Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Filming This Year

Everything that has led up to this point and what we know about the path ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

By Faith McKay and Staff

This article is more than 2 years old

The Guardians

The events of Avengers: Infinity War, the major delays in production, the release of Marvel’s Phase 4 schedule, and many interviews with the actors have all led to much speculation about what we’ll be seeing in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and when we’ll actually be seeing it. 

Production hasn’t yet begun, very few people have read the script, and we are still definitely in the early stages for this long awaited threequel. Still, we actually know quite a bit about this upcoming film and there is a lot that can be guessed at based on the facts we have so far. 

So how has the drama resolved? When will this story finally be out? What can we expect from the plot for the next big release? Read on for everything that has led up to this point and what we know about the path ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Replacing Live Actors With CGI

Guardians 3

The Coronavirus has Hollywood in total chaos with social distancing guidelines making it basically impossible to shoot movies since you can’t have actors standing together. It’s delaying everything and making a huge problem and there’s no end in sight. So Disney is working on a way to make live-action movies without live-action actors. And Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may eventually be their test bed.

According to a proven scooper on WDWMagic Disney is testing out CGI technology similar to what has been used on movies like The Lion King to bring animals to life, only this time they’re using it on humans to phase out the need for actors. Their first test will be on the Guardians of the Galaxy “Cosmic Rewind” rollercoaster ride where the cast of Guardians will appear to be live-action but will actually be CGI characters.

Should that work out, they are also considering using it on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any live-action actors in Guardians, but it could mean they’ll use them a lot less. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has already been significantly delayed anyway (more on that in a minute) so that, plus the fact that they’d be testing it using it on a Guardians project, makes it the ideal place to test out the technology on a big screen scale.

Specifically their scooper says, “The goal is to test the waters of creating computer-animated films indistinguishable from live-action, thus bypassing the need for actors (and actor salaries), as well as the need for proximity.”

When Will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Be Released?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3's leader

When Phrase 4 was announced at Comic-Con, Marvel confirmed their schedule for upcoming movies out to the end of 2021. It initially looked like we would see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 actually in theaters in 2022. Vol. 1 was released in July, 2014 and Vol. 2 in April 2017. That should have meant we will likely be seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 released in either May or July of 2022. But things have changed.

Director James Gunn took to Twitter and dropped this tweet…

He seems to be strongly hinting here that we won’t see Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 until 2023. That means six years between Guardians 2 and its follow-up. There was only a three year gap between Guardians 1 and Guardians 2. It’s going to be a very, very long wait.

guardians of the galaxy vol 3

Marvel released a YouTube video called Marvel Cebrates the Movies where they released the logos and release dates for many of their upcoming movies. We now know that Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3 will officially be released May 5, 2023.

Star Lord’s Crew In Production

Star Lord and Yondu in Guardians

Before the dramatic exit (and later return) of James Gunn as director, it had been expected we would see a 2020 release for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, right at the beginning of Marvel’s Phrase 4.

There had been rumors that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 would start filming February 21, 2021 in Atlanta, GA; but James Gunn himself shot those down with this response on Instagram…

Guardians 3 filming

When James Gunn was fired as director, he took on a directing job for Suicide Squad over at DC. While he is back on board with Marvel, he now has a production schedule at DC that the new Guardians film will have to work with, which has led to even more delays for the film.

As of April, 2021, James Gunn has officially confirmed via Twitter that the movie will begin filming this year. He didn’t get specific about when, but this holds with the new release date.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s Writer And Director

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director

James Gunn will be returning as the writer and director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. His brother, Sean Gunn, who plays Kraglin in the films, has said that he hasn’t yet read the script and that James Gunn will likely take another pass at it before he gets a read. The other actors have only speculated on what we’ll be seeing in the plot and probably do not know themselves. 

The actors involved and many reviewers have long described the Guardians franchise as being a child from James Gunn’s brain. The music, the characters, and the style for this franchise have been very much part of his unique vision. Despite this, there was a moment where it seemed he wouldn’t be returning. 

During the summer of 2018, James Gunn was fired as the director for the film after a series of his old Tweets were reposted and activists organized a backlash. He had already written the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which Disney still planned to use without his direction. However, a few months later, a remorseful Gunn was rehired by the studio and is now back on board for filming the third movie. 

Fortunately, Gunn had written the script before he was fired. He says it hasn’t changed and is ready to go.

Returning Cast Members

Star Lord and Thor

If you’ve seen Infinity War, you know that there were some surprises for the Guardians crew, but Marvel did their work and now the main cast will be returning for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This means we will see Christ Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Vin Diesel voicing Groot, Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, and pom Klementieff as Mantis. 

There has been some talk of Chris Hemsworth possibly showing up as Thor in the third volume for Guardians, but that is looking less likely as the production schedule for Marvel has been released. 

What’s certain is that you won’t see Michael Rooker back as Yondu. During a Q&A on his Instagram page, director James Gunn was asked if we’ll see Yondu return even though he was killed off in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He had this to say: “Not to life no. If a character dies in my films they will likely stay dead. I think stakes are important.”

You might be wondering how that’s possible, since Gamora was killed off and resurrected (sort of) over the course of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. But Gunn had nothing to do with the Avengers movies and his response here suggests that maybe, if he had been in charge, he would have done things differently with Gamora.

But James Gunn was responsible for killing off Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and since Gunn killed him, Gunn’s going to make sure he stays dead.

Dancing Groot

When they start filming it seems the movie’s director may also be playing one of the movie’s characters. Vin Diesel is the voice of Groot but apparently he isn’t the dance moves behind him.

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 director James Gunn recently shared the following video from the set of the last Guardians movie, in which he demonstrates how they used motion-capture to create Baby Groot’s sweet dance moves…

That is director James Gunn dancing his ass off to get Baby Groot’s moves just right. Artists then took those motions and turned them into the adorable dancing little tree you know as Groot.

New Cast For Guardians 3

Sylvester Stallone got a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and now comes word that director James Gunn is targeting the other biggest action movie star of all time for vol. 3. That’s right, he’s courting Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Reportedly Schwarzenegger could end up in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 sharing the screen with Stallone as a member of the same faction we saw Sly hooked up with in Guardians vol. 2.

Howard The Duck

The 1986 Howard the Duck movie is one of the worst films ever produced, but the character is actually beloved in his original form as a comic book character. He also has crossed over with the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, and he even appeared as an Easter Egg in the previous Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Because of that, we’ve been hearing rumors for a long time that he might show up in a major way in the Guardians movies. Now it may finally be happening.

Word is that Howard the Duck will become a full on member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3. Director James Gunn has been adamant about a few things which are pertinent to this: First he has always had a soft spot for the character Howard the Duck. Second, he thinks the 1986 movie is bad. Third he is adamant that Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 is the last Guardians movie.

So if Howard does show up it can’t be as a setup to a Guardians sequel (though I guess it could be a spinoff setup), it can only be to serve as part of the plot of this movie. So if this rumor pans out, expect to see him as a critical plot point and not just a cameo.


Guardians for Lawrence

It’s rumored that Drax’s long lost daughter Moondragon is going to show up in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 and word is that Marvel is eyeing Jennifer Lawrence to play her.

29-year-old Lawrence was the highest paid actress in the world during the years of 2015 and 2016, but she’s taken on a lower profile in recent years. She’s still in demand, she just hasn’t been as present in the public eye. Joining a Marvel movie would be a great way for Jennifer Lawrence to get her name back at the top of everyone’s mind.

Elle Fanning

Also in the running for the role of Moondragon may be Elle Fanning. 21-year-old Fanning’s a bit younger actress than Lawrence, so if they go that direction that probably signifies a specific choice made with the role.

In the Guardians of the Galaxy comics Moondragon is in a same-sex relationship with the character Phyla-Vell. And given that Marvel is eager to amp up the diversity in the movie’s, it’s safe to assume that relationship will be a factor if Moondragon shows up in Vol. 3.

The High Evolutionary

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 is being kept tightly under wraps, but one part we are hearing that they’ll need a new actor for is High Evolutionary. In the Guardians comics, the High Evolutionary is Rocket Raccoon’s creator.

Right now word is that two different big-name actors are being considered to play High Evolutionary.

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3

First up, Mark Hamill has been rumored to be on director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 “want” list for awhile. Hamill’s name has been circulated around a number of big projects lately, with none of them actually panning out. He would be a great fit as the character, though.

De Niro for Guardians of the Galaxy 3

The second name reportedly in contention to play High Evolutionary in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 is Robert De Niro. Bob’s friend and frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese has opened sneered at Marvel movies recently. De Niro hasn’t gone as far as Marty, but he hasn’t been complimentary of Marvel either.

However, Bob De Niro was a huge part of DC’s Joker, which suggests he isn’t altogether against superhero movies like Scorsese is. Either that or he’ll do anything for money and/or the right script regardless of his personal feelings on the matter. Maybe it’s a combination of both, either way James Gunn isn’t one to hold a grudge. Gunn was even one of the first to reach out to and to defend De Niro’s friend Scorsese when the director began making comments attacking his films.

The Plot Of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3


Important and interesting details released about the plot of Guardians 3 have been leaked, all of them raising even more questions about what we’ll see in the finished product. 

The first piece of confirmed information is that it will take place after the events of Thor: Love And Thunder. This was significant because fans were expecting it to be released before the new Thor movie and also that we would see Hemsworth in the new Guardians movie, but the order of release has changed expectations. There will be many MCU movies released before we see the third installment of Guardians. We’ll have to wait and see if these films will contain more clues to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s plot.

We do know with certainty though, that Guardians 3 will take place four years after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

When discussing the script, James Gunn reported that the film would conclude the current iteration of the team. He then said, “Who knows who will take up the mantle after that?”

Another factor for the plot to handle will be Gamora. In Avengers: Endgame, her memory was reset to 2014. It’s expected this is the Gamora we’ll be meeting in the third installment, a Gamora who doesn’t remember the adventures she’s shared with the crew and doesn’t remember her romance with Star Lord. Zoe Saldana has said she’d love to see her character take on the role of a villain for the film. 

Death Threats

There is a lot of fan speculation that we will see at least one main character death in this Guardians sequel, but it’s unlikely there will be any clues as to how that will be handled before the release of movie. Still, fan speculation is heavy.

Adding to the speculation are Gunn’s statements that Rocket’s character arc will be coming to an end. After he was fired from the film, the director had been particularly sad about not being a bigger part of Rocket’s conclusion. He has said many times that he has most closely related to Rocket, felt compassion for him, and wanted to see his character arc through to the end.

We’ll have to wait and see what the conclusion for Rocket will mean in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. , but not all fans are willing to wait. Some have started freaking out at the mere suggestion that Gunn might kill Rocket off, and have started making death threats…

Gunn seems to be taking it all pretty well, he followed up with this…

We don’t know if Rocket will die but we do know someone will. Gunn took the opportunity to boldly reconfirm his resolution to kill one of his characters off for good…

Just because James Gunn is taking these death threats as a joke doesn’t mean it’s OK to keep sending them. Please leave James Gunn alone, respect his wishes in this tweet…

MCU Connections


The release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is, at this point, still a really long ways off. While we wait, Marvel doesn’t want you to forget about them, so they’re working them in to some of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies they have coming up in the meantime. In specific, it sounds like they’ll be in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Their appearance was apparently supposed to be some kind of secret, but Vin Diesel, who voices Groot, revealed it in an interview with CINEMABLEND saying, “I am waiting and excited for my friend James Gunn to knock this next one out of the park. He took The Suicide Squad so he’s about to embark on it. Thor will also, the director talked to me about Thor will incorporate some of the Guardians of the Galaxy. That’ll be very interesting, nobody knows, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.

Which Guardians will actually show up is unknown, but given the galactic nature of the movie’s plot this probably makes a lot of sense. I’d expect to see more of Star Lord at least, given how well his back and forth with the Son of Odin has worked in the past.

Guardians of the Galaxy Beyond Vol. 3

It’s likely that Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 will be the last movie featuring the original Guardians of the Galaxy characters. Some will die in the third movie, others will move on to spinoff franchises. Others will simply hang it up, like Steve Rogers in Avengers: Endgame.

Writer/director James Gunn recently confirmed it’s done at three in a recent Q&A. He said, “As I planned to do a trilogy from the beginning if the first one worked. I have no plans to do a 4th.”

James Gunn has written and directed all three Guardians movies and there probably won’t be any more with the Guardians, or at least the original Guardians, without him. But Disney won’t want to let the Guardians series die at three.

So word is that they’re planning a replacement team to come in and be the new Guardians of the Galaxy after the completion of Vol. 3. It’s basically the same thing Marvel is doing with the Avengers lineup. Maybe they’ll even call it something else.

Word is that this new group of Guardians will feature these characters from the world of Marvel comics: Adam Warlock, Beta Ray Bill, Bug, Moondragon and Phyla-Vell. Some of these characters will have prior appearances in other Marvel movies before it comes time for them to take over as Guardians. For instance, we already know Beta Ray Bill is set to appear in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Guardians 3

What’s next for the current Guardians of the Galaxy characters after the completion of Vol. 3? It may seem far off, but plans are underway. Reports say some of those plans may include spinoffs pairing up different characters.

One spinoff plan has Drax and Mantis teaming up together. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax, floated this idea awhile ago and no one took it seriously. But when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was asked about it, he had this to say…

Here’s Dave Bautista’s description of what they’ve been talking about: “James Gunn had the idea to do a Drax-Mantis movie. That’s what I’d be up for because there’s just too much fun there. Well, he wanted to do it, he had an idea for it. It’s just Marvel has their slot for the next fix years and they know how their story is going to go. It’s hard for them to have an idea for a film and say ‘yeah we want to fit that into here’. It just didn’t fit into their schedule.”

So the Drax and Mantis team-up movie is a real thing that not only was discussed, but hasn’t been ruled out yet. It doesn’t sound like there’s any active development on it, but it’s still out there in the ether over at Marvel. If Guardians of the Galaxy 3 does well, don’t be surprised if the idea suddenly starts getting actually worked on.

Guardians after Vol. 3

Meanwhile Marvel insider Mike Sutton who says Disney is planning a TV series spinoff starring Rocket Raccoon and Groot. The duo will team up to fight the Bunny Brigade.

That’s right, I said the Bunny Brigade.

In the Guardians comics Rocket’s arch-enemy is a character called Blackjack O’Hare, a half-world bred hair who leads a group called the Bunny Brigade. Blackjack and the Bunny Brigade would be Rocket and Groot’s antagonist for the show.

There’s currently no timeline for the arrival of the Rocket & Groot Disney Plus series, it’s likely still in very early stages of development.

Guardians of the Galaxy In Coronavirus Quarantine

While the rest of us are stuck home trying desperately to telecommute to work while screaming kids who aren’t allowed to go to school anymore throw things at us in the background, the idle rich celebrities of the world are stuck in their houses and totally bored.

One of the boredest of the bored quarantine celebrities is Karen Gillan. She got so bored she started posting Instagram Karaoke videos, and they’re hilarious. Put in your noise-cancelling headphones to block out the sound of your kids and rock out with Karen…

And now it’s time to get a little old school…


Potential Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Spoilers


We’ve been hearing for a long time now that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn plans to kill off one of the Guardians on the third movie. Rumor has always been that it’s Rocket who he’ll kill off. But now we’re hearing that he plans to kill not just one, but two Guardians.

Reportedly Gunn is pretty deep into the script and the way it’s currently slated to play out Rocket is killed by the High Evolutionary. Then in the end, Nebula dies sacrificing herself to save the other Guardians.

Nebula’s death would make a lot of sense for her character arc. Rocket’s sounds a little more empty, but who knows how it will play out on screen. It’s still early days.

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