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Where do the Guardians of the Galaxy go next?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the final film in the trilogy, confirmed by James Gunn, so .. where do the Guardians of the Galaxy go from here?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review

(L-R): Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

James Gunn’s MCU swansong is making waves across the globe, whether that is in box-office, critical/fan reception. It is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most successful outing in a perhaps ever since Spider-Man: No Way Home and it may even become more beloved and successful that that.

James Gunn has traced the journey of the galaxy’s most endearing misfits ever since 2014 dating back to Vol. 1. And as he leaves the MCU to prepare for a brand-new adventure overseeing a whole new universe of entirely different superheroes with the upcoming DCU, so must we as fans bid farewell to the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them.

After saving Rocket, and countless other victims of the High Evolutionary, finding everyone a home in Knowhere, we see the Guardians saying goodbye: Peter Quill decides to confront his past and return of his grandfather back on Earth, Gamora comes to terms with being a part of the Ravagers, Drax embraces what he’s being running away from since losing his family and becomes a father to all the orphaned children, Nebula chooses to become a protector over the people of Knowhere so they can never live a life of abuse such as she did at the hands of Thanos, and Mantis finally gets to choose for herself what she wants to do besides being a member of the team or a slave at the hands of a maniacal ruler.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review

(L-R): Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Dave Bautista as Drax, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

To somewhat ease the heartbreak of this disbanding, we’re finally brought into the family and get to understand the words of Groot for the first time, as the last note we leave on, on the final time we see our Guardians together, is: “I love you guys.”.

When we next see the Guardians, or at least A team of Guardians, is in the mid-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. As the Zune has been passed down from Peter to the now-captain of the new team: Rocket.

Who is joined by Cosmo, Kraglin, Phyla, Adam Warlock and a gigantic Groot (that has been dubbed by the fandom Goliath-Groot) in the heat of a mission, going into action with the sound of Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love, the first song heard by Peter Quill as the original “Guardians of the Galaxy” began, symbolically passing the Awesome Mix legacy to a new generation.

Every Guardians of the Galaxy MCU Appearance Ranked

So we have to ask: What’s next for our Guardians?

The easy answer is Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, being the big phase-closing crossovers of the MCU that will supposedly bring the entire MCU together, as Infinity War and Endgame did before. It wouldn’t be shocking if that is the next time we see this team before sending them off on their next adventure, much like we had the big climax of the MCU between Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.

It’s tough to say if we do see the Guardians anytime after that as the man who brought them to us, James Gunn is not in the MCU anymore, and he won’t be for quite a long time. Gunn has said himself he hopes someone else carries the torch for him, finding their own unique voice, style and identity at giving life to this team.

And knowing Kevin Feige, he wouldn’t really shine such a hopeful light on the future of the galaxy’s ragtag family if he did not plan on doing anything with them. Obviously, plans are one thing, actually executing on those plans is another, but it’s the MCU’s modus-operandi as it has always been in the comics before it.

It wouldn’t be shocking to see them later this year in The Marvels either, another cosmic-centric entry in the MCU, or even next month’s Secret Invasion even if only in a small role, as the storyline heavily deals with Skrulls, and at least in the comics the Kree as well, two species the Guardians are very familiar with, and an invasion on planet Earth, that now is the home of their former captain Star-Lord, on top of all the other friends Rocket and Nebula made there during the 5 years of the Blip, it would make sense for the Guardians to feel compelled to defend it and the people they care for.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 adam warlock

(L-R): Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2022 MARVEL.

And given their powerful new members with Adam Warlock and Phyla, who is clearly donning the powers of Quasar, why not tell the story of the Korvac Saga? One of the best and most acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy stories in the comics, Korvac himself is a sort of misfit and victim of abuse by a corrupt system, immediately connecting them to the thematic through-line of all the Guardians of the Galaxy movies thus far, where we follow people in pain attempting to escape their past.

The storyline even made its way to the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series, and on top of that: it’s a story that in great part connects to the powers of Quasar and the character of Phyla in specific, who at least for now, is very much a mystery in the MCU. So maybe, why not make Korvac her older brother, create a personal connection between Guardians and the villain, and perhaps Korvac was forgotten in the exploding ship because he was hidden away, he was a special experiment by the High Evolutionary and an intended improvement on Adam Warlock.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 end credit explained

(L-R): Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2022 MARVEL.

More to the point that we may see them this year, the final post-credits scene where we see Peter Quill enjoying some cereal with his grandfather, is followed by the text: THE LEGENDARY STAR-LORD WILL RETURN. Which certainly is much more concrete confirmation that we will see Chris Pratt reprising the role somewhat soon. The usual suspects for when we might see him again are once more Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, but Secret Invasion does prove more viable to be when Starlord shows up next, depending on when it takes place in the MCU timeline.

Peter may now be compelled to join the Avengers properly; Earth is his home and he certainly would be one to call himself Earth’s Mightiest Hero. But could it be that we get a solo Star-Lord show on Disney+, or a solo Star-Lord movie?

The Legendary Star-Lord does feel like a self-appointed moniker, but it was also the title of comic book run where Star-Lord got into a surprising relationship with the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde, not that the relationship was particularly well-received or even organic to begin with but… The X-Men ARE coming sooner rather than later, the MCU has already begun slowly introducing subtle (and not so subtle) motifs, ideas and themes intrinsically connected to the X-Men, and given that Peter Quill has now lost the love of his life in Gamora, he still must get a happy ending as the 80s style hero that does get the girl… right?

It’s tough to say at this point when and where we will see them next, but one thing Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige have made sure to tell us, without actually telling us is that some way, somehow, across space and maybe even the multiverse, the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will return!

NEXT: Yes, That Was Phyla-Vell In The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Mid Credit Scene

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 poster

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. © 2023 MARVEL.

About Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

In Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” our beloved band of misfits are settling into life on Knowhere. But it isn’t long before their lives are upended by the echoes of Rocket’s turbulent past.

Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him on a dangerous mission to save Rocket’s life—a mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.

The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter and Maria Bakalova.

James Gunn is the director and also wrote the screenplay. Kevin Feige produces with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nikolas Korda, Sara Smith and Simon Hatt serving as executive producers.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is in theaters now.