James Gunn almost didn’t get to finish his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, but given the chance to do so, the director made sure it would be memorable. In an interview with EW, Gunn laid out the goals he has in mind for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and none of them are small in scale.
Gunn hasn’t been shy in sharing that this film will be the last hurrah for this group of characters and that Rocket and his horrific origins will be at its center. “To me, Rocket has always been the secret protagonist of the Guardians movies,” said Gunn. “From the beginning, it has been rooted in who he is as a character. I think he exemplifies a lot of the traits of all the Guardians. They’ve had all these traumas, and it brings them together. I just think that his is more extreme than others. One of the reasons why I came back to [make] this movie” said Gunn of his decision to return after being let go, “was because I felt like I needed to tell Rocket’s story. I would’ve been very sad not to complete the trilogy for many reasons, but I just feel very connected to Rocket. I feel like nobody would be able to tell his full story if it wasn’t me.“
Telling Rocket’s origins means the team will cross paths with Chukwudi Iwuji‘s High Evolutionary, who is responsible for the experiments that turned Rocket from an animal into the gruff and brilliant strategist fans know and love. “He was just fine being an animal, and he was transformed into something else he didn’t want to be,” Gunn said of Rocket. “I think that transformation itself was extremely painful, but I also think it made him feel incredibly alienated from everyone else. In Vol. 3, we learn a lot about his past — where he came from, who he is, and what he’s been through. It’s been a difficult road for the little animal.“
It’s Rocket’s ties to the High Evolutionary that will drive the entire plot of the film, and put the Guardians in a precarious position and fans shouldn’t expect everyone to make it out alive. “This is the big one,” says Gunn of the finale. “This is where things really happen. This is where we get to know the truth about who these characters are, and we face the biggest stakes.” Who walks away and what comes next are certainly part of audiences’ fascination with the film, but the emotional first trailer for the project reminds fans to sit back and enjoy the ride and let the future take care of itself.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5th, 2023.