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Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, and James Gunn on the set of 'Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume II.' Courtesy Marvel/Walt Disney Studios

James Gunn is Returning for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Yesterday we wrote about how we’re just a bit more than two weeks away from the premiere of writer/director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but what we didn’t expect, and are thrilled about, is that Gunn has already declared he’s on board for Vol. 3. While you might have figured that was a no brainer, Gunn explains in a Facebook post that staying on board was never guaranteed. What ultimately helped Gunn make the decision was a desire to make sure the third film in the Guardians trilogy was one he could be proud of:

Before I was able to honestly answer this, I needed to know it was, in my heart, what I truly felt called to do. 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. 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.

So, yes, I’m returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. 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. And, like in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we will work on creating the story that goes beyond what you expect.

Guardians has been infused with Gunn’s personality and vision, so its fitting that he see the trilogy through to the end. In fact, of all the Marvel films to date, Guardians of the Galaxy is perhaps the most personal and singular in the extended MCU, with a very specific tone and look that’s indicative of the writer/director behind it.

Here’s Gunn’s entire statement:

Well, this week we start the U.S. press junket, before traveling to Europe at the end of the week. Of course I know some of the questions that come up a lot – “Wasn’t there a lot more pressure dealing with the sequel of a beloved film?” (No, there was less, because this time I knew there was an audience waiting to see it!) and, “What was it like working with Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone?” (Daunting and at times overwhelming – I ran around in my backyard as a kid pretending to be Snake Plissken and John Rambo, so these guys are true icons to me.)

But the question that comes up perhaps the most is, “What’s the deal with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and are you going to direct?”

Before I was able to honestly answer this, I needed to know it was, in my heart, what I truly felt called to do. 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. 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.

So, after many months of ruminations and discussions, I know the answer. I could save this answer for the first, random interviewer to ask me during the press junket but instead I thought I’d share it with the most important people in the Guardiansverse – you, the fans, who have been so incredibly supportive and enthusiastic over the past five years, it has moved me to tears on a regular basis.

So, yes, I’m returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. 

Vol. 2 arrives on May 5, 2017.

Featured image: Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt and James Gunn on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Courtesy Marvel/Walt Disney Pictures.

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