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Guardians 3 could be James Gunn's last Marvel movie - here's why

Guardians of the Galaxy
(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Marvel is ready to ramp up its Phase 4 plans after a quiet 2020. The studios' movie plans were thrown into disarray last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it's ready to bombard fans with plenty of movies and Disney Plus TV shows over the next three or four years.

The MCU's next phase will be kicked off, on the big screen at least, by Black Widow, and a Marvel teaser trailer released earlier this week showed what films will follow the Natasha Romanoff solo flick. 

One of those movies was Guardians of the Galaxy 3, which will land in theaters on May 5, 2023 - and it'll be a bittersweet moment for Marvel fans. Why? Well, it's likely to be James Gunn's last MCU film.

After Marvel Studios' newest trailer landed, Gunn tweeted out that he'd see fans in cinemas across the globe when Guardians 3 arrives in two years' time. One keen fan responded to Gunn's tweet to inquire if he'd be back for another adventure with Star-Lord's gang. Gunn, though, reaffirmed that Volume 3 would likely be his final MCU outing in the director's hotseat.

Check out Gunn's reply below:

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Will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 be Gunn's last hurrah?

It's looking increasingly likely. Gunn's latest comments follow ones that he made in 2020 about his future with Marvel, and back then the Slither and Brightburn director revealed that Guardians 3 would "probably" be his last movie for the studio.

Gunn did follow that up by saying "But you never know!" (per Digital Spy), but this latest answer seems more concrete than his 2020 comments.

Why might this be Gunn's final MCU outing, then? Well, he'll probably want to move onto other projects. Gunn is currently in the middle of post-production on DCEU movie The Suicide Squad, and he'll be the writer and producer of Warner Bros.' upcoming Coyote vs Acme live-action/animation hybrid movie in 2023, too.

Before Coyote vs Acme, though, Gunn will be the showrunner for HBO Max's Suicide Squad Peacemaker spin-off series, starring John Cena as the titular character, which will land in 2022. Gunn will also precede work on Guardians 3 with the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which will also arrive next year, albeit on Disney Plus.

Gunn, then, has a lot on his plate currently. Once Guardians 3 and Coyote vs Acme are complete in 2023, he may want to return to his indie horror roots, work on other Warner Bros. properties or simply take some time to rest and recuperate. Coupled with the fact that Guardians 3 could be the final movie for Star-Lord's ragtag bunch, depending on how its story plays out, and we might not get another Guardians of the Galaxy movie anyway.

Fans may be holding out for another Guardians of the Galaxy movie post-2023 and, while that could be the case, we wouldn't expect Gunn to helm that instalment based on this comment.