Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the final iteration of the current team, but where will James Gunn's movie end each character's story? It wasn't that long ago that Marvel Studios was said to be taking a risk by turning the Guardians of the Galaxy into a franchise. While the comic team was not well-known before 2014, the Guardians of the Galaxy's popularity has skyrocketed since then. They've had two successful solo movies, appeared in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, and briefly appeared again in Thor: Love and Thunder ahead of Gunn's final installment of the trilogy.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Even though Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 isn't coming out until May 2023, the film was originally envisioned as the launch of Phase 4. This was before James Gunn was fired due to old tweets and rehired after Disney changed its mind (and Gunn agreed to direct The Suicide Squad for DC). Fans are still waiting to see what the third entry in the Guardians franchise will hold and see what Gunn does with the characters he crafted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Multiple individuals involved with Guardians of the Galaxy 3 have teased it as an emotional ride, which has led to increased speculation about which characters will live and which ones will die.
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The popularity of the Guardians of the Galaxy characters in the MCU should mean that Marvel wants to keep as many of them around as possible. However, Gunn has great freedom with the franchise and is building Guardians of the Galaxy 3 towards a series finale he has long envisioned. This will likely mean that not all of the Guardians make it out of the third film alive. Meanwhile, Gunn's insistence that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is the end of this iteration of the team could mean that other characters live but leave the team. There are many possibilities for each character, so here are predictions for the fate of each member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
As the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the entire team's future could rest with Star-Lord. A now somewhat polarizing character in the MCU due to his actions in Avengers: Infinity War, the MCU's Peter Quill should still be part of the universe after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It is hard to imagine Gunn or Marvel Studios killing off Star-Lord, especially since Chris Pratt is eager to keep playing him. Since he's still one of the MCU's most recognizable faces, Pratt should be allowed to continue playing Star-Lord in the MCU. That is why this prediction has him surviving Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – but his role might change going forward.
Star-Lord's survival could even allow the upcoming movie to set up a future iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, including cosmic heroes like Adam Warlock, Quasar, Phyla-Vel, Moondragon, or Nova. However, since Gunn has confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy 3's story will be the final outing for this particular team, it seems doubtful that Quill will stay on as leader of the next generation of Guardians. More likely, the new team will feature all-new faces instead, and Star-Lord's future appearances (if there are any) could see him on a different path as he strikes out on his own.
It has commonly been predicted that Rocket Raccoon will die in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and it does seem likely that this is where his MCU story will end. Gunn has repeatedly confirmed that the movie will explore Rocket's origins and how he became a scientific experiment. This is expected to tie heavily into the villain of Guardians of the Galaxy 3, High Evolutionary, who will be played by Peacemaker's Chukwudi Iwuji. Since the threequel will primarily focus on Rocket's story, it would work well if Guardians of the Galaxy 3 kills Rocket Raccoon to give him a deservedly powerful send-off.
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It will undoubtedly be sad, but it would be fitting that Rocket dies in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 defeating the people who created him and saving his newfound family in the process. While it will also be surprising for the MCU to lose a fan-favorite CGI character they could theoretically use forever, there are plenty of reasons why Rocket dying makes sense for the film and his overall character arc.
Gamora's fate in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is likely to see her survive the movie. Zoe Saldana's character already died in Avengers: Infinity War, but Avengers: Endgame brought her back from the dead thanks to time travel. Now, with a slightly new version of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, it would be quite surprising (and repetitive) for Gamora to die again. However, she won't be with the Guardians when the movie begins (since she's instead leading the Ravagers), and the search for Gamora is expected to be central to the plot. This sets up the movie to establish what Gamora's MCU future will be, and it could be one without the Guardians of the Galaxy, at least for the time being.
One of the big questions looming over Gamora's MCU future is what will happen between her and Star-Lord. The version of Gamora that now exists in the MCU has no memories of their romantic history. This could mean that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be about Star-Lord trying to find her and get her back. But Gamora could ultimately decide to go off on her own and not rejoin the Guardians of the Galaxy, as a romance between Gamora and Adam Warlock could begin instead. As for what she'll do away from the Guardians, Gamora's future might lie with helping the very people Thanos' army hurt.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could also be where Drax's MCU story ends. Dave Bautista has openly discussed his withdrawal from the MCU after the third Guardians installment, and this movie is the best place to wrap up Drax's arc. Now that he's missed out on getting revenge on Thanos, Drax's story could go anywhere, but having him die in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 makes sense. He can sacrifice himself to protect the Guardians and even accept that he'll now get to "rejoin" his family. There is even the chance that Drax's death could have a larger impact on the threequel if it introduces Moondragon and makes her Drax's daughter like the comics. If Marvel doesn't want to risk recasting Dave Bautista's Drax, his death can work for Guardians of the Galaxy 3's story and factor in real-world elements that would otherwise impact Drax's MCU future.
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Karen Gillan's Nebula should live through the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. While there is an argument to be made that her MCU journey could be nearing its completion, Nebula's exit shouldn't come just yet. She can remain part of the new Guardians of the Galaxy team and help run the operation after years of working alongside the Avengers.
However, part of Nebula's fate also needs to be tied to what happens with Gamora. The MCU has managed to keep them apart to this point and prevent the sisters from developing a closer relationship. That could be part of Guardians of the Galaxy 3's story, but it would also be nice to see that carried through into the future. Perhaps Nebula takes some time away from the Guardians following the movie's events to be with Gamora, which could even lead to them forming the Graces, an all-female team from the comics led by Gamora.
It is difficult to imagine Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 leaving Groot's fate in any place other than alive. The CGI tree is a fan-favorite character and has already been used in different sizes throughout the MCU. Groot's future should be with the new Guardians of the Galaxy team too. After spending time as a baby and teenager, it would be a good time for Groot to return to his original size and become the protector of the group again. There is a chance that Groot's availability will be limited, though, as he could take some time away from the team to grieve Rocket's death. This might even allow the MCU to visit Groot's homeworld, Planet X, something Vin Diesel has teased could be in his future. Still, Groot can be the Chewbacca of the MCU's cosmic franchise and remain a key part of the Guardians of the Galaxy even as the team evolves.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 could set up Mantis to take on a much bigger role within the Guardians of the Galaxy team moving forward. The empath's story could evolve in several different ways in the movie, such as making Mantis Star-Lord's sister or teasing her place as the Celestial Madonna. Still, Mantis should remain with the team regardless. She only just joined the team in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and she can step up to fill the void left by Gamora, Rocket, Drax, and even Star-Lord. The comics saw Mantis playing a crucial role in Star-Lord's formation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. She probably doesn't need to psychically influence others to join the MCU's next iteration of the team, though. Her future after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might even include being the one to warn the Guardians of the coming Annihilation Wave, which would tease the next big cosmic event for the MCU.
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It's been confirmed for a while that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will officially introduce Will Poulter's Adam Warlock, and his fate after the film will likely have ongoing implications given his important role in the Marvel comics. Given his creation by Ayesha in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the threequel will likely see Warlock start as an antagonist to the Guardians but ultimately come around to help them face off against High Evolutionary. The character is most often portrayed as a hero in the comics and could be an important member of the new Guardians of the Galaxy moving forward. For these reasons, he's very likely to survive Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Given that the MCU has already handled Warlock's primary conflict from the comics (defeating Thanos in Infinity War), the so-called "perfect being" will have to be put to a different use in the Marvel movies moving forward, but his inclusion is exciting for this reason – the MCU's Adam Warlock is a clean slate.