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The Guardians of the Galaxy have proven themselves to be some of the most popular characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and in just a few weeks time, moviegoers will reunite with them in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Beyond that, the team of cosmic heroes will return for Avengers: Infinity War, but there's also been talk about giving them a third movie. Now it's been officially announced that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is happening, and James Gunn himself announced that he'll be back to write and direct. Here's what Gunn had to say about reprising his Marvel duties:

In the end, my love for Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, and Nebula -- and some of the other forthcoming heroes -- goes deeper than you guys can possibly imagine, and I feel they have more adventures to go on and things to learn about themselves and the wonderful and sometimes terrifying universe we all inhabit. And, like in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we will work on creating the story that goes beyond what you expect.

James Gunn broke the big news on Facebook, talking about how after "many months of ruminations and discussions," and taking into account how there's history in Hollywood of "haphazard endings to trilogies," he realized that returning to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was the right thing to do. Gunn also noted that it was important that he didn't return for this movie just for the money or because other people expected him to, but because he was still passionate about these characters, stories, etc.

Gamora, Negula, Star-Lord, Drax and Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It's safe to say that thanks to James Gunn's script work and directing, the Guardians of the Galaxy have gone from being obscure Marvel characters to prominent pop culture figures. With just one movie, names like Groot and Rocket Raccoon are familiar to people who have never picked up a comic book, and these characters are only going to become more prominent when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 comes out. Obviously it will be a long time before we learn anything concrete about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but no doubt Gunn's announcement will come as a relief to fans of these movies. It's also worth noting that this makes the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy the first trilogy in the MCU to have the same director across all three movies.

We'll keep you appraised on what's happening with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as more news arrives in the coming years, but in the meantime, you can look forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hitting theaters on May 5. After that, the intergalactic family will team up with the MCU's other biggest heroes when Avengers: Infinity War comes out on May 3, 2018.