James Gunn may have to tweak a small piece of MCU canon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, indicating a deeper dive into one character’s backstory. Even though Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is still in theaters, Gunn has already begun work on the third installment in the series. With one of Vol. 2‘s five end credits scenes having announced the impending arrival of Adam Warlock, Gunn has begun doing his comic book research for the character and will likely expand the role of Warlock’s creator Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) in Guardians 3, too.
Of course, with three years to go until the film’s possible release, a lot can change. We know that the movie will not only take place after Avengers 4, but that the final film of Phase 3 and Avengers: Infinity War will impact the story. Because of that, only so much can be done on Gunn’s part before those films are completed. Luckily, that shouldn’t be too much longer, as the fourth Avengers film will be mostly finished by the end of this year. But even setting outside MCU canon aside, Gunn has still built up a vast cosmic universe so far in his two Guardians movies, to the degree that he’s possibly even hindered himself.
During an E3 panel, Gunn said some interesting things about the established MCU canon and his role in shaping it in the past and future (via Newsarama):
“Now, Marvel Canon – MCU – is crazy … I did something in [Guardians of the Galaxy] where it was in the background but it was distinctly there, and people know that it’s there … I have a really good storytelling reason for breaking the canon, and I stayed up last night figuring out if I’m gonna do it or not. I still don’t know.”
After some prodding from the audience and fellow panelist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gunn went on to clarify the exact scene that he’s worrying over:
“In the first movie there is the mugshot sequence where the characters go through and they’re going through the mugshots and having their picture taken. And the Nova Corps has information about each of the characters coming up on their machinery. Those things are something that your average viewer doesn’t see at all. But there’s a lot of background I put into those things about who they’ve worked with, where they are from, what’s going on. And it’s one of those things that I’m thinking about changing.”
While Gunn’s correct that only diehard fans would notice the details, they’re still technically MCU canon. And while Marvel has certainly played fast and loose with their established timelines and information so far, Gunn is an auteur who tends to take this stuff quite seriously. Of course, the information in question is rather minuscule, so it wouldn’t require too large of a change.
When analyzing the five separate lineup shots of the Guardians, only three have possible bits of lore in need of retconning. Drax’s information only lists crimes he’s committed, with Peter’s doing the same and adding his affiliation with Yondu. Rocket, Gamora, and Groot, however, each have one piece of information that could be what Gunn is referring to.
Groot’s readout says he’s a “Humanoid plant inhabitant of Taluhnia.” Given Groot is a humanoid plant and his comic home is Taluhnia, this doesn’t seem to be anything that needs a tweak. Gamora, meanwhile, has a listing which reads “Last survivor of the Zehoberei people” along with a list of her cybernetic enhancements. The only likely change here would be that Gunn wants to reveal she isn’t the last survivor of her people. Vol. 3 is said to focus more on Gamora and her past, so we could see a change made to it. The most likely tweak, however, is to Rocket’s established canon.
As seen above, Rocket’s rap sheet lists his associate Lylla. In the comics, she’s a sentient otter whom Rocket meets on Halfworld, the prison planet he guards. It could be that Gunn wants to introduce audiences and Rocket to Lylla for the first time, meaning he technically wouldn’t already know her. Given how minor the changes of planets and race would be for Groot and Gamora respectively, the tweak to Rocket’s story seems the most likely.
While we’ll have to wait until 2019’s Avengers 4 hits before Gunn will really be able to open up about the story, more tidbits will likely trickle out before then. We already know Quasar is being considered for the film, so expect more reveals regarding Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in the weeks and months to come.