The wait for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has certainly been longer than planned, and at this point fans are very much chomping at the bit in anticipation – but soon the wait will be over. The blockbuster has key placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 2023 slate, and all wheels are in motion to make it the best movie that it can be.
Of course, a big part of that is the cast, and for his upcoming Marvel movie James Gunn has brought together a fantastic ensemble – including both series veterans and some exciting newcomers. It’s a group of stars that make us only anticipate the arrival of the film even more, and below we’ve provided a rundown of all the confirmed names attached so far.
Clearly Peter Quill didn’t care too much about revisiting Earth, as the character is ready to get back into the cosmos as quickly as possible in Avengers: Endgame, and Star-Lord’s story will continue in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Chris Pratt has been busy in the years since 2019, making big movies like The Tomorrow War and Jurassic World: Dominion, but he’ll soon be back playing the role that turned him into a blockbuster superstar.
The Gamora featured in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 won’t be the same one we got to know in the previous two chapters of the trilogy, as fans will remember that one was sacrificed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. The new Gamora comes from an alternate timeline and hasn’t undergone the emotional growth we’ve witnessed, which should make an interesting acting challenge for Zoe Saldana (who has been posting behind-the-scenes shots from the set). The movie is one of many sci-fi sequels that the actor has in the works, the others being the new Avatar films and the new Star Trek that is in development.
Dave Bautista has built a rather spectacular reputation in the sci-fi genre. He broke out in a huge way playing Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, and while continuing to make Marvel movies he has also teamed up with director Denis Villeneuve for both Blade Runner 2049 and Dune. He also currently has Dune: Part Two in the works, but we’ll see him back in the grey and red makeup for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 first.
Watching the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and the last two Avengers films, one doesn’t really think about Bradley Cooper doing the voice of Rocket – but that’s just a testament to his impressive voice work bringing life to the character. We’ve been seeing a lot of Cooper recently with films like Nightmare Alley and Licorice Pizza, but his next feature film performance will see him back as the fan-favorite alien raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
From Guardians of the Galaxy to Avengers: Endgame, Nebula has gone through one hell of an arc, and with Thanos now being dead it will be fascinating to see what he future looks like. Thankfully, we’ll get that special window into her life soon, as Karen Gillan will be reprising the role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gillan’s latest movie, Dual, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, and she is a part of the ensemble in Judd Apatow’s new comedy The Bubble.
Pom Klementieff made a stellar debut as Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and since then she has been expanding her resume with awesome films like the last two Avengers movies, Uncut Gems and the upcoming Mission: Impossible 7. Soon, though, we’ll get to see her back as the delightful empathic alien in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Between his adventures as Dom Toretto in the Fast & Furious movies, Vin Diesel has found time to go into the recording booth and say hundreds if not thousands of variations of “I am Groot,” and more of this is scheduled as the actor will be back as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. At what stage in his development will the living tree be in when we catch up with him post-Avengers: Endgame? We have no idea, but we’re curious to find out.
As he has done on multiple Marvel movies now, Sean Gunn will be back pulling double duty in the making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In addition to playing Kraglin, a friend of the Guardians who now has possession of Yondu’s Yaka arrow and fin, Gunn also does all of the on-set performance capture work for Rocket. The actor recently made his debut in the DC Extended Universe, playing Calendar Man and doing the mo-cap work for Weasel in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
Like Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone also reteamed with James Gunn for The Suicide Squad, providing the voice for King Shark, and soon the actor and the writer/director will be collaborating again while working on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Stallone made his MCU debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 playing Stakar Ogord, and he will be back playing the part in the sequel – though we have no idea how his character enters into the plot.
When casting began for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, surely every actor in Hollywood even remotely right for the part went out for the role of Adam Warlock, but James Gunn could only hire one star for the part, and he chose Will Poulter. The film will be the actor’s first venture into the world of superhero blockbusters, but he does have franchise experience, having been a part of the ensembles in both the Chronicles of Narnia movies and The Maze Runner trilogy.
It’s always great to know when your work is being appreciated, and Chukwudi Iwuji got that sign from James Gunn after the filmmaker had a chance to collaborate with the actor on the HBO Max series Peacemaker. Gunn’s show of gratitude? An offer to play a part in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. We don’t yet know what role Iwuji is playing in the blockbuster, as that’s a secret being kept close to the vest, but it’s a detail we’re excited to learn about.
Daniela Melchoir broke out in a big way with her performance as Ratcatcher II in The Suicide Squad, and, as a result, it is not particularly surprising to learn that she will be reuniting with James Gunn with a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The writer/director personally confirmed that Melchoir is part of the ensemble in June 2022, and while we don't know anything about her character yet, we do know that she won't be playing Moondragon.
Speaking of incredibly talented actors who have broken out in a big way within the last couple of years, Maria Bakalova turned heads across the globe with her hilarious performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and some of those heads belonged to Hollywood's most popular filmmakers. In 2022 she had a part in Judd Apatow's comedy The Bubble, and now she has joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a character in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. James Gunn confirmed Bakalova is in the cast in June 2022, and it's been called a key role.
If Nico Santos looks familiar to you, then chances are you know him from one of two places, or perhaps both! From 2015 to 2021, he starred as Mateo Fernando Aquino Liwanag in the NBC sitcom Superstore, and in 2018, he appeared as Oliver T'sien in Crazy Rich Asians. Now Santos is jumping into blockbuster territory with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, although it hasn’t been revealed yet whether he’ll have a prominent role in the Marvel movie or will just pop his head in.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is presently scheduled to be released exactly six years after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and will be in theaters everywhere on May 5, 2023. To learn about all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that are currently in the works, head over to our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.