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As more Marvel movies are released, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is moving closer to the climactic battle with Thanos in the Avengers: Infinity War films. Many fans have suspected that his could mean a team-up between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy. After all, Thanos did pop up in James Gunn's film this summer, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is being released about a year before the first half of the Infinity War two-parter. That being said, the Guardians of the Galaxy director continues to make it clear that just because his ragtag group of heroes exist in the MCU doesn’t mean that we should expect a crossover with what's going down on Earth.
Asking a question about the apparent darker tone in Joss Whedon's upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Screen Junkies recently asked Gunn whether Guardians of the Galaxy 2 would experience a similar transition. The director responded by basically drawing a line between the two franchises. Said Gunn:
"We really are separate from the Avengers, and I don't think people should assume too many things about the Guardians play in all this, because we have our own galaxy to take care of. We have our own galaxy to save. Earth is the Avengers’ province. Thinking that everything is going to come together in a perfect way is not necessarily the way it's going to happen."
This isn’t the first time Gunn has taken this stance. Last month, Gunn stated that the Guardians aren't "subservient" to what happens in Infinity War films, and that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is primarily meant to move the cosmic movies forward. I understand Gunn’s reasoning. Earth is only a minuscule part of the entire universe, and the cosmic side of the MCU is not only gigantic but filled with its own problems and dramas. Despite threats like Loki and Ultron, the Avengers can handle keeping Earth safe, while Star-Lord and his team of misfits are traveling to multiple planets to help others while causing a little trouble on the side.
Here’s the main issue that arrives with James Gunn's most recent comments: Thanos is a universal threat. It's true that the Mad Titan may head to Earth after seizing all of the Infinity Stones and sticking them in the Infinity Gauntlet, but as the original 1991 Infinity Gauntlet comic story showed, if he obtains all that power, then the whole universe is screwed. One would think that the Guardians would travel to Earth to assist taking him down, even if it’s only in the last half of Infinity War Part 2. Furthermore, Marvel Studios has shown that try to allow their directors work largely unimpeded (unless you’re Edgar Wright), but they still want that degree of connectivity intact. It’s possible the Marvel execs will eventually change Gunn's perspective and eventually have him work with the Infinity War director to include the Guardians in a way that makes sense for the narrative. On the other hand, they could also just respect Gunn's ideas and leave his protagonists to their own adventures. If that's the case, let’s hope that all the super humans and crime fighters on Earth are enough to take down the purple-skinned war-monger.