James Gunn Confirms Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set After Infinity War

If you’ve somehow still not seen Avengers: Infinity War, stop reading.

One of the very first things we thought when we saw Avengers: Infinity War was this—what in the world is James Gunn going to do in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Granted, this question could be posed to every filmmaker connected to the Russo Brothers’ game changing epic—the title characters from Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man all died at the end. It was astonishing to witness the teenage Peter Parker turn into dust, as it was T’Challa and Doctor Strange, but what about watching all of the Guardians bite the dust (save Rocket and Nebula)? How in the world was James Gunn going to handle that in Vol. 3? Well, now we know he’s not skirting the issue with any timeline trickery, because the writer/director confirmed that the next Guardians film does indeed take place after the events in Infinity War. Considering that the Russo brothers have claimed that the deaths in Infinity War are permanent (seriously, they’ve said this), is James Gunn going to make a Guardians film about Rocket and Nebula? Seems…unlikely.

One of the ways it seemed likely Gunn would tackle this seemingly intractable problem is by setting Vol 3. before the events in Infinity War. This would present a potential problem of scale—how could the stakes in Vol 3. feel significant when we’d know that Infinity War was still in the Guardians future? Yet this would at least see him out of the “all the Guardians are dead” problem. This seemed to be what the Russo brothers have been suggesting, explaining how there’s four years between Vol. 2 and Infinity War, giving the Guardians plenty of time to have adventures. James Gunn says no, and what Gunn says goes in the Guardians universe:

Yes, the braintrust at Marvel and Gunn himself have a lot of potential fixes for their problem—we’re talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe here, not the actual laws of physics. While it seems unlikely Gamora’s coming back (sigh), the rest of the Guardians, ditto T’Challa, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, are likely not gone for good. Doctor Strange had said in Infinity War that he looked at 14 million possible futures and in one of them, the Avengers found a way to prevail over Thanos. Perhaps it involves the Time Stone, and reversing all that’s happened and bringing our heroes back from the ashes. What we’re excited about is that Gunn has put all the side-stepping and “we shall see” stuff behind him. The film takes place after Infinity War, period. It’s going to be a challenge to create a somber Guardians movie, considering the franchise’s overall vibe, but it beats trying to sneak around the cataclysmic events we all witnessed.

Featured image: Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. L to R: Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Drax (Dave Bautista), Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2018


Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.