The Avengers are back in theaters and making another killing for Marvel Studios at the box office, but Earth's Mightiest is hardly the only team of superheroes they can rely on for hefty box office totals. That's because last year's Guardians of the Galaxy took the world by storm, winning audiences over with writer/director James Gunn's enthusiastic creativity and a stellar cast with great chemistry.
Due to its cosmic setting, Guardians was definitely more "standalone" than other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there were enough connections to the larger franchise (Thanos and Infinity Stones) that talk of an Avengers/Guardians crossover was quick to come about after Guardians hit it big. That's obviously something many would like to see, but will it happen? Chris Pratt's Marvel contract may have some answers.
Star-Lord himself was speaking with GQ when the topic of his future in the MCU came up. Though longtime readers will note that his response is fairly typical when it comes to these questions, his answer is nonetheless telling:
"I’m tied to doing three more, or five more, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' or whatever it is, you know, two more 'Guardians' plus another couple."
As you can see, Pratt signed the usual multi-film contract Marvel likes to lock their actors into, and given the immense popularity of Guardians, it's no surprise that he'll be sticking around for years to come. A complete Guardians trilogy should be expected, but fans will certainly be speculating about what that "another couple" will entail.
The most obvious thought in regards to that is the two part Infinity War event, which will finally see Thanos (Josh Brolin) unleashed as the primary villain in a Marvel movie. It's long been speculated that this production (which goes on for nine months) will see all kinds of MCU characters brought into the fold, and since the Guardians have a history with the Mad Titan, it stands to reason that Star-Lord will be coming home to protect Earth.
Looking at Marvel's upcoming Phase 3 slate, there really isn't any other place logistically for those particular characters to pop up (outside of Guardians films, that is). Some of the stories will be Earth-bound, with no ramifications for the Guardians, while others will be focusing on establishing new heroes who can carry the MCU forward. Yes, it would be fun to see Pratt guest star in Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel, for instance, but his inclusion would raise some eyebrows - and a gimmick like that would do little to capitalize on the character's fame.
Before fans get too excited about Peter Quill trading banter with Tony Stark, we would like to caution our readers that nothing is guaranteed with these contracts. Scarlett Johansson has stated that her film schedule is a fluid situation (with her appearances changing on a whim), and even Hugo Weaving (who hasn't appeared since Captain America: The First Avenger) was reportedly signed on for multiple movies. As great as it might be to see Groot smashing things up with Hulk, Marvel must first confirm such a project is planned. That's business for you.
That said, those hoping for a massive crossover down the line are likely in luck. Even though Gunn is committed to keeping the two brands separate for now, there's too much money to be made for the ultimate team-up to never happen. Marvel isn't one to make movies "just because," so a crossover will only happen once it makes sense. As always, we'll just have to wait and see.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is now in theaters; Ant-Man will open on July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Black Panther - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 - May 3, 2019; Inhumans - July 12, 2019.