James Gunn is set to end his Marvel trilogy with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and has revealed it could start filming as soon as late 2018. In just a few years, Gunn has cemented his place in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by taking an obscure group of characters like the Guardians and turning them into some of Marvel’s most popular characters. This movement began back in 2014, but returned this year as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hit theaters to critical praise and outperformed the first at the box office.
Prior to its launch, Gunn made the announcement that he would return to direct the third installment after previously showing some hesitancy to return. He’s already been working on the script and hinted towards a 2020 release, and now revealed it could start filming by the end of 2018.
While speaking with Collider to promote the 4K release of Vol. 2, Gunn was asked a variety of questions about the status of the third film. It was in this interview he revealed that filming will begin in “a little more than year,” possibly indicating a start as soon as the end of 2018. He would not comment on the film’s entire production schedule, only saying he knows “when the basic time is” for its release. But, he did elaborate on the scripting process so far.
“It’s been pretty easy. The truth is, the first movie is the first act, the second movie is the second act, and the third movie is the third act so I’m tying a lot of stuff together in the third film. We get a lot of answers on a lot of different things, so doing that in an elegant way takes a little bit of grace and elegance. It’s more challenging in that respect writing the third movie than the second movie.”
Ever since it was officially confirmed that Gunn was returning for Vol. 3, there has been heavy speculation that Marvel will keep the Guardians in the prime May slot in 2020. However, Marvel’s production schedule has also typically meant a film starts production roughly a year ahead of its release. Gunn’s timetable does have plenty of leeway with a late 2018 or early 2019 start fitting his guidelines, but a start in 2018 could make a late 2019 release possible.
Currently, there are already three MCU films scheduled to come out in 2019. Captain Marvel kicks things off in March, Untitled Avengers follows it up in May, and the Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming Sequel hits theaters in July. That gives the MCU three mega films in the span of five months, leaving a big gap in its release schedule if Vol. 3 wouldn’t arrive till May 2020. This could be Marvel’s attempt to increase their output to four films a year, with Sony helping out as well, or indicate Vol. 3 could arrive in the earlier months of 2020 giving it more breathing room and less competition.
It is too early to know for sure either way, but thankfully Gunn has a handle on the franchise regardless of when it starts production or hits theaters. If he can replicate the results of the first two films in terms of tone and box office, Vol. 3 should have no trouble being another hit for Marvel Studios.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is currently in development and does not have a release date.
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