There will be SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 below, so if you want to go in completely fresh and devoid of spoilers, you may want to stop reading now. While promoting Guardians 2 last month, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed some interesting details about the timeline of this superhero sequel, and how it may relate to Avengers: Infinity War, which is currently filming and slated for release on May 4, 2018. Now that Guardians of that Galaxy 3 has been confirmed, James Gunn has addressed where that movie will take place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is your last chance to avoid SPOILERS so read on at your own risk.
The original Guardians of the Galaxy was set in the year 2014, and Kevin Feige confirmed that Guardians 2 only takes place a few months later, meaning this upcoming movie is still set in 2014. Furthermore, Kevin Feige has also teased that Avengers: Infinity War will be set four years after Guardians 2, meaning it will be set in the year 2018, when it will be released, and Infinity War will likely feature the Hulk vs. Groot showdown Vin Diesel has teased in the past, with a fully-grown Groot. Earlier today, James Gunn was asked on Twitter if there is a chance that Guardians 3 will be set before Avengers 3 and Avengers 4, since there is a four-year gap in the timeline. Here's what the Guardians 3 director had to say below in a brief statement.
"No. Vol. 3 will take place AFTER Avengers 3 & 4."
While a four-year gap would be plenty of time to set a new Guardians adventure, it's possible that this Guardians timeline gap was set in place on purpose, to give Baby Groot time to grow bigger than ever. Vin Diesel has teased in previous interview that the Groot we saw in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was a "freshman in college" and we still haven't seen the "full-fledged working-man Groot." It's possible that, with the four-year gap between Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, we could see this massive Groot do some serious damage, and perhaps square off with the Hulk.
James Gunn has recently stated that he has already started writing Guardians 3, hinting that he has discussed a bigger role for Zoe Saldana's Gamora, which could likely mean a bigger role for her estranged sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) as well. There will also likely be more with the new team member Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who has been confirmed to return in Infinity War, although no specific story details have been given yet. The writer-director hasn't said how far along he is in the writing process, so it may be quite some time before we have any details about the story.
It isn't known if other new cast members such as Kurt Russell (Ego the Living Planet), the Sovereign's Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) or others like Taserface (Chris Sullivan) and Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone) will be back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It has been confirmed that Guardians 3 will be part of the Phase 4 lineup, but an official release date has not been set. Take a look at the fan's question to James Gunn below, along with the director's response.