Marvel Studios have just launched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but they may already have their eyes set on 2020 for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. James Gunn is returning to write and direct the third installment, just as he did with the first two films, and has confirmed that he is already working on the follow up. Even though the Guardians will next appear in Avengers: Infinity War, the team remaining at the end of Vol. 2 figure to all be back for the third film.
Star-Lord's heritage will no longer be a main story point moving forward, but Gunn's early ideas may allow for Zoe Saldana's Gamora to have a significant role. With the development on Vol. 3 already beginning, the director/writer is now hinting at its eventual release.
In a lengthy Facebook post discussing his motivations behind making the sequel and his career in general, Gunn briefly teased the future of the Guardians. Similar to the production time on Vol. 2 that saw him develop, film, and edit the movie over two and a half years, Gunn indicates a similar production timeline will be used - and could signify a 2020 release.
I love you all, and I'll continue being here with you over the next three years as we create Vol. 3.
Marvel Studios and Disney have already laid claim to a May 1, 2020 release, which is just under three years away. Even though the first film debuted in August, Vol. 2 shifted to a prime summer spot in May. Assuming Marvel Studios is happy with the box office results of Vol. 2, it will make sense for Vol. 3 to stick with a similar release window. Plus, this will give Gunn an extra six months of development on the end of his trilogy, allowing him more time to craft the story while also having the freedom to take more time off to clear his mind and rest.
Should Vol. 3 be released in 2020, it will follow a path that many expected. Ever since Marvel Studios began to express their interest in exploring more of the Marvel Cosmic Universe, kicking off Phase 4 - or whatever it will be known as - with the Guardians is the most logical move. It also follows a pattern of kicking off a new Phase with a third installment in a trilogy after doing the same with Phase 2 (Iron Man 3) and Phase 3 (Captain America: Civil War). Even if they wanted to get away from this, Guardians is the only franchise with a strong enough following and the necessary time off to kick off the next decade of the MCU.
Source: James Gunn