All good things must come to an end, and that includes guarding of the galaxy.

After a lengthy delay caused by writer/director James Gunn’s firing and rehiring, followed by his work on Warner Bros’ The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker spinoff, the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie is finally in production. Fans are excited to get the latest adventure of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Nebula and Mantis — but they might be a little less thrilled when they learn that Gunn is essentially treating this as the end of an era.

Speaking with Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast, Gunn made it clear that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is “the end for us,” as far as he and the creative team are concerned. He added that it was “the last time people will see this team of Guardians.” That could mean that there will be a Vol. 4 at some point with a different group of heroes, or even some returning heroes with other newbies. But it definitely suggests that this movie will be the last iteration of this version of the team.

Gunn also described the movie as “so big and dark, and different from what people might be expecting it to be.” And underlining just how much this is the Guardians finale, Gunn said his goal is to “give people the wrap-up that they deserve for the story.” I dunno about you, but I read these quotes and I think we are going to have to watch some beloved Guardians bite the dust in this movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is scheduled to open in theaters on May 5, 2023. Even if that is the end, though, there is one more visit with the Guardians coming; the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, also written and directed by Gunn, is expected to premiere this holiday season on Disney+.

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