Marvel's epic announcement event revealed the studio's entire Phase 3 lineup, which includes new films like Inhumans, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel, while also touching base with established characters in Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
In the case of Guardians, it seems as though the first film's big success has eliminated any and all doubt about the property's viability in the marketplace, because Marvel Studios has moved the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 release date from July 2017 up to a summer kick-off slot of May 5, 2017.
Marvel Studios present Kevin Feige made the announcement during the big Marvel Phase 3 reveal today. We know Guardians director James Gunn and the entire cast - Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel - are returning, though the details of the story are still unclear.
Marvel Studios did NOT announce a subtitle for the Guardians sequel, but rumors have pointed to things like the "War of Kings" storyline (about Star-Lord's daddy's royal heritage) have long been rumored as contenders for adaptation. Feige also wouldn't open up about whether or not characters teased in the first film (Cosmo the Dog, Howard the Duck) would appear in the sequel - or whether the film has any connection to the Captain Marvel movie that was also announced as part of Phase 3.
The big revelation of the Phase 3 lineup is that it will culminate in a two-part Avengers movie event called Avengers: Infinity War 1&2, which are headed to theaters in summer 2018 and summer 2019, respectively. With that two-part event bringing together every element of the MCU (the earth-bound AND the cosmic), we expect that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will play a pivotal role in the buildup - even if Thanos isn't directly involved in the sequel's plot. Cast member Dave Bautista already said the Guardians will play a big role in Avengers: Infinity War, so GoTG 2 will almost certainly need to provide foundation for that crossover.
Right now, director James Gunn is rebooting his servers for another chapter of Guardians and beginning work on the script. Based on this current slate of plans, no doubt Marvel has some new obligations and benchmarks for Guardians 2 to meet; we're pretty sure the official subtitle for the sequel will give us much clearer indication of how it ties into the larger Phase 3 arc.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019.