With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soon to hit cinemas, there's one question bound to arise from the film's publicity tour: what about Vol. 3?
A question James Gunn decided to preempt and answer on Facebook, by confirming that he will return to both write and direct a third instalment of Marvel's space-adventuring franchise.
"Much of what’s happened in the MCU for the past ten or so years has been leading, in a big way, to the Avengers’ Infinity War," he wrote. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will happen after all that. It will conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and help catapult both old and new Marvel characters into the next ten years and beyond."
He also wrote about how his decision to take on a third film wasn't one he boarded idly, as: "In the end, my love for Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, and Nebula – and some of the other forthcoming heroes – goes deeper than you guys can possibly imagine, and I feel they have more adventures to go on and things to learn about themselves and the wonderful and sometimes terrifying universe we all inhabit. And, like in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we will work on creating the story that goes beyond what you expect."
"I will be working side-by-side with Kevin Feige and the gang to help design where these stories go, and make sure the future of the Marvel Cosmic Universe is as special and authentic and magical as what we have created so far."
"I couldn’t do it for the money, and I couldn’t do it because it was what other people wanted me to do. I needed to do it because it was what I needed to do. I have never made choices in my career based on anything other than passion and love for the stories and characters, and I didn’t want to start now."
The film sees the return of Chris Pratt's Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana's Gamora, and Dave Bautista's Drax; alongside Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel lending their voices to Rocket and Baby Groot. Michael Rooker's Yondu and Karen Gillan's Nebula also return, potentially as new members of the Guardians; while Pom Klementieff and Kurt Russell join as Mantis and Ego the Living Planet, the latter happening to be Star-Lord's dad.
The sequel is set two-to-three months after the first film, as the Guardians come face-to-face with a new threat and Elizabeth Debicki's Ayesha, the golden High Priestess and leader of the Sovereign people.