Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t even open for another almost two weeks, but it’s still at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The space adventure screened over the weekend for some critics and people can’t shut up about it. From all accounts it’s as good as we all hoped it would be. Tracking for a successful $60 million dollar opening weekend, people are already talking about the future of the franchise. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has come out as teasing one possible future team up, and director James Gunn has put the brakes on rumors of another potential story line.
There may be some things that you will consider SPOILERS beyond this point, not only for Guardians, but also future endeavors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just in case you want to bow out now.
We’ve heard that Thanos the Mad Titan, now played by Josh Brolin, will appear in Guardians, and though he’ll play a small part in this film, he’ll be a large presence moving forward. Since the last time we saw the villain was at the end of The Avengers, and that Guardians characters like Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) have strong ties to him—they were both adopted and raised by him—there has been a lot of talk about a potential crossover between the two properties.
I don’t know. Part of the fun of the comics is that could happen. Any character could interact with any other character because they inhabit the same time period and the same universe. And certainly it is the inclusion of Thanos most specifically that is a declaration to audiences who are paying attention that this is connected to those other universes. Part of the fun is that it could happen someday. I don’t know when that would be. Or maybe I know and I’m not going to tell you!
That doesn’t actually tell you anything—you didn’t really expect him to just come out and reveal Marvel’s plans, did you?—but it does show that this is an idea they’re considering. Perhaps this crossover could be one of the seven untitled movies that the studio just announced, filling out their release schedule through 2019.
Guardians of the Galaxy – August 1, 2014
The Avengers: Age of Ultron – May 1, 2015
Ant-Man – July 17, 2015
Captain America 3 – May 6, 2016
Untitled Project – July 8, 2016
Untitled Project – May 5, 2017
Untitled Project – July 28, 2017
Untitled Project – November 3, 2017
Untitled Project – July 6, 2018
Untitled Project – November 2, 2018
Untitled Project – May 3, 2019
While we’re left to speculate about a possible future collision of worlds, there have been other rumors about the future Guardians of the Galaxy sequels. Given the popularity of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in The Avengers, and the setting of Guardians, rumblings that the Planet Hulk storyline—which sees the big green guy launched into deep space where he becomes king of a planet—might be next up.
These rumors have been bouncing around for a while, and every time one source says for sure this is happening, another comes out and assures us that there is no way in hell Planet Hulk is coming anytime soon. The latest to try to squash these reports is James Gunn himself. Talking to the Playlist he says:
I can answer that question very easily: it is absolute, 100% bullshit…It feels like a great relief to finally say this after all the dumb stuff on the Internet…There’s not going to be a ‘Planet Hulk’ movie, there was never going to be a ‘Planet Hulk’ movie, there was never a plan for the Hulk to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy – I wouldn’t want the Hulk to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy! And it’s all a bunch of complete bullshit.
He sounds pretty adamant about this fact, doesn’t he? And if anyone is in a position to know, he’s probably one of them. But he’s not the only one. Here’s where Feige comes back into play again. Talking about the future of the MCU, with a special eye on the Hulk. He says:
After the first Avengers, Iron Man had his own movie, Thor had his own movie, Captain America had his own movie, and Widow and Fury were in The Winter Soldier. So it was really about, frankly, saving somebody so that the only place you could get Hulk between Avengers movies is the next Avengers movie, so [director Joss Whedon] could continue to play with that in [The Avengers: Age of Ultron]. Where we go after that, we’ll see.
As far as the potential for us ever seeing Planet Hulk he says:
I think what’s cool about the Planet Hulk story is it’s all Hulk…He’s a gladiator, he’s fighting all these creatures on another world. Yes, some of those creatures show up in [Guardians of the Galaxy], which makes people think, ‘Oh, maybe it could exist.’ And maybe it could exist, someday. I don’t think that’s the first place we would go though for the very reason that you stated, which is, if we were ever able to do a standalone Hulk movie, 60 percent of the fun would be seeing Mark Ruffalo leading a Marvel movie—and that’s what we would do if we ever went down that road.
So the basic point is that Planet Hulk is not happening anytime soon, but it does sound like some people with pull in the Marvel world are interested in bringing to the screen eventually.