Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has had a rockier-than-expected journey to the big screen, but Marvel fans can be reassured that it's definitely happening and it's got a release date.
Sure, that release date is a little under two years away (May 2023), yet after the whole behind-the-scenes drama of the firing and re-hiring of writer/director James Gunn, at least it's actually confirmed to be part of Phase 4 of the MCU.
Gunn has already been hyping up the release of the threequel by saying that it is "huge" in terms of the worlds that will be seen, while he has also confirmed that the soundtrack is done and the script has been finished. Everything is in place for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 to bring an epic conclusion to the trilogy, so here's everything you need to know.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 release date: When is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 released?
It was finally confirmed by Marvel that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will be released on May 5, 2023, so you can now officially start your countdown.
Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista have both said that filming is set to start in November for around six months in Atlanta. The shoot will also include filming for the upcoming Holiday Special too, according to Gunn.
"I'm going to shoot that at the same time as Guardians 3. So we're using some of the same sets. I think it's going to be a good holiday special," he confirmed.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is set to air on Disney+ in December 2022 and will be set between Thor: Love and Thunder, which will feature all of the Guardians, and the third movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 cast: Who's back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3?
We'll see Chris Pratt return as Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Vin Diesel as Groot and Pom Klementieff as Mantis. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, we'll also be seeing Zoe Saldana as Gamora again.
We thought Gamora had been killed off in Avengers: Infinity War, but Endgame introduced a Gamora from a past timeline in 2014, who was brought forward to 2023 and went missing after Tony Stark saved the day. Saldana has said she'd want to "explore a bad Gamora" in the third Guardians movie, and we'd totally be up for that.
We'll be seeing the Guardians back on screen before the third movie, as they're popping up on Thor: Love and Thunder. It's unclear if this means we'll also be seeing Chris Hemsworth as Thor in the third Guardians movie, though.
Gunn has confirmed that Guardians 3 takes place after the new Thor movie, so that might rule out a Thor crossover.
Sean Gunn will apparently be back as Kraglin, Yondu's one-time Ravager pal, and Elizabeth Debicki could also return as Ayesha, with the star up for a return. "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.
One person we definitely won't be seeing (unless it's in flashbacks) is Michael Rooker as Yondu, who sacrificed himself to save Star-Lord in the second movie.
"As I've said before, Yondu is dead and will stay dead as long as I'm involved with the Guardians," Gunn tweeted. "His death means something to people and I'm not about to diminish that."
As for new faces, during The Suicide Squad Twitter watch party, Gunn revealed that screentests have begun as of August 2021, which means more confirmations of additional cast members are likely to follow (via CBR).
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 plot: What will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 be about?
Specific plot details for the third movie are under wraps for now, but Gunn has promised that it'll serve as the "epic conclusion" to the story he began in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy.
The film is set to bring an end to this current version of the team on screen, with Bautista ruling out a future movie as Drax. "I mean, as far as my obligations, I've got Guardians 3, and that's probably going to be the end of Drax," he told Digital Spy.
Bautista added that another actor could well play Drax instead in future outings, but for Gunn, Bautista is Drax and nobody else can be.
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.
He's also been teasing that the third movie is "pretty heavy actually", adding: "It's a heavier story, so it's an emotional process to go through".
It's something that Karen Gillan backed up as she said that when she read the script with Pom Klementieff, there were "full tears". "It's brilliant and it's emotional and it's funny and it's all of those things that you want," she enthused.
Let's hope the tears aren't because some of our favourite Guardians are about to die...
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 trailer: Any Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 footage yet?
Filming is expected to begin in November, but that means we'll be waiting a while for footage from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, unfortunately.
With the release date in place then maybe Comic-Con 2022 will be where the first trailer is debuted, but we hope we don't have to wait that long.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is set for release on May 5, 2023.