Ahead of the May 5th arrival of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, director James Gunn, who has written and helmed the first two chapters of the Marvel cosmic blockbuster, confirmed that he would take on that same role for a third Guardians film.
"Yes, I'm returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," Gunn wrote in a Facebook note to fans.
"In the end, my love for Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, and Nebula – and some of the other forthcoming heroes – goes deeper than you guys can possibly imagine, and I feel they have more adventures to go on and things to learn about themselves and the wonderful and sometimes terrifying universe we all inhabit."
In the post, Gunn explained that he was initially reticent about completing the trilogy given the dodgy track record of the "Part 3" in cinema.
"There is a history in Hollywood of haphazard endings to trilogies, and I didn't want to become a part of that dishonorable tradition of pretending the third one doesn't exist," Gunn said. "I couldn't do it for the money, and I couldn't do it because it was what other people wanted me to do. I needed to do it because it was what I needed to do. I have never made choices in my career based on anything other than passion and love for the stories and characters, and I didn't want to start now."
Although the Guardians of the Galaxy characters haven't yet interacted with the other superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that will soon change in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War films. That blockbuster represents the conclusion of the past decade of Marvel movies, and as Gunn notes, the third volume of Guardians of the Galaxy will likely serve as the bridge to the next series of MCU films.
"Much of what's happened in the MCU for the past ten or so years has been leading, in a big way, to the Avengers' Infinity War. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will happen after all that," Gunn said. "It will conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and help catapult both old and new Marvel characters into the next ten years and beyond. I will be working side-by-side with Kevin Feige and the gang to help design where these stories go, and make sure the future of the Marvel Cosmic Universe is as special and authentic and magical as what we have created so far."
No release date for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 has been penciled in, but given that the two-part Infinity War wraps up in May 2019, the third Guardians likely won't arrive until at least 2020.