guardians of the galaxy vol. 2 concept art

James Gunn is currently hard at work crafting the third film of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, which is supposed to be the conclusion of the Guardians team as we know it. And while the script hasn’t been nailed down yet, and an official release date has yet to be announced, it certainly looks like the plan is to release Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in Summer 2020. Let’s take a look at what director James Gunn said to make me believe this.

guardians of the galaxy vol 3 logo

Talking to Collider for the home video release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, James Gunn said that it will be “a little more than year” before they begin filming on the third installment and though they haven’t announced the release date yet for Vol. 3, he knows “when the basic time is.”

If we look at the historical information about the making of the previous Marvel movies, we see that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 started filming in February 2016 for a May 2017 release. Both films have been released during the Summer season – Vol. 1 in July and Vol. 2 in May – so I’d assume that Vol. 3 will also be slotted in a Summer release date. So an early 2019 shooting start seems about right for a Summer 2020 release.

Marvel Studios Logo

Possible Marvel Phase 4 Movie Calendar

For those wondering, here is the current Marvel release schedule, along with some educated guesses to help fill in the gaps. The movies marked with an asterisk are educated predictions on my part:

  • Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017
  • Black Panther – February 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018
  • Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019
  • Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019
  • Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel – July 5, 2019
  • May 1, 2020: (* probably Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3)
  • August 7, 2020: ??? (likely a new franchise)
  • November 6, 2020: (* probably Doctor Strange 2)
  • *Unannounced Marvel Movie – Feb/March 2021 (possibly Black Panther 2)
  • *Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (probably Summer 2021)
  • *Unannounced Marvel Movie – Late 2021 (probably Ant-Man 3)
  • *Captain Marvel 2 – Early 2022
  • *Avengers 5 – Summer 2022 (possibly Secret Invasion or Secret Wars?)
  • *Unannounced Marvel Movie – Late 2022 (likely a new franchise)

Marvel now releases three films each year, usually in the following slots: one early in the year (February/March), one at the beginning of Summer (April/May) and one in late Summer (July/August) or Fall (November). The scheduling is dependent on many factors, including competition and other films being released by the Walt Disney Company. One of those slots is usually a new franchise, while the other two are typically sequels. Marvel has also taken a stance so far on developing trilogies with their franchises and moving on. We don’t expect to see a fourth Iron Man or Captain America film anytime soon.

Let’s break this down further:

  • Doctor Strange came out in November 2016, and usually, Marvel has their first sequel two or, at most, three years later. Black Panther 2 will likely have a 2020 or 2021 release date, and Ant-Man 3 will probably hit in late 2021.
  • We know Sony and Marvel Studios are planning three Spider-Man movies, and those have been coming two years apart.
  • They also have a track record of introducing a new franchise once a year at this point, so one of my guesses for where Ant-Man 3 or Black Panther 2 slot in might be wrong, as it could be another original franchise in 2021.
  • And there is also the possibility that Marvel could start releasing four movies a year, something even Kevin Feige has acknowledged in the past. If this were to happen, it would probably happen at earliest 2020.

The biggest question with this timetable is what Marvel is planning for the August 7, 2020 slot. I’m betting it’s a new original franchise, but which one? Could it be the Adam Warlock movie or a Ravagers film, both teased at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?

stallone guardians

Could The Ravagers Get Their Own Movie?

Gunn was asked if there was any movement on a separate Guardians of the Galaxy movie with the original team, introduced in the Vol. 2 post-credits scene. Gunn slyly played coy, saying:

“There’s always discussion with Ravagers — it would be The Ravagers. It’s always a possibility. I would be excited.”

That team features Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord, Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex, Ving Rhames as Charlie-27, Michelle Yeoh as Stakar’s female counterpart Aleta Ogord, and CG characters Krugarr and Mainframe, with the latter voiced by Miley Cyrus. Gunn has previously stated that we’d see more from the team in the future of MCU’s cosmic universe, but didn’t specifically state if that would be in a Guardians movie or elsewhere.

Gunn reiterated that Vol. 3 will be “the third act,” which will hopefully wrap up the story in many ways:

“We get a lot of answers on a lot of different things, so doing that in an elegant way takes a little bit of grace and elegance. It’s more challenging in that respect writing the third movie than the second movie.”

Gunn also admits that the third film will be called Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 “unless something changes.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be released on digital this Tuesday and on Blu-ray August 22, 2017.

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