thor timeline

During Marvel Studios’ Comic-Con panel this past weekend, producer Kevin Feige confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still happening, though it won’t be included in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But when Thor: Love and Thunder was announced on the Hall H stage, that left many fans wondering about the future of Thor.

At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder leaves New Asgard in Valkyrie’s capable hands and heads off with the Guardians for some space adventures (and presumably to find Gamora). But will Guardians Vol. 3 or Thor: Love and Thunder pick up that story?

Guardians Vol. 3 writer/director James Gunn is busy making The Suicide Squad over at WB/DC, but in a recent Instagram comment, he seemed to give an answer. See what he said below, and we’ll explore how either scenario could affect Thor’s potential storyline.

James Gunn Insta comment

James Gunn’s Answer

In the comments of a recent Instagram post in which he congratulated the Avengers: Endgame team for breaking the all-time box office record, Gunn was asked if Thor: Love and Thunder is before or after Guardians 3, and he responded, “Before.”

Let’s get this out of the way: there is a chance he could be answering this question literally and simply confirming that the new Thor movie will be released before Guardians 3. We reached out to Gunn for clarification, but we have not heard back yet. (I’ll update this article if we do.) But for now, let’s try to examine each scenario individually.

If Thor: Love and Thunder is Set Before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Will director Taika Waititi and his Love and Thunder writer(s) instantly resume Thor’s story from the last place we saw him on screen? It wouldn’t be the first time that a filmmaker who isn’t James Gunn would direct the Guardians in a movie, but it would be the first non-Avengers movie to do so. Gunn has such a specific take on his characters, and I’m curious to see if another director would want to step on his territory a little bit by including the Guardians as supporting players for the entirety of a solo movie.

But the first act of Love and Thunder could easily be a team-up story before Thor has to eventually go off and deal with the movie’s main plot, giving Marvel Studios some extra draw at the box office by being able to include a beloved superhero team in another hero’s solo film. (Maybe Quill purposefully leaves Thor behind during a job because he’s scared of losing what little power he has?) Ultimately, it seems equally plausible that Love and Thunder could begin with Thor and the Guardians teamed up or start with him separated from the group.

If Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is Set Before Thor: Love and Thunder

If this scenario plays out, it may require a bit more heavy lifting on Marvel’s part because of the whole Thor timeline. Love and Thunder is part of Phase 4, so it will have already come and gone from theaters by the time Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives (which is likely in Phase 5). Assuming Love and Thunder doesn’t include the Guardians squad as supporting cast members for its whole story, that means Guardians Vol. 3 may be tasked with filling in the gaps and explaining how Thor and the Guardians went their separate ways.

That might be slightly more confusing than Marvel wants to get with its timeline – yes, Black Widow will be a quasi-prequel set after Captain America: Civil War, but at least audiences know that she died in Endgame, so they don’t have to wonder about why those events aren’t at the end of her linear story. And considering that Gunn has hinted that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be an emotional ending for this iteration of the team, and that he didn’t have anything to do with Thor teaming up with the Guardians at the end of Endgame, and that the Guardians 3 script has been completed for a long time already, I wonder if Gunn is just going to let Waititi return things to the status quo in Thor: Love and Thunder before stepping back into the MCU and concluding the story he began back in 2014.

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