Fans were excited to learn that James Gunn would officially return for a third installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after the second one is released next week. The director now says that even more entries are possible, though not without major changes. Specifically, James Gunn says that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the end of a trilogy for the existing team of heroes and when and if a Vol 4, happens, it will be with a different set of characters. According to Gunn...
I think the first three movies tell a single story and that story is pretty simple. I think that there could be a Guardians Vol. 4, but it would not be the same. It would not be the same group... basically the story of this group ends with Vol. 3.
James Gunn doesn't elaborate in his comments to the Toronto Sun as far as what he foresees as the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy as far as what characters could make up the new group. While Gunn's announcement that he will direct Vol. 3 seemed to imply that he would not be directing anything past that film, Gunn does say that he'll be continuing to work with Marvel behind the scenes to set up the next 10 years of movies, so he'll certainly have some sort of influence on where things go once the original team steps down.
The idea of new members in the Guardians of the Galaxy is far from a crazy one. Over the course of the team's history in comics, numerous heroes have shifted in and out of the team. The original Guardians of the Galaxy team didn't even include any of the characters that movie fans would be familiar with. They were technically from an alternate timeline, but there's no reason some of them couldn't be included in the MCU, which is itself considered an alternate timeline in the grand scheme of Marvel continuity.
Of course, the other side of the question regarding who would join the Guardians of the Galaxy, is what would happen to the existing members? Would we see every one of them replaced, or would a couple hang around in order to give viewers familiar characters to latch on to? Would those that leave become part of other aspects of the MCU or get their own solo movies? This last idea may not be as far-fetched as it might sound. Recent comments from Kevin Feige about how the MCU might change after Phase 3 have indicated that there may be a greater focus on Marvel's cosmic universe. We also know that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is being looked at as the film that could launch it. If this all comes to pass, it could be that the old Guardians could be major parts of the MCU in Phase 4, even if they're not technically on the team.
What do you think about changing out the Guardians of the Galaxy after the trilogy is complete? Is this the right move? Sound off in the poll below.