Every big question about 'Guardians 3,' from Asgardians to Zac Efron

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will be a far different place by the time 2022 rolls around.


The Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t done in the Marvel Cinematic Universe just yet. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has a planned 2022 release date, placing it somewhere in Phase 5 of the MCU. With Phase 4 set to include tentpole releases like The Eternals, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is likely to be a very different place by the time Guardians 3 actually comes out.

While there’s still a whole lot of mystery surrounding the film’s story at this early stage, we do know most of the key cast members will return, along with director James Gunn, who’s currently at work on 2021’s The Suicide Squad. In the meantime, there’s been loads of speculation about new additions to the Guardians cast. Will Thor join the crew, as Endgame teased throughout? Will Adam Warlock will finally make his long-teased MCU debut?

Here’s everything we know (so far) about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, including likely release dates, casting rumors, and plot theories from around the web.

What is the official title of Guardians of the Galaxy 3?

No official title has been confirmed for Guardians 3. The second movie in the trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, echoed the mixtape vibe of the film’s soundtrack. The third could continue that naming trend and tack on “Vol. 3”, “Remixed,” or something similar.

Then again, maybe Thor really will get his way and the next movie will be called “Asgardians of the Galaxy,” like the God of Thunder joked at the end of Endgame. We’d love to see more of Quill and Thor butting heads, and Rocket rankling at being called a rabbit. While there is a 2018 Marvel comic arc by the same name, that supergroup didn’t include Thor. (It did include Valkyrie, however, who we know will return in the hero’s upcoming fourth outing, Love and Thunder.)

Peter Quill and Rocket Raccoon have very different ideas about who runs the show.Marvel Studios.

When will Guardians 3 be released?

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige didn’t spend a great deal of time discussing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 at San Diego Comic-Con back in July. While observers had previously assumed the third outing for Quill and palls would fall within the MCU’s Phase 4, Guardians 3 is now slated to hit theaters sometime in 2022 as part of Phase 5. The last confirmed film for Phase 4 is Love and Thunder in November 2021. Phase 5 is also predicted to include Blade, Captain Marvel 2, and Black Panther 2, along with the long-awaited introduction of the X-Men and Fantastic Four to the MCU.

Marvel 's planned Phase 4 slate of films and TV shows, as shown at SDCC 2019.Inverse

Marvel Studios has blocked out (for now) two premiere dates for 2022: February 18 and May 6. The earlier date, just three months after Thor 4 could make sense if the film does indeed opt for an “Asgardians” direction. Then again, the first Guardians film was released August 1, 2014 while Vol. 2 was released May 5, 2017. Marvel may stick to a summer release to recapture the box office successes of the first two films.

Is there a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 yet?

Filming has yet to begin on Guardians 3, so no footage has been released. Marvel Studios barely mentioned the film at SDCC 2019 or D23 earlier this year, instead focusing on the confirmed Phase 4 slate.

A teaser trailer will most likely drop around a year before or closer to when the film actually premieres. So we might not see any new Guardians 3 footage until spring 2021.

What is the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy 3?

No official plot for the third Guardians outing has been released yet.

Guardians 3 will have some big intergalactic fish to fry, as the Guardians recover from the events of Avengers: Endgame. The climactic ending of Phase 3 was pivotal in setting up the next Guardians adventure. First up: the addition of Thor. The God of Thunder will no doubt provide some levity for the new film as Peter tries not to be visibly threatened by how charming and capable the God of Thunder really is.

The Guardians will need all the laughs they can get, because they still have to deal with the (hopefully temporary) loss of Gamora. Due to some fun time-travel hiccups, Endgame had 2014 Gamora — the version of Gamora who existed before the first Guardians film — show up during the final battle against Thanos. Peter and Gamora were briefly reunited on the battlefield, but she punched him the second he tried to hug her before disappearing. (This version of Gamora never fell for his charms.) At the end of Endgame, we saw Quill trying to find signs of her, to no avail. Don’t expect him to let this go in Guardians 3.

Noted MCU leaker Roger Wardell may have also spilled key information about the Guardians 3 plot in a tweet from May 7, 2019. Wardell wrote, “Rocket’s creator is the High Evolutionary, Drax is in for a big surprise when he discovers his daughter is alive. Rocket also gets a love interest in the form of Lylla. Nebula and Star Lord will grow into closer friends.” As with all Wardell leaks, there’s been no secondary source to confirm this information, but his earlier tweets about Endgame proved to be surprisingly accurate.

Ego shows of his handiwork to the Guardians.Marvel Studios.

Who will direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

James Gunn will return to direct Guardians 3 and write the script. It’s been a long road back to Guardians, the MCU franchise Gunn infused with his own darkly humorous sensibilities. He was re-hired by Disney after being fired back in July 2018 when past problematic tweets resurfaced online, prompting outcry. The Guardians cast rallied around Gunn, and Dave Bautista even went so far as to threaten to break his Marvel Studios contract as a show of good faith for the director.

During Gunn’s time away from Disney, he was hired by Warner Bros. to write and direct The Suicide Squad. Gunn will hold on to both his DC and Marvel gigs, so he’ll have an extraordinarily busy few years ahead.

Which cast members will return for Guardians 3?

Thanks to the magic of an iron-clad Marvel Studios contract, most of the core Guardians cast members will return for Guardians 3. This includes:

  • Chris Pratt as “Peter Quill/Star-Lord”
  • Dave Bautista as “Drax”
  • Pom Klementieff as “Mantis”
  • Bradley Cooper as “Rocket Raccoon”

Interestingly, neither Zoe Saldana nor Vin Diesel, who play Gamora and Groot respectively, are listed on the Guardians 3 IMDb cast page but it would be a safe bet to expect they will show up in some fashion.

There will also be some familiar returns from the Vol. 2 cast. Elizabeth Debicki will reprise her role as Ayesha, Sovereign High Priestess who created Adam Warlock at the end of Vol. 2, and Sean Gunn, the director’s brother, will again appear as Kraglin the Ravager.

Who is the villain in Guardians of the Galaxy 3?

No villain has been confirmed for Guardians 3.

Adam Warlock’s arrival, as teased in the Vol. 2 post-credits, has led to speculation he and his creator, Ayesha, will inevitably be the Guardians 3 villains. Ayesha certainly has enough of a motive for revenge against the Guardians, and she has created the perfect weapon to do it.

Summer 2019 saw a great deal of chatter among Marvel fans about the possibility of Zac Efron taking on the role of Adam Warlock, particularly after Bosslogic shared his own rendering of the actor suited up. Subsequent rumors that the actor was “in talks” with Marvel have remained unconfirmed.

Gunn has tried to mitigate any Adam Warlock rumors on Twitter as far back as November 2017 while discussing Vol. 2: “Despite so many people thinking Adam will show up in Vol 3 that is something that we have never confirmed. Who knows how long it will take him to bake in that cocoon. That said, I love Adam. But the time must be right.”

Mantis, Peter, and Drax help Iron Man and Spider-Man take down Thanos.Marvel Studios.

Are there any more Guardians 3 rumors I should know about?

The biggest Guardians 3 rumor floating around as of mid-June 2019 is that Lady Gaga might be up for the role of Lylla, Rocket’s love interest. The outlet Film Updates claimed to break the news via their Twitter account on June 18:

“Lady Gaga is reportedly being considered for the role of Lylla, Rocket’s love interest who is set to make an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This would mark a reunion between Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who voices Rocket, after last year’s A Star is Born.”

There has been no firm confirmation from Marvel Studios, Gunn, or Gaga about this. If Gaga was cast as Lylla, it would indeed mean a reunion between Cooper and Gaga — and the second time they’ve played love interests opposite one another. However, it’s pretty likely this rumor was a byproduct of the feverish Cooper-Gaga shipping that swept the nation after their steamy duet at the 2019 Oscars back in February.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be released in 2022.