Let's Look To The Future Of Every Surviving Character In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

 


Warning: this post contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3."


Director James Gunn announced long ago that his new film "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will be his last in this particular series. Gunn has famously moved over to Warner Bros. to construct a brand new interconnected series of movies based on DC Comics, leaving him no time to play around with the Marvel Comics characters he helped popularize on film. As such, "Vol. 3" feels very much like a "final chapter," as several characters will end up parting ways. Contrary to what popular wisdom might dictate, Gunn does not take the opportunity to kill off his entire cast by the end, leaving them all alive to pursue their passions. Many of the Guardians, however, will retire. The fact that any one of their stories has a proper ending is a rarity for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More often, superheroes are pushed forward to their next movie, eternally stuck in their own second act. When a character dies or retires, the novelty alone makes it a great — if sometimes wistful — relief.

To offer succor to Guardians fans who would like to see their adventures continue, worry not. Some of the characters will remain uniformed members of their loose-knit team of mercenaries. The team, however, will look different than it has in the past. Leadership will be passed to a new, worthy successor, and those who want to achieve a life of quiet and contemplation will achieve it. The end of "Vol. 3" is more about offering rewards to hard-working heroes than ending their lives in a dramatic fashion. 


Let's look at each member of the team as they face their futures, and see what might be in store.


The new team




Let's Look To The Future Of Every Surviving Character In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

Marvel Studios

BY WITNEY SEIBOLD/MAY 5, 2023 2:00 PM EST

Warning: this post contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3."


Director James Gunn announced long ago that his new film "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will be his last in this particular series. Gunn has famously moved over to Warner Bros. to construct a brand new interconnected series of movies based on DC Comics, leaving him no time to play around with the Marvel Comics characters he helped popularize on film. As such, "Vol. 3" feels very much like a "final chapter," as several characters will end up parting ways. Contrary to what popular wisdom might dictate, Gunn does not take the opportunity to kill off his entire cast by the end, leaving them all alive to pursue their passions. Many of the Guardians, however, will retire. The fact that any one of their stories has a proper ending is a rarity for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More often, superheroes are pushed forward to their next movie, eternally stuck in their own second act. When a character dies or retires, the novelty alone makes it a great — if sometimes wistful — relief.




To offer succor to Guardians fans who would like to see their adventures continue, worry not. Some of the characters will remain uniformed members of their loose-knit team of mercenaries. The team, however, will look different than it has in the past. Leadership will be passed to a new, worthy successor, and those who want to achieve a life of quiet and contemplation will achieve it. The end of "Vol. 3" is more about offering rewards to hard-working heroes than ending their lives in a dramatic fashion. 


Let's look at each member of the team as they face their futures, and see what might be in store.


The new team

Marvel Studios

In a post-credits stinger, audiences are introduced to the new Guardians of the Galaxy. Over the course of the film, Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) faced a great deal of his childhood trauma, inflicted by a cruel mad scientist that made him the subject of strange, painful brain experiments. Rocket was left overwhelmingly intelligent, but recalls his time in the animal lab with doomed friends with sadness. He faced his abuser, took back his agency, and proved that he was able to lead others. Rocket is made the new leader of the Guardians. 

Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) is there as well, only he has grown. Seeing as Groot is a tree man, he continued to grow into a nine-foot behemoth. His powers, it seems, will only increase. One might hope he stops growing eventually, or else he might become a massive, Godzilla-type monster. Also on the team is Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), a character who was designed as the gofer for a Sovereign High Priestess, but who eventually gained a notable level of compassion. Cosmo the Space Dog (voice of Maria Bakalova) also remained on the team, as did Kraglin (Sean Gunn), a former Ravager still figuring out his superpowered, whistle-controlled spear he inherited from Yondu. This is as ragtag a group as the last one, and fun that there are no actual humans on board. 


As for the human of the team, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) was told late in the film that he, while being born on Earth, had never gone back there. In "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) went to Earth to kidnap Kevin Bacon, but Peter didn't go with them. The MCU is a universe with universe-hopping spacecraft, so there's no reason not to visit. 


Peter returns home.


Peter Quill, Mantis, Drax



Peter had previously refused to return to Earth, as he was abducted from there at age eight ... on the night when his mother succumbed to cancer. His grandfather (Gregg Henry) also didn't leave him with warm words. Peter lost his affection for his home planet years before, clinging only to 1980s American pop ephemera for happy memories. At the end of "Vol. 3," he decides to reconnect with his human family back at home. The final shot of the film is Peter Quill at home, eating a bowl of breakfast cereal. His life is now, mercifully, mundane. Although an on-screen chyron immediately informs us that Star-Lord will return. 

Mantis, meanwhile, has found that a species of vicious, rainbow-vomiting octopodes — the same species that caused the Guardians such headaches in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" — are actually sentient, intelligent beings. The film doesn't stop to ponder the fact that the Guardians used to murder these creatures as a matter of course, but it does stop to let Mantis contemplate the lives of a rescued octopus trio. She resolves to move into the heavens, caring for living things. The assumption is that she'll oversee a nature preserve. 

The literal-minded and socially tactless Drax, meanwhile, proved in the climax of "Vol. 3" that he works well with children. The film's villain, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), kept kids in cages for the purposes of medical experiments. Drax was able to keep the kids calm in a moment of chaos. When the children move to the Guardian's home of Knowwhere, Drax is appointed their wrangler and guardian. He, essentially, gets to retire to be a dad.

Gamora, Nebula



The "Vol. 3" version of Gamora (Zoe SaldaƱa) is actually a different version from the one seen in the previous "Guardians" movies. Thanks to some time-travel shenanigans, Gamora died, and then an alternate version of her was plucked from the past and placed in the present. As such, the new Gamora has no memories of Peter Quill or of her time with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, she remains a space pirate, called a Ravager. And while this Gamora may not be in love with Peter Quill, she ends the film admitting that he at least has the capacity to be a good romantic partner. To quote Cameron Crowe's film "Singles," "In a parallel universe, you and I are a pretty scorchin' couple." 


Gamora's android sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) seems content to care for the animals and children that the Guardians rescued at the end of the film and to rebuild Knowwhere, which had been severely damaged by Adam Warlock, and later by a vicious team of cyborg animal monsters. It's never explained how Knowwhere runs, what powers it, or how it maintains its gravity or atmosphere, but someone has to oversee the infrastructure. One can picture the previously vicious Nebula settling down into a bureaucratic job, passionate about making sure everything is in order. 

The High Evolutionary faced comeuppance. It seems like everyone is where they should be. Whether or not the Guardians' adventures continue on screen, this is a good spot to let them all go on their merry ways.


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