There are spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame.

Where to even begin? For months, it seemed like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was headed for the scrap pile. Then, Disney surprised everyone by getting the project back on track; it'll just arrive later than originally anticipated.

If you haven't kept up with the drama surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, we've got you covered.

All the big details

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date

Originally, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was scheduled to come out in 2020, as part of Marvel's new phase of movies post-Avengers: Endgame. Then James Gunn was fired (and then re-hired), delaying the project by a few years.

As of now, no release date is attached to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but don't expect the movie to hit theaters before 2021 at the earliest.

James Gunn gets fired, then re-hired

In 2018, a number of James Gunn's offensive tweets were resurfaced. The tweets, although several years old and joking in nature, lead to Gunn being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

The timing for the project couldn't have been worse. The firing came not long after Gunn had turned in a first draft for the script, which meant the scheduled production of early 2019 had to be delayed. A movie that was originally expected to come out in 2020 suddenly had no timeframe at all.

After Gunn was fired, a number of the franchise's biggest stars came to the director's defense. In a show of support, the actors released a letter saying they "fully support James Gunn."

We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love.

To make things worse, rumors suggested Disney wouldn't use Gunn's script once Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 finally got back on its feet, seemingly in an effort to cut ties with the director completely.

But months later, and Disney has reversed course, as Gunn has been forgiven. To show his appreciation, Gunn released a statement saying how grateful he is for the outpouring of support.

James Gunn re-hired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

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.

Although Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is back on track, it's not going to arrive until 2022 at the earliest. Not only did this whole sage put a damper on production, but now Disney has to wait for Gunn, because he's directing The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros.

Once he's done with that, then he'll be able to start working on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 plot

No details about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 have been revealed thus far, but Marvel has left some breadcrumbs over the years, including in the numerous post-credits scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

One thing we know for sure is that the third film will take place after Avengers: Endgame and conclude the Guardians trilogy. It will also set the stage for a new phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the next ten years and beyond. Before Gunn was fired, the director was apparently working closely with Marvel on shaping the next decade of the MCU.

Back in 2017, Gunn teased more adventures to come without getting into specifics.

In the end, my love for Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, Nebula—and some of the other forthcoming heroes—goes deeper than you guys can possibly imagine, and I feel like they have more adventures to go on and things to learn about themselves and the wonderful and sometimes terrifying universe we have to inhabit. And, like in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we will work on creating the story that goes beyond what you expect.

One possibility is for Gunn to introduce Adam Warlock, who was teased in a post-credits scene of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It's also possible the third film could be used to bring a conclusion to the Kree-Skrull war introduced in Captain Marvel.

"I promise you, the fans, I'll do it all with integrity and love and respect for the characters," Gunn said in a Facebook post.

Gunn also teased more information about Rocket's past. In an interview with Deadline, the director said Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may conclude Rocket's story.

"I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed," Gunn said. "He has an arc that started in the first movie, continued into the second and goes through Infinity War and Endgame, and then I was set to really finish that arc in Guardians 3."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast

At this point, we can only guess at who will come back to star in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Remember, the entire team save for Rocket Raccoon and Nebula were snapped out of existence by Thanos. But we have an inkling they won't be the only two to star in the upcoming film.

Here's who we'll (likely) see in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

  • Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)
  • Gamora (Zoe Saldana)
  • Drax (Dave Bautista)
  • Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
  • Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)
  • Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper; motion capture by Sean Gunn)
  • Nebula (Karen Gillan)
  • Kraglin (Sean Gunn)

Other possible characters may include Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and Stakar (Sylvestor Stallone).

Where does Avengers: Endgame leave Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Anyone who has seen Avengers: Endgame will no doubt have their own questions and theories about what it means for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. We know that it'll be a post-Thanos universe, but there are a couple of key things Endgame leaves on the table going forward.

The first is whether Thor will play a role in the next Guardians movie. At the conclusion of Endgame, Thor boards the ship with Rocket and the resurrected crew. Thor's relationship with Rocket grew throughout the final two Avengers movies, so it wouldn't be insane to think this could continue. Asgardians of the Galaxy anyone?

There's also the question of what role Gamora may play. In Avengers: Infinity War she was sacrificed by Thanos so he could acquire the Soul Stone, but she was not resurrected in Endgame. The Gamora featured in Endgame came from the past reality with the second Nebula and pre-Infinity Stones Thanos.

The last we see of Gamora is her dishing out some punishment on Star Lord's gentlemen's region. Remember, she hasn't even met Quill, let alone fallen in love with him. So Gamora's role in Vol. 3 and her relationship with the rest of the Guardians could be quite interesting.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 recap

The first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies were about love and family, and establishing the team as a motley crew of disparate heroes. They may not get along all the time, but they have each other's backs.

When the Guardians debuted, they dealt with one of Thanos' minions while ensuring the Power Stone didn't fall into the wrong hands. In the second film, they prevented Ego, a Celestial, from terraforming planets in his image across the universe.

In a post-Thanos universe, we're not really sure which direction the final movie will go, but we can't wait to find out.