After two wildly successful space operas in the space of four years, James Gunn has fast become an important cog in the complex machine that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Both Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and its beloved predecessor have essentially transformed Star-Lord and Co. from niche characters to household names, and between them, both movies have so far amassed an eye-watering $1.4 billion at the global box office. That number will, of course, continue to climb over the coming weeks, particularly with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and, to a lesser extent, Alien: Covenant struggling to leave much of an impression on audiences. But James Gunn and the Powers That Be are already thinking further afield.
Following a brief period of uncertainty, the writer-director sealed a deal to helm Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will seemingly have a bearing on the future of the MCU beyond 2020. Now that Vol. 2 is out in the wild, though, Gunn took the time to explain his initial hesitancy about returning to compose Vol. 3.
It’s an answer riddled with spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, so continue on at your own discretion. As a final warning, we’ve included some new concept art depicting an alternate version of Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha (via CBM) who will, incidentally, reprise her role for the inevitable threequel.
Still with us? Here is Gunn’s candid explanation, which all revolves around his close friend and creative partner, Michael Rooker.
Let me tell you, there was nothing harder for me than the choice to kill Yondu in this movie. Michael Rooker, for all the crap I give him, is one of my closest friends in the world and the last thing I wanted to do was to make a movie without Michael Rooker in the future. I almost didn’t do Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 because there was no Michael Rooker in it and I couldn’t see making the movie without him. He means that much to me and I love him that much.
Though the filmmaker has hinted at a potential 2020 release date, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still incubating in the very early stages of development. It will, however, help complete the trilogy of Star-Lord’s galactic journey, and Gunn is already teasing the possibility of introducing a new team of Guardians by the time the credits roll.