Among Marvel Studios' Phase Three films, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an outlier in one very specific way. While most of the blockbusters on the slate are set in the year they are released, the new James Gunn movie takes place just a few months after the first adventure, placing it somewhere in the year 2014. This is especially interesting when you consider that the characters will next appear in the 2018-set Avengers: Infinity War -- and I recently got confirmation from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that the gang of interstellar misfits will change as characters by the time we catch up with them in the Joe and Anthony Russo-directed event feature next year.

I always have fun talking with Kevin Feige about the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I had the chance to do just that last week during the Los Angeles press day for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I specifically brought up the four year gap that exists between James Gunn's movie and The Avengers: Infinity War, and in addition to confirming the dates, he noted that we will see a difference in the heroes as a result:

Me: Will Infinity War discuss any of the events that have been happening to them in the last four years?

Kevin Feige: Yeah. They will have evolved slightly, in some recognizable ways. But really they'll be the Guardians and dealing with the shit storm they have to deal with.

To provide some context, the four year gap between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Avengers: Infinity War featured some pretty major events on Earth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some highlights include the rise of Ultron, the implosion of Pym Technologies, the Sokovia Accords/superhero civil war, and the near conquering of Earth by Dormammu (not to mention whatever winds up happening in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther). If all of those things are happening on terra firma, just imagine all of the madness that's been going on with the Guardians out in the cosmos.

Guardians of the Galaxy Nebula Yondu Gamora Star-Lord Drax

While Kevin Feige did 100% confirm that there will be a four year gap between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Avengers: Infinity War, he did also add that dates and such aren't always the most hard and fast things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (not too dissimilar to the way that time works in Marvel Comics). He noted that the setting of Guardians of the Galaxy is special because it is made specific by the prologue and title cards, but that the franchise does try and keep things flexible. Said Feige,

Me: When we catch up with the Guardians in Infinity War, will it be four years since we last saw them?

Kevin Feige: Um, yes.

Me: It will be.

Kevin Feige: Yes. Yeah, knowing that outside of the Guardians franchise, we don't necessarily always date the movies. You don't always know, we don't say, '2012, 2013...' We do in the Guardians because you do the math and 1988, and it's 26 years later. But we never say, 'Oh, this takes place in 2018, this takes place in 2017.' But it was important for the story that James wanted to tell that they're still relatively fresh in their new group.

Fans will have the opportunity to reunite with Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Nebula, Yondu and more on the big screen in just a couple weeks, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 arriving on May 5th. After seeing the movie, many of you will wonder like I did about what happens between the end of events and the start of The Avengers: Infinity War -- but we won't get those proper answers until May 4, 2018.

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