James Gunn most likely won’t be sticking around the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after the third installment arrives in May 2023, so technically he’d be well within his rights to kill off the entire team to ensure that nobody bastardizes his creations in the future, although that probably isn’t going to happen.
We know that Dave Bautista isn’t going to be returning as Drax following Vol. 3, but you’d have to imagine there are big plans in place for a star of Chris Pratt’s caliber, even if he ends up sidling into another cosmic series like Thor, Eternals, Fantastic Four or even a Guardians spinoff that finds Star-Lord recruiting an all-new team of associates.
So far, fans have been left wiping away the tears at a major character death during each of the MCU’s irreverent intergalactic adventures, first with the original Groot and then Michael Rooker’s Yondu. In a new interview, Gunn addressed the comparisons between Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad again, teasing that another popular figure could be posed to meet their demise.
“Guardians of the Galaxy has a family film element to it, so I’m telling that story to a lot of different people. When Rocket says to Drax, ‘I’m gonna shoot you in the face and kill you’, we don’t as an audience think in two seconds he’s going to pull out his gun and we’re going to see Drax’s face disappear. In this movie, The Suicide Squad, they say they’re going to shoot each other in the face, and they not only say it, they actually do it.
We know that can happen at any time. There’s “a much bigger sense of danger for all of our characters because we know all of them could die. Whereas in Guardians, yes, obviously I killed Yondu, I killed the big original Groot, but it isn’t the same thing. We know most of them are going to make it out alive. At least for two movies. You’ll have to wait and see.”
Surely Drax would be the most obvious candidate given that we know Bautista won’t be returning, or is that a little too clear cut? Pratt is probably safe, Zoe Saldana has been rumored for a bigger role seeing as she’s a 2014 variant of Gamora, while Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper contribute from the recording booth. Then again, The Suicide Squad has shown us to expect the unexpected from James Gunn, so it could always come as a major shock to signify to the audience that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is by no means guaranteed a happy ending.