When will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 be released, and what’s going to happen after James Gunn’s firing?

Here’s what to expect from the upcoming Marvel sequel following the firing of director James Gunn

L to R: Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)

DIsney, Marvel, sky pics, TL

The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is one of Marvel’s biggest hitters, and fans are already excited to see what’s coming in the story’s third instalment.


However, some shocking behind-the-scenes changes have put the movie’s future in doubt – so here’s what you need to know about the conclusion to the spacefaring saga.

When is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 coming to cinemas?

Well, following the firing of the film’s director (see below) the film has been put on hold, though star Chris Pratt says it’s still definitely in the pipeline.

“We’re gonna deliver the movie. We’re gonna give the fans what they deserve,” he said.

“I think it’s in the nature of the Guardians of the Galaxy to come together and get the job done. And that’s what we’ll do.”

“I promise there’ll be a third movie,” he also told Variety at the Lego Movie 2 premiere. “I don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like, but I know everyone on board is just eager to give the fans what they want and wrap up a trilogy in a meaningful way.”

What’s the film about?

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel, HF)
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 the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, while also ushering in a more cosmic age for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Vol. 1 and 2 director James Gunn previously suggested that the film could involve the popular comic-book character Adam Warlock (who was teased in the previous movie) and the return of Elisabeth Debicki’s Vol. 2 character Ayesha, as well as providing an “epic conclusion” to the story that would draw this version of the team to a close.

However, the aforementioned behind-the-scenes changes may now throw even these details into doubt…

What’s happening with James Gunn?

James Gunn
James Gunn (Getty)

Well, this is still the biggest news around this film at the moment, as James Gunn (writer/director of the first two Guardians films) was sensationally fired from the project after ten-year-old tweets resurfaced in which he made dark jokes related to child abuse and rape.

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement: “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.”

As yet, there’s no word on who could or would replace Gunn in the director’s chair, with the search made all the more challenging due to his close creative involvement with the franchise. Potential replacements like Taika Waititi have ruled themselves out of contention, and at the moment there’s no sign of anyone taking the gig.

Will James Gunn be rehired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Despite an online petition to have Gunn reinstated reaching over 370,000 signatures (at time of writing) and the stars of the film (including Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan and Zoe Saldana) writing an open letter to support him, at least one source suggests it’s unlikely that they’ll bring him back on board as director.

Now, with Gunn writing and directing a new Suicide Squad movie and no sign of a backtrack from Disney, it looks like any hope of bringing him back to the Guardians fold as director is dead.

However, he could still leave some mark on the movie…

Is there a Guardians of the Galaxy 3 script?

Yes – and the only saving grace for fans of Gunn’s work may be that the film does still seem to be using it, with Pratt appearing to suggest in an interview that they were still using their ex-director’s screenplay.

“Yeah I have [read it],” Pratt said. “It’s off the chain. It’s so good. It’s so good.”

Previously,  star Dave Bautista has said that he’ll quit the film if Gunn’s script isn’t used, suggesting that it would one too many blows to his former colleague.

“Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use that script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me,” Bautista told Shortlist.

“I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”

Who could replace James Gunn as director?

Taika Waititi (Getty, HF)
Taika Waititi (Getty, HF)

A few names have been kicked around as potential replacements for James Gunn, with the likes of Waititi (who directed last year’s Thor: Ragnarok, which had a similar sense of style, humour and space-travel shenanigans as the Guardians films), Brad Bird, Kay Cannon, Michelle Maclaren, Emily Carmichael, Peyton Reed and Matthew Vaughn mooted for the top job.

However, given the bad blood around Gunn’s firing and his close creative control over the franchise, it may be that few other directors fancy taking on what could be a poisoned chalice. Recent rumours have swirled around Bumblebee director Travis Knight or Anchorman/Vice director Adam McKay taking the job, with the latter suggesting that he and Marvel boss Kevin Feige had “talked a little bit” about him coming onboard.

“We’re always kind of talking,” McKay said. “I think Feige is just the greatest and what they’re doing is amazing.”

What’s going on with Dave Bautista?

Drax the Destroyer star Dave Bautista has been one of Gunn’s staunchest defenders so far, regularly expressing his support for Gunn (and disappointment in Disney for firing him) on his Twitter account, and even threatening to leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the incident.

Originally, Bautista said he’d stick with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as long as Gunn’s script was used (see above), saying he’d do what he was “legally obligated to do” despite the “nauseating” feeling he got from it – but in a more recent interview on the UK’s Jonathan Ross show, he suggested that he might walk away from the project now anyway.

“It’s a bitter-sweet conversation — um, no it’s a bitter-bitter conversation because I’m not really happy with what they’ve done with James Gunn,” Bautista explained on the ITV series.

“They’re putting the movie off,” he added. “It’s on hold indefinitely. To be honest with you I don’t know if I want to work for Disney.”

Who’s in the cast?

Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel, HF

While Bautista has threatened to leave the film, it seems unlikely that any other major cast members will walk from the project over Gunn’s firing, especially given the contracts that bind them to the franchise. James Gunn’s brother Sean, who plays the Ravager Kraglin and provides on-set acting for Rocket, may be less likely to come back given his family connection, though he is still set to be a part of Avengers: Endgame.

And with all that in mind, fans can probably expect Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (Groot) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis) to return to their outer-space adventures.

That is, of course, assuming that many of the characters’ deaths in Avengers: Infinity War end up being reversed. By the end of the 2018 blockbuster Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis and Groot had been turned to dust by Thanos (Josh Brolin), while Saldana’s Gamora was thrown to her death off a cliff.


Of the main cast, only Rocket and Nebula were left alive by the end of Infinity War, which would be a fairly stripped-back version of the franchise to say the least – if it even continues to exist going forward.