It’s an exciting time over at Marvel Studios. The movie side of the creative force is gearing up for two exciting releases this year in Black Widow and Eternals, while the TV side turned a lot of heads with an incredible tease for some upcoming Disney+ original series, such as WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But while the future looks bright, Marvel fans ALWAYS want to know what is coming next. Always.
That brings us to James Gunn, and his announced, then delayed, then once again greenlit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. We’re naturally excited that Gunn is going to be able to make his version of the story, completing what we assume will be a trilogy for the outer-space outsiders. On his Instagram recently (via ComicBook), Gunn was straight up asked if there was any truth to the rumor that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was going to begin filming in January 2022, the writer-director simply replied:
Now, let’s break down what that could mean. It might be more favorable than we think. But possibly not. What do I mean?
Well, Marvel Studios has programmed their movies through 2022. May 6, 2022 is the announced date for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther 2. But there are two release dates for 2022 that have been claimed by the studio, with no projects on them. They could be anything from Captain Marvel 2 to Blade, with Mahershala Ali in the lead role. Or even one of the superhero teams that have been acquired as part of the Fox deal.
Does James Gunn mean that he won’t begin filming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 until well AFTER January 2022? Or could he be implying that he will begin earlier, and try to get his anticipated sequel in theaters by either February or July of 2022?
The hold up, for James Gunn, has been his work on The Suicide Squad, the movie that he agreed to direct for Warner Bros. and DC after Disney pulled the plug on his Guardians future. He’s finishing up shooting on The Suicide Squad as you read this, and then he’ll head into post-production, to deliver on an August 6, 2021 release date.
Could he begin shooting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2021, while he puts the finishing touches on The Suicide Squad? Absolutely. His script is finished. Several filmmakers work on multiple movies. Spielberg sometimes puts out two in one year. Gunn easily could.
But if he means “No” as in, “Are you crazy?” then it probably means that the MCU will push the third GOTG adventure beyond 2022 into 2023 (or later). And that’s a bummer for fans of the series, because they were only a sliver of the plot in Avengers: Endgame – with the bulk of them blipped out of existence by Thanos – so it could be years between proper Guardians stories.
Personally? I think James Gunn starts shooting his movie in 2021. And maybe claims the July 29, 2022 release date that’s currently unoccupied. Primarily because his script is done, whereas Captain Marvel 2, Blade or the Fox heroes have a long way to go before they get off the ground. But we shall see.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.