Following last week’s news that James Gunn will return to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, speculation has already begun as to what we might see in the sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is all set to introduce new characters like Ego and Mantis, but it’s a safe bet that even more heroes and villains will be plucked from the comics to star in the next film. Given that Gunn will help craft the cosmic future of the MCU, it’s safe to assume that some of Marvel’s most famous space-based characters will come to life in the Guardians franchise.
While Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 will likely bring a number of new characters to life before Guardians 3 comes out, Gunn’s franchise will still be responsible for helping to shape the cosmic side of the MCU. But what characters should James Gunn add for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
On the top of just about everyone’s list for characters that need to join the cosmic side of the MCU is Adam Warlock. The character has long been teased, with Gunn recently indicating he could show up in Guardians 3. Originally known simply as Him, the character first appeared in 1967’s Fantastic Four #66 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He’s since been one of Marvel’s key cosmic powerhouses, factoring into a number of major events. He’s also got ties to Guardians 2 villain Ayesha and the Infinity Stones, making him a natural fit in the MCU.
Long before the 2008 version of the team—who were chosen for the film adaptation—the Guardians of the Galaxy had a very different lineup. First appearing in 1969’s Marvel Super-Heroes #18, the Guardians existed on a parallel Earth in the 30th century. Their earliest incarnations included Major Vance Astro, Martinex T'Naga, Captain Charlie-27, Aleta, Nikki, and Starhawk. Yondu was also a flagship member, with a variation of the character playing a big part in the Guardians franchise already. While we doubt we’ll see all of the other original Guardians in the MCU, it’s a safe bet Gunn will introduce a few more.
Aside from classic superheroes, there are a number of friends and foes of the Guardians that could debut in the next installment. The tag at the end of the first Guardians movie showed Cosmo the Spacedog freed of his place in the Collector's collection, meaning that he's presumably roaming around on his own adventures now. A more recent addition in the comics, Cosmo has become a key part of the Guardians operation thanks to his telepathy and security operation on Knowhere. With Rocket and Groot already in the MCU, it’s time for the telepathic Russian space dog to make a proper debut.
On the villain front, there’s Korvac. A classic cosmic baddie, he was introduced in the mid-70s and factored into a number of key events up through the ‘90s. His vast powerset and history in the comics would make him a worthy foe for our heroes, and he’s surely being eyed for the next sequel.
In the past few years, the Guardians ranks have swelled with a number of new additions. The most likely candidate to appear in Guardians 3 is Captain Marvel. With her strong connection to the Kree and her role as space cop for Earth, she’s already a shoo-in for a future Guardians movie. When you add in her frequent arcs with the team in recent years, we see no reason why Carol Danvers won’t join forces with the Guardians following her introduction in 2019.
Around the same time Captain Marvel joined the Guardians, Tony Stark’s own journey to space had him crossing paths with the team. With Iron Man showing up in Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, we could envision a future where Robert Downey, Jr. merely shows up in other Marvel projects. While the prospect of him and Star-Lord teaming up in Infinity War is already exciting, it’d be a blast to see Tony go to space and have adventures with the whole team.
Another new Guardian just begging to join the MCU is Angela. At first, the warrior was shrouded in mystery. She proves a powerful fighter, however, and forms a fast friendship with Gamora. Eventually, it’s revealed she’s actually the long-lost sister of Thor and has been hidden away in the ancient Tenth Realm of Heven. Her story is not only fascinating, but provides Marvel with another strong female character. Angela also serves as a natural link between the Thor and Guardians franchises, tying together the cosmic side of the MCU.
While a number of the classic characters and some of Marvel’s existing MCU characters seem safe bets for inclusion in Guardians 3, there’s a few unlikely additions from the page we’d love to see. Appearing alongside Captain Marvel and Iron Man, Agent Venom joined the Guardians a few years back and served with them for quite some time. Even after heading out on his own, he became a cosmic warrior for a bit, continuing to defend the galaxy. And while Marvel and Sony are playing nice, it might be a stretch to imagine Venom heading to space.
For one, Sony is already planning a Venom movie likely to feature Eddie Brock which will be outside of MCU canon. Still, Agent Venom’s alter-ego Flash Thompson will be joining the MCU this summer when Tony Revolori plays the character in Spider-Man: Homecoming. While he could feasibly get the Symbiote in the next Spider-Man following Brock losing it in his solo movie, we don’t see things lining up that nicely anytime soon.
Slightly more likely than Venom is Howard the Duck. The same tag that showed us Cosmo gave us a speaking Howard the Duck in the MCU. There have been hints the character would appear next month, but it’s a safer bet Gunn would save him for Guardians 3. Howard would hardly be the weirdest character in the cosmic pantheon, but the memory of his maligned movie from the ‘80s might be too much for Marvel.
In a weird gray area are the Badoon. An alien race who have a history with the Guardians dating back to their first incarnation, they’re technically owned by Fox. Still, a version of them appeared in Thor: The Dark World. Fox recently played nice with Marvel by allowing Ego the Living Planet to be used in Guardians 2, so we could see a similar deal being struck for the third film. By doing so, one of the final pieces of the classic Guardians story would be introduced into the MCU.
There’s no telling what the future holds for the MCU, but it’s clear that the cosmos and James Gunn will play a role in it. As such, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will likely introduce us to a whole slew of new heroes and villains, many of which fans have been hoping to see for years. There’s certainly no shortage of them to chose from, and many have been hinted at or set up in some way already. There’s a good chance we’ll have to wait for the dust of Infinity War to settle before anything substantial can be revealed about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but that time will be upon us sooner than we think.
Which comic characters do you want to see in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Let us know in the comments.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017