Get Ready To Cry As James Gunn Confirms Some Of The Guardians Of The Galaxy Will Die In Vol. 3

There's no shortage of emotional moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While a number of those instances are celebratory, there are just as many heartbreaking ones as well. Steve Rogers' goodbye to Peggy Carter in "Captain America: The First Avenger," Aunt May's demise courtesy of the Green Goblin, Angela Bassett's whole performance in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," and basically all of "Avengers: Endgame" come to mind.

In terms of consistently hitting you right in the feels, James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy" series delivers each time. All you have to do is recall the quotes "We are Groot" and "He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn't your daddy," and you know exactly what I'm talking about. But as we prepare for the final chapter of the fan-favorite filmmaker's story about this lovable bunch of a-holes, Gunn recently shared that there are still some tear-inducing moments on the horizon.

Previously, before the trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" dropped in late 2022, the writer/director of these acclaimed films mentioned to Deadline that this is "the last time people will see this team of Guardians." While the possibility of major deaths loomed in the minds of True Believers, that could have meant that the team of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Mantis, Nebula, and Groot would be following different paths by the end of the third movie. However, while speaking to Empire Magazine to promote the film in their latest issue, he teased, "Some of them are not coming back."

So yeah, that's pretty clear that someone is biting the dust while remaining entirely vague, right? Now, as we get closer to this highly anticipated summer release, we can't help but wonder who we're saying goodbye to from the team.

Those who dance, and those who do not

After traveling a bit of a rocky road that included Gunn getting fired and rehired, production on "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" wrapped in May 2022. Throughout the process, various cast members spoke about what this meant for their characters in the long run. Karen Gillan talked about Nebula's final chapter. Zoe Saldana discussed how bittersweet the shoot was and how she's already nostalgic for it. And recently, Dave Bautista shared that he's already looking to more dramatic roles because his time as Drax is over.

But does that mean that their characters will surely perish before that trademark Marvel Studios post-credits scene? Not necessarily. In the same vein of vague statements that we could read too much into, Gunn talked about where Peter Quill is mentally when we catch up with him. As we saw in "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" on Disney+, he's definitely feeling the effects of the Gamora situation following "Avengers: Endgame." 

The filmmaker expanded on that in the Empire interview. "I would say Peter's kind of a mess," he says. "I think he's suffering from major detachment issues." I can't think of any detachment issue being more major than being dead, so does that mean that Quill is on the chopping block? While it could be a possibility, there's another member of the team that seems like a more prominent candidate.

I don't got that long a lifespan anyway

In the first trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," amidst the signature humor that we've come to know and love from these characters, it's hard not to feel that somber vibe intertwined throughout the preview. And though Chris Pratt's team leader is at the center of a number of these emotional scenes, there are far more glimpses of Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon. In particular, there seems to be a special focus on his backstory. Reiterating previous sentiments about getting the opportunity to complete his trilogy, Gunn told Empire, "I needed to finish the story. And especially I needed to finish Rocket's story." As if the use of the word "finish" in that statement weren't enough to signal a finite ending for the character, he continued:

"For me, he was always the secret protagonist of the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' movies. You've never seen Rocket in any movie not do something altruistic. He's never done anything other than for his friends. He's not a hero in the typical sense of the word. Telling his story was really important to me."

Listen, if this is where things are heading, I don't know if I'm ready for Rocket to die. The surly trash panda with a heart of gold has been through a lot and he deserves nice things. But if James Gunn needs this to be a part of the story he's been telling for over a decade, then we'll just have to go along for the ride because he hasn't steered us wrong yet. Just be sure to have your preferred brand of tissues ready when the Guardians take off on their last mission later this year.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" premieres in theaters on May 5, 2023.