It's been almost four years since the last Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and we still have a while to wait before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is actually something we can head to the theater and watch, but things are in motion behind the scenes. According to writer/director James Gunn, who's stuck with the project through a long road of delays and setbacks — including his own removal and reinstatement — the third adventure for Marvel's cosmic team of misfits will finally start production later this year.
Responding to fan questions on Twitter this week, Gunn was first asked about the status of Peacemaker, the HBO Max spinoff series focused on his The Suicide Squad character of the same name, played by John Cena. After Gunn confirmed that he's at work filming the series right now, a fan followed up to ask when filming will actually start on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn's answer was a simple confirmation: "This year."
Beyond that, and confirming that the title for the film is still simply Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gunn couldn't say much, but he did tease that we can expect to see even more new planets and alien creatures this time around.
These are, of course, fairly simple confirmations of movement on the production, but they're exciting in part because for fans of this particular franchise they almost feel like light at the end of a very long, strange tunnel. At one point just a few years ago, Gunn was all set to move right into working on his third Guardians film when the Walt Disney Company abruptly fired him from the production after alt-right websites resurfaced offensive jokes made years earlier on his Twitter page.
Gunn was eventually reinstated less than a year later, but by the time he was brought back into the Marvel Studios fold he'd already landed another high-profile comic book movie gig making The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. The last couple of years have been consumed by that project, which then also grew during Gunn's COVID-19 lockdown to include the Peacemaker series now filming for HBO Max. Later this year, after all that, he'll finally get back to the Guardians.
Fortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy fans do get a little consolation prize for all that waiting. While he films the third film in the series, Gunn will also be at work on a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special set to air on Disney+ late next year. Of course, the Guardians themselves have also been busy with the past couple of Avengers movies, plus the upcoming fourth Thor film.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now set to arrive in theaters sometime in 2023, following a reshuffled Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 schedule that now includes Black Widow (July 9, 2021), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3, 2021), Eternals (November 5), Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021), and 2022 releases for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Mandess,Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther II, Captain Marvel 2, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.