Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 3: Release Date, Cast, And More

(Welcome to ...And More, our no-frills, zero B.S. guide to when and where you can watch upcoming movies and shows, and everything else you could possibly stand to know.)

Round up the usual cosmic suspects for another superhero space adventure with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." This is the end of the line for the current incarnation of the Guardians, so fans might want to bring a few tissues with them. If you saw the first trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," then you'll know you should be ready to face the music and see the team "fly away together, one last time, into the forever and beautiful sky."

Before that, they'll try to break the curse of the threequel, whereby the third installment in a movie trilogy is sometimes — though not always — inferior to the first two. Who better to do that than your favorite green-skinned aliens (Gamora and Drax), a talking space raccoon (Rocket), a sentient, monosyllabic tree (Groot), a cyborg assassin (Nebula), another alien empath with antennae (Mantis), and a half-human, half-Celestial with the face and Mario voice of Chris Pratt (Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord)?

Just another day in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here's everything we know about "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

What is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3?

This may sound like an easy "Jeopardy!" answer, framed like a question for the quiz-show audience, but it's a big galaxy. And there are still some corners of it where the Guardians of the Galaxy may not be known (or, if they are known, they may still be easily confused with other superheroes, like Ant-Man is with Spider-Man in his own MCU threequel).

For the uninitiated: "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is the 32nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. It's the conclusion of an intended trilogy with the founding roster of Guardians, led by Star-Lord. They were first introduced in the 2014 film, "Guardians of the Galaxy," before reappearing in the 2017 sequel, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."

Though it's been six years since the team had their own film, they also showed up in "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame," and twice in 2022 with "Thor: Love and Thunder" and "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 release date and where you can watch it

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" rockets into theaters on Friday, May 5, 2023.

All three MCU films in 2022 had at least a 45-day window of theatrical exclusivity, with "Thor: Love and Thunder" stretching that out to two months and "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" stretching it out even further to 80-plus days. Presumably, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will follow suit and head to the Disney+ streaming service later this summer. Until then, you can catch it at the multiplex.

Who's in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast?

The biggest piece of casting news for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is that it's bringing in Will Poulter to portray Adam Warlock. Elizabeth Debicki is back as his gold-skinned creator, Ayesha, while "Peacemaker" actor Chukwudi Iwuj is reuniting with James Gunn to play the villainous High Evolutionary, another major Marvel Comics character.

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff are all set to return as the main cast for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Those are the established, core team members, but they'll also be joined by Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Spacedog, Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord, and Rocket Raccoon's on-set motion-capture performer, Sean Gunn, as Kraglin. These three supporting characters were all introduced in previous outings.

After Saldana's character, Gamora, died in "Infinity War," she was replaced in the present by another time-slipped version of herself in "Avengers: Endgame." So, the Gamora you see in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will be a different version of the same character, played by the same actress. The Super Bowl trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" riffs on this, with Pratt explaining as Peter Quill that he "met a girl, fell in love, that girl died, but then she came back."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 director, writer, and more

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is written and directed by James Gunn, who also helmed the first two movies and is the chief creative force behind this series. Producer and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige originally gave Gunn more leeway than other filmmakers due to the obscure nature of the Guardians as comic book characters.

After some controversial old tweets of his resurfaced, Gunn was fired from the third Guardians movie, then subsequently rehired. This is part of the reason why there's a six-year gap between "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." In the interim, Gunn has kept busy with superhero projects, but he went to work for Marvel's Distinguished Competition, steering another tentpole film and spin-off HBO Max series with the DC Comics adaptations "The Suicide Squad" and "Peacemaker." In 2022, Gunn became the DC equivalent of Feige as co-chair and co-CEO of DC Studios alongside Peter Safran.

Henry Braham is returning to handle the cinematography for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," while John Murphy is taking over from Tyler Bates as composer of the film's score (which will, of course, be supplemented by the usual soundtrack full of needle drops, courtesy of Peter Quill's new antique Zune music player).

What is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 rated?

The most recent Super Bowl trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" carries the standard message, "This film is not yet rated," at the end. It's usually not until a film gets closer to its theatrical release that it receives an MPA (Motion Picture Association, formerly MPAA) rating. However, every MCU film to date, including the first two "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies, has been rated PG-13.

Though writer-director James Gunn likes to push the envelope in some of his work, it seems unlikely that Marvel Studios will conclude the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trilogy by breaking from PG-13 tradition. There's always an off-chance it could happen, since the generation of 13-year-olds who watched the first film are now 22-year-olds. But more likely, "Vol. 3" will be tailored to earn another PG-13 rating, like "Vol. 2" did for "Sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive content."

If you're thinking about bringing your kids to see this movie, just be aware that PG-13 does technically mean "Parents Strongly Cautioned" and "Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13."

Who is Adam Warlock?

We've got a whole study guide on Adam Warlock and some of the other new characters in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." But if you just want the Warlock crash course, he's a major Marvel Comics character who helped rally Earth's heroes against Thanos in "The Infinity Gauntlet" miniseries. He and his evil doppleganger, the Magus, were also prominent characters in the 1992 comic book sequel "Infinity War," namesake of the 2018 Avengers film.

Warlock later led the Infinity Watch, a team charged with safekeeping the Infinity Stones (then called the Infinity Gems in the comics). He possessed the Soul Stone, which is the same stone Thanos sacrificed Gamora for in the "Avengers: Infinity War" movie.

Introducing Adam Warlock into the MCU after the events of "Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" means his story will be different than what it was in the comics. Moviegoers already saw Warlock's birthing pod teased in one of the mid-credits scenes for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." After Ayesha, Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign, failed in her first attempt to get revenge on the Guardians for stealing her space batteries (it's complicated), she created "Adam," the next stage in Sovereign evolution, to finish the job.

Though Warlock is, per James Gunn, "definitely not a good guy" in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," he's affiliated with the Guardians as a team member in the comics. It's not a stretch to think that, as he matures beyond the emotional intelligence level of a "malevolent baby," Warlock might someday become an enemy-turned-friend, like Nebula.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will probably mark Dave Bautista's last time playing Drax

Dave Bautista's stock as an actor has risen since he first played Drax the Destroyer in "Guardians of the Galaxy" back in 2014. At the time, Bautista was still known primarily as a wrestler-turned-actor, with his 2012 role as Brass Body in "The Man with the Iron Fists" keeping him covered in CG metal armor (not unlike the layer of green prosthetics necessary to transform him into Drax).

Since then, Bautista has built up an impressive resume outside the MCU, costarring with Daniel Craig in "Spectre" and "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" and working with director Denis Villeneuve on "Blade Runner 2049" and "Dune," for starters. He's also emerged as more of a lead actor, not just in "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," but in M. Night Shyamalan's "Knock at the Cabin."

Bautista has made it clear that he doesn't want "Guardians" to be his only legacy, and he's also said that Drax's story ends "the perfect way" in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." It's clear that he's ready to move on from the role of Drax and pursue other acting opportunities outside Marvel and the superhero genre. While this doesn't necessarily mean Drax is destined to die in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," it might not be such a bad idea to start an office death pool (not to be confused with incoming MCU antihero, Deadpool) for this trilogy-ender.

Will a major character die in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3?

From the very beginning, death has been a part of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" film series, with Groot sacrificing himself in the first movie, then coming back as Baby Groot. Now, he's muscled up as "Swole Groot" in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

Spoiler alert: Peter Quill's blue-skinned, mohawked, adoptive space pirate father, Yondu (Michael Rooker), died in "Vol. 2." James Gunn has confirmed that Yondu is one character who's not coming back for any sequels, so there's a precedent for major Guardians characters dying, and not all of them have the good fortune to return in a different form like Groot and Gamora, the latter of whom perished in "Avengers: Infinity War."

While Marvel has been known to give misdirection and conceal surprises with digitally altered trailers, as in the case of "Infinity War" and "Spider-Man: No Way Home," the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" trailers show Nebula carrying Peter Quill's body. They also show Gamora and Mantis helping a (mortally?) wounded Drax along. It's possible Quill or Drax could die, or it's possible Marvel is just putting these images out there ahead of time to mentally prepare the audience for the eventuality that someone (maybe one or more major characters) will die.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will delve into the origin of Rocket as a genetically engineered creature, giving him an otter love interest named Lylla, among other things. Gunn has said that he personally relates to Rocket and that the biggest incentive for him to return to the director's chair was finishing out Rocket's arc. If Rocket is the heart and soul of the Guardians, then his heroic demise could also potentially bring an end to this incarnation of the team.

Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 the last Guardians movie?

After 2023, it's possible we'll still see members of the Guardians show up in other MCU movies or Disney+ shows. The "Guardians of the Galaxy" film series could even potentially carry on with a fourth installment. However, this is James Gunn's last Marvel film for the foreseeable future, and based on comments that he's made, any hypothetical fourth movie would feature a different incarnation of the team.

We can only speculate that it might contain a ragtag assortment of old and new members, including a certain someone named Adam Warlock. It could also pull from the ranks of Sylvester Stallone's Ravagers team from the mid-credits scene of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." They might even do some mix-and-match cosmic version of the Guardians of the Multiverse team from the MCU animated series "What If...?" on Disney+. After all, the Guardians of the Multiverse did include an alternate Gamora, voiced by a different actress than Zoe Saldana.

Where to watch previous Guardians of the Galaxy movies

"Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" are both available to stream on Disney+ already. This is also where you can stream "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," which serves as a bridge between "Vol. 2" and "Vol. 3," introducing Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Space Dog and deepening the connection between Mantis and Peter Quill.

Watch the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Here's the official plot synopsis for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" from Marvel Studios:

In Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 our beloved band of misfits are looking a bit different these days. Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.