When the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was fully announced and the lineup appeared to be set and finalized, one thing stood out about the end to Phase 3. The logical ending point would have seemed to be the second Infinity Wars, but it was actually Inhumans in 2019. Marvel ultimately cancelled the movie after three other films were added; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Ant-Man and Wasp; and Captain Marvel. Now that Black Bolt and the rest of the Royal Family are headed for an Inhumans television show, could Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 be taking its place?
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn labored long and hard over whether or not to return for a third (and possibly final) Guardians movie. At the end of the day, Gunn loved the fans, films, and experience of working on a project like the MCU so much, he announced his decision on Facebook with a release so filled with passion, it made fans excited for a movie whose prequel they’ve not yet seen.
The ever-candid Gunn also said something that could possibly mean the addition of yet another film to the final phase of this iteration of the MCU. While Gunn acknowledged that all of the movies had a role to play in the build-up of a story this large, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will happen in the aftermath of it all and it will serve as a launching pad or seeing off point for Marvel’s next big project. Here is a snippet of Gunn’s Facebook post:
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. 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.
It feels like it’s outlined in there with all but a confirmation from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. The first three phases have hit their ten-year mark and if Feige and Gunn are planning to use these characters for the next decade, one would assume that the groundwork will need to be put down ahead of the beginning of Phase 4. This is where Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 becomes the replacement, but what sort of projects will be launched from this pad as Phase 3 concludes?
There have been a bevy of characters introduced throughout the MCU. Some of them as a story (Celestials), Others are just now being explored and fleshed out by the company (multiverse and multi-dimensions). We have seen the potential set up of Nova in the previous Guardians of the Galaxy film, Thanos still needs to collect the stone from the Nova Corps and ending their civilization could be the easiest path to setting up Sam Alexander. Picture Thanos showing up to Xandar with a couple of the stones, knowing that Nova Prime had it hidden away. The last thing we see is Xandar exploding and a helmet flying into space. I know fans may want to see Richard Rider, but Marvel’s mandate seems to be youthful and characters they’re currently selling in books. Alexander would be the choice here.
There are also a number of characters barely getting off the ground. Doctor Strange is the likely replacement for the Iron Man films. Benedict Cumberbatch has a million and one things going for him, the first of which is that he can command a team. Carol Danvers has yet to make her debut and there will be a multitude of stories to explore there. They could look at Binary or Warbird, the options are endless with Danvers because her character is about endless female empowerment. There are none tougher than Captain Danvers and fans should expect actress Brie Larson and the films will reflect that character trait.
Chadwick Boseman has also just begun his foray into the MCU. The Black Panther is one of Marvel’s biggest staples and the stories they could tell with Namor, whose rights recently reverted back to Marvel. Marvel just began exploring hero versus hero and that happens a lot in the comics. Namor and his ongoing war with Wakanda would make for thrilling viewing. Boseman, Cumberbatch, and Larson represent but a few of Marvel future storylines.
Now that Spider-Man is back in the fold, there are a number of stories Marvel can tell using him in the MCU. Logistics will have to be worked out with Sony, but I am sure that won’t be a problem when they see the return rate they get on Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wherever the Guardians decide to take us on their third and potentially final journey, I am willing, ready, and excited to see. The future of Marvel Studios is brighter than its ever been and they’re only just getting started.