During Disney's Investor Day, it was confirmed James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is scheduled to hit theaters at some point in 2023.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is confirmed to release in 2023. When the original Guardians of the Galaxy movie was released in 2014, it was something of a risk for Marvel Studios. However, James Gunn delivered a heartfelt and humorous summer blockbuster, turning the obscure comics property into a household name overnight. Guardians of the Galaxy became an integral sub-franchise for the MCU, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming out in 2017. That installment was an even bigger hit, paving the way for a third movie.
There was a point in time when Guardians of the Galaxy 3 was going to help kick off the MCU's Phase 4, but those plans changed when Gunn was fired from the project. He was eventually rehired, but he had previously committed to making The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. That meant Guardians of the Galaxy 3 was put on the back-burner, giving Gunn time to complete his DC film. The Guardians were present in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but it's been a longer wait than expected for their next standalone outing. But now, audiences know when the film will come out.
At Disney's Investor Day, it was announced Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will hit theaters in 2023. This was paired with the confirmation Gunn is directing The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which premieres on Disney+ in 2022.
Marvel already has a full slate of movies coming out over the next couple of years, beginning with Black Widow in May 2021. The studio's had to reshuffle their Phase 4 lineup quite a bit, most recently due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With Marvel release dates taken until the end of 2022, it makes sense to wait until 2023 for Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn's revealed he finished the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 script, and this release window give him plenty of time to work on principal photography and post-production. It's important to remember he's still putting the finishing touches on The Suicide Squad, which doesn't come out until August 2021. Reportedly, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 starts filming in late 2021.
Marvel didn't confirm a Guardians of the Galaxy 3 release date, but a summer premiere makes sense, perhaps the May 2023 window the studio's staked out. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 proved to be a massive hit in that timeframe, so Marvel may be inclined to try to repeat its success. Regardless, it's nice to see Guardians of the Galaxy 3 get back on track - especially after the rocky road the project endured amidst the Gunn fiasco. The sub-franchise is a valuable commodity for Marvel, and it will be exciting to see how Gunn chooses to send the lovable band of misfits off.