Had everything gone to plan, we’d have already seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The sequel was originally slated to shoot in 2019 for a 2020 release, but things changed when writer/director James Gunn was temporarily removed from the project over some old tweets. In the interim period, he signed up to direct Warner Bros.’ The Suicide Squad, and the delay caused by that was compounded by COVID-19 pushing all MCU release dates back.
During last week’s Disney Investor call, though, we finally got an update on what’s going on with the movie, which is now confirmed to begin shooting in late 2021 and will release in 2023 (most likely in May). That’s a long way off, but fans also received the unexpected announcement of the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special coming to Disney+ in 2022.
In parallel to all this, Dave Bautista (who plays Drax) indicated that the delays have altered some aspects of the film, telling EW the following:
“I believe it’s okay to say that we will go into production late next year. I saw a script early on when we were all on schedule and James Gunn was attached before everything went nutso. I believe because [Marvel’s] whole calendar has changed [due to the pandemic shutdown and Guardians’ production delays], that storylines have changed, and they won’t intersect like originally planned. Obviously, we lost Chadwick [Boseman], so I don’t know where that leaves Black Panther. I haven’t seen a new script, is the short answer.”
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Bautista’s statement is actually pretty juicy. Most interesting are the hints that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will intersect with the wider MCU, as the previous two movies were fairly self-contained. Particularly notable, though, is the implication that the original version of the script featured the late Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. Or at least, that’s what the actor makes it sound like.
Exactly how he’d have appeared in the interstellar adventure will likely remain a mystery, though it’s intriguing that one of the announced episodes for the Disney+ What If…? show imagines what would happen if T’Challa had been rescued by Yondu and became Star-Lord.
In the meantime, Gunn is entirely focused on getting The Suicide Squad finished. Indications are that it’s coming together nicely as it managed to complete its shoot just before the COVID-19 lockdown hit. We also recently learned that it’ll premiere on HBO Max the same day as its theatrical release on August 6th, 2021.
Once that’s out of the door, the director will be heading straight into pre-production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Let’s hope we get some more hints as to what we can look forward to in it very soon.