'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3' Takes Place After 'Infinity War', Says James Gunn

It doesn't get more official than this: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn has confirmed that the upcoming sequel will take place after Avengers: Infinity War. This news puts the kibosh in the Russo Brothers' claim that the third entry in the Guardian franchise might be set before Infinity War. Spoilers for Infinity War follow.

The end of Avengers: Infinity War was shocking, but it also created a unique problem for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the dramatic conclusion, half of the universe's population is erased from existence – including every member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, save for Rocket (and Nebula, if you want to count her as a Guardian member).

But here's the thing: we already knew Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would hit theaters after Infinity War. Which would mean that the "deaths" in Infinity War couldn't really be permanent, unless Vol. 3 was going to be solely focused on Rocket and Nebula.

Despite this foreknowledge, Infinity War directors the Russo Brothers have been swearing up and down that the deaths in Infinity War are permanent. When pressed for an explanation as to how a film like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might work if all the team members are dead and gone, Anthony Russo said:

"Here's the thing, I think it's important to remember anything is possible in the MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe]. Just because there's a sequel on the books doesn't mean ... people become accustomed to time moving linearly in the MCU. That doesn't necessarily have to be the case. There's a lot of very inventive ways of where the story can go."

Joe Russo added:

"There's four years between Guardians 2 and Infinity War. That's a long time, and a lot of Guardians stories to tell. Again, as Anthony said, don't expect everything to move forward in a linear fashion in the Marvel universe."

But now we can put this obfuscating to bed. A fan reached out to director James Gunn on Twitter for an answer as to when Guardians Vol. 3 might be set, and Gunn firmly replied that the film would indeed take place after Infinity War.

Of course, one could argue that Gamora was the only Guardian who technically died in Infinity War, and the others just simply evaporated. But I have a hard time believing that Guardians Vol. 3 would bring every team member back except Gamora.

All in all, it's somewhat refreshing to see Gunn state the obvious here. Yesterday, Guardians star Chris Pratt tried to dance around the issue, telling MTV that the upcoming film "might take place in the past. It might be a prequel." Gunn clearly has no interest in keeping this ruse going, and honestly, that's for the best. Will this create an issue with the ending of Infinity War? Sure! But I have no doubt that Avengers 4 will clarify things when it hits theaters next year.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters in 2020.