Everything we know about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: release date, plot, cast

Guardians of the Galaxy_ship
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Get hooked on a feeling as we run down everything we know about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 including the release date, cast , and plot.

Following Marvel Studios’ big show at San Diego Comic-Con (opens in new tab) (SDCC) in July, we have a clearer idea of what to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the coming years. And that includes several new movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is set to arrive in 2023 – not to be confused with the upcoming The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special that arrives on November 25.

Phase 5 is kicking off next February with the next Ant-Man movie, and Phase 6 will start in early 2025 with a new Fantastic Four reboot (opens in new tab). You might have noticed the next two phases will be shorter than usual, but with so many new MCU installments coming out after the introduction of Disney Plus shows, Marvel Studios is putting out new projects at an unprecedented rate. Therefore, it makes sense that the “Multiverse Saga” – supposedly ending in 2026 with Avengers: Secret Wars – will take less time to fully develop than the “Infinity Saga” (2008-2019).

Guardians of the Galaxy_Mantis, Star-Lord, and Thor

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

As far as we know, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 won’t deal with the multiverse, unlike this year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or 2021’s Loki season 1 and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Instead, the third Guardians movie will focus on giving a final act to its main characters’ personal arcs after their time adventuring with Thor. Whether they show up in future MCU installments, as suggested in these Marvel Comic storylines, is anyone’s guess.

Now that you’re up to speed on the current state of the MCU and what’s coming next, read on below to learn more about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. If you need to catch up with Marvel’s theatrical releases, check out our guide to all of the Marvel movies in order that have been released so far – remember that the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever puts an end to Phase 4.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the following movies: Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Avengers: Infinity War.

What is the release date for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Guardians of the Galaxy_Star-Lord

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is currently set to release on May 5, 2023, both in the U.S. and the U.K. Other international markets will share the same date, while many others still don’t have a definitive one. We wouldn’t be surprised if some of them got the movie one week early as is usual with most theatrical releases from Marvel.

This puts the third Guardians less than three months away from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which is beaming down on February 17, 2023. As you can see, Marvel Studios is going all-out with zany science fiction to start Phase 5. Maybe they’re hoping to earn a spot on our best sci-fi movies list?

Watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 on Disney+: $7.99/month or $79.99/year (opens in new tab)

Watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 on Disney+: $7.99/month or $79.99/year (opens in new tab)

Sign up to Disney+ to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. You can also watch every other Marvel movie and TV show on there too, along with loads of other Disney, Star Wars, and Nat Geo content.

Disney+ Bundle (Disney+, Hulu (No Ads), & ESPN+:  $19.99/month (opens in new tab)

Disney+ Bundle (Disney+, Hulu (No Ads), & ESPN+: $19.99/month (opens in new tab)

If you want even better value for your money, you can get the Disney+ bundle which also comes with Hulu (No Ads) and ESPN+ to cover all your entertainment needs. 

What is the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Guardians of the Galaxy_Rocket

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

While we don’t know the plot specifics of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, cast members as well as writer-director James Gunn have shared plenty of tidbits regarding where the characters are going. When we combine those with the leftover post-credits scene from the second Guardians movie, and the major thread Avengers: Endgame left hanging, we can piece together a rough picture of the threequel.

According to Marvel’s official synopsis, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord rallies his team and blasts into deep space in one of the coolest spaceships in sci-fi to “defend the universe along with protecting one of their own.” And, of course, he’s still trying to get over the loss of Gamora. The “original Gamora” was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, and “alternate timeline Gamora” left Earth confused by this information during the final stand against her timeline’s Thanos.

Guardians of the Galaxy_Gamora

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

As a direct result, a main plot point of Vol. 3 will be finding the new Gamora to hopefully build up a fresh relationship, something that will one hundred percent be emotionally heavy if James Gunn stays true to his previous stories at Marvel. For now, we’ve learned that Gamora has joined the Ravagers since we last saw her (this was confirmed by the closed-doors SDCC teaser).

We can’t forget about Adam Warlock either, the new super-powered antagonist teased in the aforementioned post-credits scene of Vol. 2. Following their defeat on Ego’s Planet, Ayesha and the Sovereigns created Adam, so we can expect a major confrontation between the Guardians and this Marvel legend. The genius High Evolutionary will also make an appearance that may or may not be linked to Rocket’s backstory, which Gunn promised is at the center of Vol. 3 too.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailers

Guardians of the Galaxy_Holiday Special

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The first Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer hasn’t been released online yet. However, you should expect it between mid-December and mid-February, since both Avatar: The Way of Water and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are valid theatrical companions for a first preview – these two are big Disney sci-fi tentpoles which aren’t far away from the Guardians’ early May return.

Though what we do have is a first look at The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, the second “special presentation” by Marvel Studios for Disney Plus – the first one was Werewolf by Night. Check out the trailer below:

This canonical Holiday Special, which arrives on November 25, 2022, was designed to be a prologue of sorts to Vol. 3. This is the perfect appetizer ahead of the next big Guardians of the Galaxy adventure. You can also watch the I Am Groot shorts on Disney Plus to tide you over as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2_Sylvester Stallone

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The entire Guardians of the Galaxy main cast is back: Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Vin Diesel (voice of Groot), Bradley Cooper (voice of Rocket), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), and Sean Gunn (Kraglin and on-set Rocket). Two major cast members returning from Vol. 2 are Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) and Sylvester Stallone (Stakar Ogord).

Newcomers include Will Poulter (Midsommar) as Adam Warlock, Chukwudi Iwuji (Peacemaker) as the High Evolutionary, and Maria Bakalova (Borat 2) as Cosmo the Spacedog – who we already saw in the first Guardians movie. The Suicide Squad star Daniela Melchior also has a role in the movie, but it hasn’t been revealed yet.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director, writer, and crew

The third Guardians of the Galaxy movie is once again written and directed by James Gunn on his own, though he’s spent some time at DC Films with The Suicide Squad (part of the DC Extended Universe movies) and Peacemaker before returning to Marvel. It will most likely be his last time working for Marvel Studios as he’s just been given control over the entire DC Films division (opens in new tab) alongside producing partner Peter Safran.

Scoring duties are going to John Murphy (The Suicide Squad, Sunshine) this time around – long-time Gunn collaborator Tyler Bates did the excellent orchestral music for the first two movies. The cinematography has been handled by Vol. 2 veteran Henry Braham, who gave the sequel a livelier touch that fit the material perfectly.

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Fran Ruiz is our resident Star Wars guy. His hunger for movies and TV series is only matched by his love for video games. He got a BA of English Studies, focusing on English Literature, from the University of Malaga, in Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On top of writing features and other longform articles for Space.com since 2021, he is a frequent collaborator of VG247 and other gaming sites. He also serves as associate editor over at Star Wars News Net and its sister site, Movie News Net.