We've known for nearly a month that James Gunn plans another return to the cosmic corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but even as "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" burns up box offices worldwide, the filmmaker may have just hinted at when we can expect its sequel.
Gunn concluded a heartfelt message to "Guardians of the Galaxy" fans, published Saturday on Facebook, with, "I love you all, and I’ll continue being here with you over the next three years as we create Vol. 3." That presumably would put the film in theaters in 2020, which not only lines up with Marvel's known calendar -- 2019 appears to be filled up -- but also with recent comments made by studio President Kevin Feige.
Responding last month rumors of a "Doctor Strange" sequel as part of Marvel's Phase Four plans, Feige said, “Truthfully, other than knowing that we’re going to work with Sony on another Spider-Man film for that year and that James [Gunn] is committed to continuing with the ‘Guardians’ at some point, it’s all about Phase Three. I don’t even know if it will be called Phase Four. Things will be very different after 2019. After May of 2019.” That date is a reference to the untitled "Avengers" sequel, which will be joined (so far) that year by "Captain Marvel" and the follow-up to "Spider-Man: Homecoming."
Gunn recently revealed that, after lending a hand on "Avengers: Infinity War," he intends to get to work on "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," which he's somewhat-ominously said is "the end of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy." That of course suggests the upcoming sequel will introduce new team members, much in the way that "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Captain America: Civil War" did.
However, Gunn's influence on the more cosmic elements of the MCU likely won't end there, as Feige hinted at a larger role for the filmmaker following the release of "Infinity War."
“I think James in particular has an amazing connection with these characters and with this cosmic world. So he, I think, could easily oversee additional stories beyond ‘Vol. 3,'” he said. “I think has them and just continues to come up with them, which is cool. All of our core writers and filmmakers know what we are doing in other places and help give input on the various projects.”
In theaters now, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" stars Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Glenn Close as Irani Rael and Kurt Russell as Ego.