Major spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is on a serious high right now, riding the massive success of Avengers: Endgame. The movie is breaking all types of records, and is deeply connected to the other 21 movies before it. Endgame particularly focused on the heroes who survived Thanos' snap in Infinity War, including Guardians of the Galaxy favorite Rocket Raccoon.
Rocket is arguably the most damaged character in the Guardians franchise, perhaps sharing the honor with Karen Gillan’s Nebula. That’s no doubt why were they spared from the dusting, and given the chance to grow through Endgame's five- year span. And according to director James Gunn, Vol. 3 of the franchise will complete a major narrative arc for Bradley Cooper’s character. As he put it:
When you asked me what was saddest for me when I thought it was gone—and anybody at Marvel can tell you—it’s this very strange and attached relationship to Rocket. Rocket is me, he really is, even if that sounds narcissistic. Groot is like my dog. I love Groot in a completely different way. I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed. He has an arc that started in the first movie, continued into the second and goes through Infinity War and Endgame, and then I was set to really finish that arc in Guardians 3. That was a big loss to me—not being able to finish that story—though I was comforted by the fact that they were still planning to use my script.
While James Gunn no doubt has plans for all of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, it looks like we should play special attention to Rocket when the threequel eventually arrives in theaters. Because that’s the character Gunn just couldn’t say goodbye to.
James Gunn’s comments to Deadline make a great deal of sense, considering how much of an arc Groot has already had in Phases 2 and 3. Rocket was introduced in the first Guardians movie as an angry and closed off criminal. But he’s since grown into a intergalactic hero, and has a family unit in the Guardians.
In fact, Guardians 2’s last shot was on Rocket. The movie leaves us with the wise-cracking Guardian watching the lights from Yondu’s funeral, having finally found a home.
Unfortunately that family was taken away from him in Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos’ assault on the galaxy hit the Guardians hard, with Gamora was murdered by her father and the affects of the snap turning Star-Lord, Mantis, Drax, and Groot to dust. Rocket and Nebula were the only survivors, and developed their own bond which should presumably have a role in the Guardians’ threequel.
It should be interesting to see what's next for Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It looks like Thor might be joining the next movie, and Rocket's developed quite the relationship with the God of Thunder. The Guardians (or Asguardians?) are also on the search for the past Gamora, who had time traveled with Thanos to the epic final battle in Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now, complete with the second part of Rocket's arc. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.