Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn didn’t say much in his recent, terse tweet about when in the MCU timeline Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will unfold. But for fans shocked by the way things turned out for Gamora and most of the other Guardians by the time the end credits rolled in Avengers: Infinity War, he seems to have said it all.
In response to a fan’s direct question about when Guardians 3 will take place, Gunn kept things simple: The third installment, said Gunn, will definitely happen after all the tragic events we’ve already witnessed in Infinity War.
How that’s supposed to happen after everyone but Rocket Raccoon vanished (or outright died) in Infinity War is a mystery, but this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe we’re dealing with, and even Infinity War directors Anthony and Joseph Russo have suggested that there are all kinds of ways to tell interesting stories via looping timelines, alternate universes, warring realities, and more.
At the very least, Gunn’s tweet appears to quash rumors that have been buzzing ever since Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) quipped recently at an MTV red carpet event that the next Guardians film “might take place in the past.”
Gunn recently confirmed that he’s been working on the Guardians 3 script for more than a year, and, perhaps more tellingly, that “the overall Marvel plan almost never comes up” in discussions with the studio about where he wants to take his characters.
There’s almost a year still to go before Avengers 4 gets its own chance to explain the ultimate fate of all those Marvel characters who fell to Thanos’ universe-dominating ambitions. But that’s still plenty of lead time ahead of the targeted 2020 release of Guardians 3 to give the Guardians (even perhaps Gamora) a second lease on life.
And even if Avengers 4 doesn’t smooth out what could well be shaping up to become the next MCU timeline paradox, it's at least reassuring that Gunn has the freedom to keep telling stories in his corner of the MCU.