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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the ‘end of this team’

James Gunn is back for one last adventure and baby Rocket

the Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Studios
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is almost here. After the Guardians tagged along on Thor’s galaxy-spanning journey of self-discovery in Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel’s team of space misfits is back for one last adventure helmed by director James Gunn.

At San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, Marvel Studios offered a peek at the gang’s new adventure, which picks up after Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy parted ways in Love and Thunder. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Mantis will face a new threat: the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) and meet the mysterious Adam Warlock, who was teased in the conclusion to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

In a new trailer shown to the audience at Hall H, there are hints of big changes to the status quo — like Gamora leading the Ravagers, as she’s a totally different person from the Gamer of the first two films — and a new focus on Rocket, who we get a brief glimpse of as a baby.

During the Hall H presentation, Iwuji appeared in character as the High Evolutionary to give the crowd a taste of his whole character’s deal — which is essentially taking “disgusting creatures” (us) and transforming them into something “less revolting.” (In the comics, this usually means weird beast-men.) So you’ve got a sort of supervillain eugenicist and a trippy space Jesus (that’s Adam Warlock) to look forward to. Pretty big finale Marvel’s got planned here!

Actor Will Poulter (Midsommar, The Maze Runner) will make his MCU debut as Adam Warlock in Guardians 3. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel will all return for the third Guardians of the Galaxy film to be helmed by Gunn and featuring this team.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated for release in theaters on May 5, 2023. Before that movie arrive, that bunch of a-holes will star in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, a one-off adventure for Disney Plus. The holiday special is also written and directed by Gunn.

The completion of the Guardians trilogy has been a circuitous saga. Gunn was fired by Disney in July 2018 after far-right internet trolls resurfaced and publicized a series of Gunn’s old tweets. At the time, Walt Disney chairman Alan Horn called Gunn’s tweets “offensive” and “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values” in a statement announcing Gunn’s termination. But Gunn received widespread support from comedians and actors, including the cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, many of whom could not imagine participating in the film without Gunn at the helm. In March 2019, the studio reversed the decision and reinstated Gunn as the director.

You can find all of Polygon’s coverage of SDCC 2022 news, trailers, and more here.

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