Five Potential Spin-Offs We Could Get from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

James Gunn may be taking his talents to DC, but that doesn't have to mean we'll never see the Guardians again. Here's where we think they could end up.

by | May 8, 2023 | Comments


While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 concludes the story of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) team, the Guardians of the comics, whose members boast a collection of characters from Earth and across the cosmos, have never been as permanent as, say, the Fantastic Four – and even that team’s roster has been known to change. People filter in and out of the Guardians all the time, and the now-classic lineup we know from the films did not assemble until the 2000s, decades after the first Guardians comic was published.

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, Dave Bautista as Drax, and writer-director James Gunn on the set of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)

(Photo by ©Disney+)

In a far-flung Marvel Studios future after the Multiverse Saga, this means another Guardians film could emerge without the guidance of writer/director James Gunn, who now departs from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to build a coherent film universe for the crosstown rivals at DC Studios. It also means the existing characters could appear in their own projects, too. Spin-offs are the bread and butter of Marvel Studios’ comic book publishing cousin, after all. But what would such adventures possibly look like, and how feasible would they be, really? Join us on a brain experiment across the breadth of the MCU’s cosmos to guess at what could happen next to the Guardians of the Galaxy and their allies.

[WARNING: Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ahead.]

The Legendary Star-Lord

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Format: TV Series

Premise: After nearly 35 years in space, Peter Quill returns to the Southern US. Crashing on his grandfather Jason’s (Gregg Henry) couch, Peter must learn how to operate in a world less deadly, but equally as cutthroat as the galaxy he once guarded. Also, can he become a functional adult by the rules and terms of planet Earth?

Feasibility: Admittedly, this idea is teased in the final Vol. 3 stinger scene and, therefore, the most likely to be viable. It’s easy to imagine Pratt seeing this as another feature film vehicle rather than the lower-stakes story it begs to be via a Disney+ TV series. In the latter format, a Star-Lord story has a chance to dig deeper into the character’s trauma and still be funny. The addition of Henry as a well-meaning but slightly out-of-touch father figure also means Pratt would not be required to do all the heavy lifting. Also, as we still want more stories about people dealing with the aftereffects of the Blip, Jason Quill and the people in his neighborhood could be a spring board for a look at that traumatic event. But, just as easily, a film version of Star-Lord could take the character right back out into space as Peter continues to deny the reality of his abduction as a child.

Guardians of the Galaxy Revisited

Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Format: Feature Film

Premise: Inspired by the Credence Clearwater touring band without songwriter John Fogerty — which also briefly went by the name Cosmo’s Factory —  GGR would see Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Groot (Vin Diesel), Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Cosmo (Maria Bakalova), and the other new recruits fulfilling Peter’s dream of freelance heroes saving the galaxy one mission at a time. Such a format would also be the perfect opportunity for Black Knight Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington) to hire the Guardians for their toughest mission yet: rescuing the Eternals from Celestial Arishem the Judge!

Feasibility: Since Rocket’s team debuts in Vol. 3‘s closing moments, it’s pretty much a given they will appear again, maybe even as soon as The Marvels or Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. But using a fourth Guardians film to pay off Eternals‘ dangling story beat would also be a good way to reframe those characters in the poppier sensibility of the MCU cosmos that Gunn established. Also, despite any misgivings some may have about the Eternals feature, who wouldn’t want to see Starfox (Harry Styles) as a temporary Guardian? No matter the premise, it feels likely that Rocket’s Guardians will get their moment in the spotlight. But can Sean Gunn pull off being Rocket’s on-set reference actor and Kraglin at the same time?

Tales From Knowhere

Knowhere in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

(Photo by ©Marvel/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Format: Limited Series

Premise: Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Drax (Dave Bautista) face internal struggles building their new society in the skull of a dead Celestial and battling an invasion from a force looking for both revenge and an item lost in the recesses of Knowhere’s unused space.

Feasibility: While we think Gillan would be game for the blue paint and a further exploration of Nebula’s recovery from years of trauma – to say nothing of fighting whatever external threat comes to Knowhere – Bautista has made it clear he is both done with Drax and uninterested in continuing to do the makeup process. Many also assume he will follow James Gunn to the emerging DC Universe. So this one is less likely. Nevertheless, Nebula’s stated goal at the end of Vol. 3 to make Knowhere the home she never had feels like a good hook for a story, even if Drax is always just off-screen teaching the High Evolutionary’s (Chukwudi Iwuji) “perfect” species to be good-hearted people.

Mantis In The Realm Of Understanding

Pom Klementieff as Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Format: Feature Film

Premise: Taking inspiration from her comic book counterpart, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) begins the most unique journey of any former Guardian: becoming a trained counselor. Along the way, she discovers more family out in the cosmos as Ego (Kurt Russell) was a, ahem, prodigious founder of dynasties. But will a critical mass of his progeny allow his master plan to still be fulfilled?

Feasibility: Klementieff has said she can’t imagine anyone but Gunn writing Mantis (despite appearing in films as Mantis written by other people). But it is always possible she could be lured back to the antennae with a strong enough story. Also, her Vol. 3 decision to go on a solitary journey of discovery feels like the setup for the character to more closely align with the one featured in Marvel comics. And, let’s face it, the MCU heroes need a good counselor in their corner.

Gamora and The Ravagers

Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Format: Feature Film

Premise: Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) treasure hunting with the Ravagers finally leads back to her home planet, Zen-Whoberi, where she must face up to Thanos’s (Josh Brolin) actions there years earlier. Was he truthful about the world becoming a paradise in the wake of his massacre? Meanwhile, the last believer in his grim calculus attempts to finish what the Mad Titan could not.

Feasibility: Like Bautista, Saldana has made it clear she does not want to be painted green for another action movie. In fact, Gunn revealed in recent days that he almost killed Gamora off in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Curiously, Marvel talked him out of it, only for that version of the character to die in Avengers: Infinity War and usher in an earlier Gamora who did not experience the early two Guardians films into the current timeline. The result, though, is an oddly more self-possessed Gamora than the one we knew previously. That’s something worth exploring, even if Gamora needs to be recast. That said, though, this feels like the least likely spin-off of the bunch. Perhaps its best to leave her smiling with the Ravagers.

Of course, never say never. As these examples prove, just about any Marvel character can headline their own film or show. Also, it is a tired actor’s prerogative to change their mind about sitting in a make-up chair. Over in the Star Trek realm, Micheal Dorn came back to Worf after decades of being relieved not to put on the Klingon forehead.

And, for that matter, even Gunn could conceivably come back some day. Over in the comic book realm, writers, artists, colorists, letterers, and editors (sometimes even executives) switch between DC Comics and the House of Ideas on the regular. Why should a filmmaker, even one who now adds “co-CEO, DC Studios” to his list of titles, be any different?

As long as there is some interest in the Guardians, whether separate or together, the wish to see them grow (or fight) while Andy Kim’s “Rock Me Gently” plays in the background is something that will, one day, be fulfilled.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is currently in theaters.

Thumbnail image by Marvel Studios

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