Today, Marvel announced a couple significant changes to their forthcoming Phase 3, which will kick-off next spring with the eagerly anticipated Captain America: Civil War. This isn’t the first time Marvel has reconfigured how Phase 3 will play out, either, since the announcement of Spider-Man joining the MCU also forced a few films to have their release dates reshuffled.

The news obviously has some fans excited (hooray, Wasp!) while others less so (sorry, Carol Corps), but for fans excited to check out Guardians of the Galaxy 2, they’ll be happy to hear the film is sticking with its 2017 release date. Production on the sequel has already begun in Atlanta with director James Gunn arriving to oversee the construction of some “giant sets,” but principal photography won’t commence until February. When it does, the whole crew is returning — Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel). Guardians 2 is expected to a include a few new faces as well, though who those characters are and who will play them is as of yet unknown

One mystery, however, has been solved: Benicio del Toro is returning as The Collector in Guardians 2. The role was obviously a minor though crucial one, appearing first in the post-credits scene on Thor: The Dark World before playing a role in Guardians of the Galaxy. And with how the MCU is evolving to include matters from both on Earth as well as throughout the universe, a return from the collector of cosmic antiquities makes a lot of sense.

Del Toro, too, has begun collecting a little on his own, namely villainous roles (or at least characters with questionable morals). Just this year, the actor played an assassin in the intense thriller Sicario, and he’s also involved with Star Wars: Episode VIII, where his character is either a straight-up villain or someone with unclear intentions. And The Collector fits in the morally grey zone as well, since he is neither helping Thanos nor aiding our heroes — The Collector’s only concern is adding to his collection.

Benicio del Toro The Collector Infinity Stones Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Benicio del Toro Returning as The Collector 


Exactly how The Collector factors in to Guardians 2 isn’t known, but given his knowledge of the Infinity Stones and the fact he’s in possession of one of them (the Aether or Reality stone), it’s very likely that some character (Thanos, most likely) will soon be paying him a visit. Last we saw The Collector, he was nursing his wounds (along with Howard the Duck) in what remained of his museum on Knowhere after another Infinity Stone (the Orb or Power stone) blew it up.

What role do you expect The Collector to have in Guardians of the Galaxy 2? Do you think he’ll willingly turn over the Reality stone to Thanos? Or will someone else take or buy it from him first? Let us hear your theories in the comments below!

Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.

Source: The Tracking Board