Now that Marvel operates the biggest moviemaking juggernaut on the planet, things that used to happen by chance now happen by choice. While there’ll always be room for happy accidents in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the MCU now means so much, to so many, that charting its long-term course takes serious planning.
You’d think, then, that the potentially huge delay for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might create all kinds of chaos as Marvel shuffles its post-Avengers: Endgame deck of movies. Originally positioned as one of the very first MCU movies to front-load Marvel’s post-Avengers cycle, it now appears that Guardians 3 will instead arrive somewhere closer to the middle or end of the new MCU timeline.
Surely a change that big will have an enormous effect on the overall story beats in Marvel’s crossover movie-verse, right? Whatever Marvel’s new saga might be, won’t its creators have to go back to the drawing board now that Guardians 3 won’t be arriving for several more years? And won’t Guardians 3 itself have to change its story to account for whatever Marvel sets up in all the movies that are coming out between then and now?
Not necessarily, says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Speaking recently with io9, Feige said that James Gunn, the once and future Guardians Vol. 3 director, is really holding all the cards when it comes to making big-picture changes that could send ripples not only through his own movie but out to other Marvel films — and he doesn’t necessarily think any of those ripples would rock the boat.
“In terms of storyline, the answer is ‘I don’t think so,’” said Feige, responding to a question about how the Guardians Vol. 3 delay will affect its plot. “Unless James comes back and says, ‘Hey, I learned this thing. I want to try this thing’ or adapts his script that he’s already written.”
Without giving much away, Feige also confirmed that Guardians Vol. 3 was originally meant to be released earlier in the timeline. “I will say we’re delaying when the film would have originally been,” he said. “But thankfully [Gunn] is back, and he’s doing it, and all is right with the world.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was originally penciled in to release next year, before controversy led to Gunn being momentarily fired from the project and, in the meantime, taking on directing duties for DC’s The Suicide Squad. Thanks to that move, Guardians Vol. 3 reportedly won’t start production until Gunn can turn his full attention away from DC and back to Marvel.
While we don’t know exactly when that will be, we do at least know it’ll be sometime after August of 2021, when Gunn’s The Suicide Squad hits theaters. In the meantime, we still have to make it across the April 26 finish line of the current MCU saga, when Avengers: Endgame finally arrives.