slot to fit with the other two movies' summer releases, but right now, it all depends on when filming begins.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 cast: Who's back in Guardians of the Galaxy 3?
In the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, a lot has changed for the Guardians. In particular, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is also alive again in the MCU, only it's a Gamora from a past timeline in 2014, meaning she doesn't have the history with the Guardians.
Saldana has said she'd want to "explore a bad Gamora" in the third Guardians movie, and we'd totally be up for that.
Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are all back and in one piece after the snap, rejoining Rocket (with the voice of Bradley Cooper and the motion capture talents of Sean Gunn) and Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Taking to Instagram, as Gunn is wont to do, the director revealed that he had the most fun writing Nebula and Rocket's arcs, and still has plenty of material to work with in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.
He added: "But I also think we have great things coming up for the others, like Quill and Mantis. All of their arcs take place over the three films as opposed to in only the individual movies."
It seems that the Guardians picked up a new team member too in the form of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), so we can expect him to be along for the ride in the third movie.
But Hemsworth is also appearing in Thor: Love and Thunder; whether this is before his adventures with the Guardians remains to be seen.
Regardless, Guardians star Vin Diesel has confirmed that some of their cast will also appear in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Sean Gunn will apparently be back as Kraglin, Yondu's one-time Ravager pal. He wasn't in Infinity War but "has important stuff to do", we're told.
Gunn said that he wants Elizabeth Debicki to reprise her role as the golden-skinned high priestess of the Sovereign, Ayesha. She'll have a significant part to play, as we will see in a bit.
Debicki certainly seems up for a return too, so we can expect to see her back. "I would love, even if I just sort of scooch on for a second. I mean, I would love to come back," she said.
Gunn also wanted Sylvester Stallone's Stakar to come back at some point in the MCU's future, alongside his fellow Ravagers – Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus) and Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum) in the MCU's future.
Could we be seeing Marvel Comics characters Moondragon, High Evolutionary and Lady Lylla in the threequel as well? It's only rumours for now.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 plot: What will Guardians of the Galaxy 3 be about?
Gunn said that the film will serve as the "epic conclusion" to the story he began in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy – and dispelled any rumours (or claims from other folks at Marvel) that the film might be set before Infinity War.
He said that the movie will bring to an end the current "iteration" of the team, adding: "Who knows who will take up the mantle after that?"
In June 2020 though, Gunn wasn't quite as confident that this was the end: "It's probably my last one, and probably the last with the current team. But you never know!"
We've also managed to piece together the fact that the film will be set at least four years after the events of Guardians 2, as well as after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.
After Endgame, it looks like the third movie will revolve around the search for Gamora as she disappeared after the big battle with Thanos.
Gunn has noted that if he didn't get to do the third movie, he would have been most disappointed at not finishing Rocket's arc, so expect more from Rocket in the third movie, maybe even his full backstory.
Getting back to Ayesha as promised, you will probably remember that one of the five(!) mid-credits scenes saw the villain gazing at a cocoon which she said contained "Adam".
That Adam is Adam Warlock, a long-standing Marvel cosmic hero with connections to Ayesha (she is his female counterpart in the comics). Gunn said that he was originally intended to feature in Guardians 2, and will instead appear in a later film.
The expectation is that Ayesha will be setting him on the tracks of her enemies, the Guardians, although Gunn later played down that rumour. Warlock also has a connection to the Infinity Gems ('Infinity Stones' in the MCU), but didn't show up in Infinity War or Endgame.
In terms of other characters, don't be holding out for one classic Guardians member, the time-travelling Vance Astro.
And somewhere in Guardians future we've been promised the "horrible" origin of Rocket Raccoon. Gunn had been narrowing down the ever-important playlist for Guardians 3, although at 181 he has a way to go yet...
Gunn had promised endings and new beginnings for Guardians 3 which was originally meant to set up the future of the MCU, but with the delays, perhaps that's not the case anymore.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 trailer: Any Guardians of the Galaxy 3 footage yet?
It's not even close to filming, let alone started filming, so we'll be waiting a while for footage from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, unfortunately.
If our release date guess is accurate, then maybe Comic-Con 2022 will be where the first trailer is debuted, but we hope we don't have to wait that long.
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