Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date: Latest news on James Gunn’s MCU return

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date: Latest news on James Gunn’s MCU return

After an exhaustive search involving some of Hollywood’s brightest rising stars, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has found its Adam Warlock, with the cosmic hero set to be portrayed in live-action by Will Poulter.

The British actor has been attached to a number of acclaimed projects in recent years, from indie horror flick Midsommar to Barry Jenkins’ lauded streaming series The Underground Railroad, making him a strong addition to the MCU’s ranks.

Adam Warlock is a fan-favourite Marvel character whose debut was first teased at the tail-end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, when Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha announces that the gold-skinned Sovereign people have created the perfect being.

He is encased in a gold cocoon, so we never actually get a look at Warlock in the 2017 blockbuster, but the brief scene sets him up as a major player in Gunn’s trilogy-closer.

The Suicide Squad director has confirmed on Twitter that Warlock will have gold skin just like his creators, adding after the announcement that Poulter is “an amazing actor and a wonderful guy”.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit claimed that Bridgerton‘s Regé-Jean Page and 1917‘s George MacKay were also considered for the role, but ultimately Poulter bagged the gig with filming due to start in a couple of weeks.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still a while away from cinemas, taking a later slot in an exciting slate of upcoming Marvel movies, which also includes the likes of Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home later this year.

Read on for everything we know so far about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

When is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 released in cinemas?

CONFIRMED: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will arrive in cinemas on Friday 5th May 2023, a full six years after the second film was initially released.

Following the casting of Poulter as Adam Warlock, director James Gunn confirmed that filming on the sequel was scheduled to begin in a “couple of weeks”, suggesting a late October 2021 production start date.

Production heads on Guardians Vol. 3 were hired almost a year in advance, with Gunn confirming so on Twitter back in November 2020, but he was still making tweaks to the script nine months later.

“I’ve done a thousand drafts, like I’ve had to of everything,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in August 2021. “There’s nothing that has been changed according to what happened in Marvel, in terms of that timeline. Things have changed because I thought, ‘Well, this will make it a better movie.’”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there was originally a plan for the movie to film in 2020, but the temporary firing of Gunn, his later commitment to The Suicide Squad, as well as the coronavirus pandemic all contributed to driving the film down Marvel’s slate.

After production wrapped on The Suicide Squad, it was announced that Gunn was working on a spin-off HBO Max series about John Cena’s Peacemaker, but assured fans this would not interfere with progress on Guardians Vol. 3.

I’m doing #Peacemaker in the time always allotted between #TheSuicideSquad & #GotGVol3. Normally I would have been taking more of a break in this space but it’s Covid, I’m stuck at home, so I wrote a TV series. https://t.co/lARE63ypwI

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) September 23, 2020

Gunn has now confirmed (via Twitter) that filming will start in 2021, after previously stating that the “script is written and most of the production heads have been hired”.

What is Guardians of the Galaxy 3 about?

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel)

The sequel to the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, Vol. 3 will tell the continuing story of the intergalactic “A-Holes” who saved the galaxy from Ronan the Accuser and Ego in previous movies.

It’s expected that the film will deal with the fallout from Avengers: Endgame, which saw the Guardians help defeat Thanos before heading back into space, but losing contact with one of their own in the process (Zoe Saldana’s time-displaced Gamora).

However, given the long delay it may be that the Endgame connection will have faded from fans’ collective memory, meaning the film could be more strongly influenced by Thor: Love and Thunder, in which the Guardians will cameo.

It has now been confirmed that the story will involve popular comic book character Adam Warlock (who was teased in the previous movie), as played by Will Poulter, a being created by Elisabeth Debicki’s gold-skinned character, Ayesha.

Guardians fans should be warned that the trilogy closer could see some notable exits from the MCU, with Gunn hinting that not everyone will make it out alive and Bautista adding that the team is “wrapping up” with this entry (via Phase Zero).

The former WWE star has vocally insisted that he is unlikely to return as Drax after Guardians Vol. 3, but it remains to be seen whether the character will get a happy ending or make a noble sacrifice.

Things are looking brighter for everyone’s favourite talking tree Groot, as Vin Diesel has teased (via Phase Zero) that the third film will see the Guardians travel to his homeworld: Planet X.

While answering fan questions on Instagram, Gunn mentioned who his favourite characters to write are and hinted at which of them have the most interesting stories in Vol. 3.

“I probably liked writing Nebula and Rocket’s arcs most (still continuing into Vol 3),” he revealed. “But I also think we have great things coming up for the others, like Quill and Mantis. All of their arcs take place over the three films as opposed to in only the individual movies.”

Nebula actor Karen Gillan seemingly agrees that Nebula’s arc ends on a strong note, revealing to Collider that she and co-star Pom Klementieff (Mantis) were in tears after their first read-through.

“We read it together and we both cried and laughed, but there was full tears,” she said. “It’s incredible, I think it’s James’ strongest work yet with the Guardians and it’s just brilliant. It’s brilliant and it’s emotional and it’s funny and it’s all of those things that you want.”

Who’s in the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Fans can expect Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (Groot) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis) to be back to their outer-space adventures in Vol. 3.

Dave Baustista is also expected to return, though he’s been vocal about the fact that Marvel weren’t interested in a spin-off for his character Drax and that he’s been entertaining offers from their rivals at DC.

Point is I freaking love comic book characters and I want a stand alone. @MarvelStudios doesn’t see worth in #drax or possibly myself or both but I’m not giving up. I missed out on a DC project because of scheduling conflicts but hopefully there’s other characters & opportunities https://t.co/OX1XDnbmk9

— Vaxxed AF! #TeamPfizer Poor Kid Chasing Dreams. (@DaveBautista) August 29, 2019

Vol. 2 villain Elizabeth Debicki is also keen to reprise her character Ayesha, last seen plotting against the Guardians in a post-credits scene.

“I want to, I want to. I love [Ayesha],” she told ComicBook.com. “I actually, really, really loved playing her, and I loved making that movie and working with everybody and James, and it was… it was a really fun job for me. So I hope so.

“Sometimes I just think about her golden throne and her golden dress, just waiting somewhere in the wings. I would love, even if I just sort of scooch on for a second. I mean, I would love to come back.”

The latest Guardians update suggests that Debicki will get her wish, as Will Poulter has been officially cast as Adam Warlock, a cosmic being created by Ayesha and the Sovereign to destroy their rivals.

Will Thor be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

The end of Avengers: Endgame saw Avengers founder Thor heading into space with the Guardians and sparring with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord over leadership, and Hemsworth has said he’d be open to reprising his role in the sequel.

“I’d play that character again,” Hemsworth told CinemaBlend. “I love it so much – especially if there’s something unique to do again with it. I felt like the last three films were very, very different each time. It really felt like a totally different character.

“I’ll work with any of those guys. Asgardians Of The Galaxy. That’s actually great. You might’ve just got me my next job.”

However, given how the release dates have worked out, it now seems more likely that the Guardians could cameo in Thor: Love and Thunder, before parting ways with the Mighty Avenger to have their own adventure.

Is there a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer?

There’s no trailer just yet, with filming gearing up to get underway later this year, but the Guardians Vol. 3 logo can be spotted in Marvel’s rousing celebration of cinema montage released earlier this year. Watch below.

What’s happening with James Gunn?

Marvel made headlines in 2018 when James Gunn (writer/director of the first two Guardians films) was shockingly fired after 10-year-old tweets resurfaced in which he made dark jokes related to child abuse and rape.

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said of the firing: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible.

“[They are] inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

Following this, rumours abounded about who could replace Gunn in the director’s chair, while his cast signed an open letter asking Disney to reinstate him (with actor Dave Bautista a particularly staunch defender).

Perhaps it was this backlash that led Disney to re-hire Gunn just a short while later, with the director confirming on Twitter that he was back working on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as of March 2019.

“I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months,” Gunn wrote. “I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be.

“I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all.

“I have been, and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all.”

❤️ pic.twitter.com/gdMQjlqIjs

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 15, 2019

In a candid interview with Deadline, the director spoke in greater detail about his shock sacking from the film last year, revealing he thought it could be the end of his career.

“Disney totally had the right to fire me. This wasn’t a free speech issue. I said something they didn’t like and they completely had the right to fire me. There was never any argument of that,” he explained.

“I don’t blame anyone. I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humour, just the unintentional consequences of not being more compassionate in what I’m putting out there. I know that people have been hurt by things that I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility.

“It happened, and suddenly it seemed like everything was gone. I just knew, in a moment that happened incredibly quickly, I had been fired. It felt as if my career was over.”

He added that it was support from the cast, and from his friends, that helped him through the difficult period.

“And then came this outpouring of real love. From my girlfriend Jen; my producer and my agents; Chris Pratt calling me and freaking out; Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan, all calling and crying. Sylvester Stallone FaceTime-ing me.

“And, of course, Dave Bautista, who came out so strong. That amount of love that I felt from my friends, my family, and the people in the community was absolutely overwhelming,” he said.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 is coming soon to cinemas. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, visit our TV Guide, or find out about upcoming new TV shows 2020.

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