‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ End-Credit Scenes Hint at a Future Beyond James Gunn’s Trilogy
The ‘Guardians’ finale, which hits theaters on May 5, features two end-credits scenes.
BY SYDNEY ODMAN, MAY 6, 2023
[This story contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.]
When the credits roll on James Gunn’s final installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, the story isn’t finished yet. In typical Marvel fashion, there’s two end credits scenes — one of which hints at a future for the group, despite this being the end of the road for Gunn at Marvel as he settles into a head role at DC Studios.
With Vol. 3, Gunn puts Rocket (Bradley Cooper), the genetically engineered racoon genius with a snarky attitude, at the heart of the story. Although Rocket’s traumatic past has been hinted at over the course of the previous movies, Vol. 3 dives deep into his beginnings as an experiment created by the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). Critically injured at the start of the film, Rocket experiences flashbacks to his past, as the rest of the Guardians fight to save his life.
In bittersweet fashion, the Guardians finale sees the beloved superhero group part ways, as they embark on some soul searching after years of guarding the galaxy together. While Rocket is deemed the new captain of the Guardians, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Drax (Dave Bautista) stay behind to foster a new society on Knowhere. Additionally, Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) returns to the Ravagers, back where she initially called home at the start of the film. Mantis (Pom Klementieff) goes off on a solo journey to find herself, followed by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who returns to Earth to reunite with his grandfather (Gregg Henry).
The mid-credits scene opens to Rocket and Groot (Vin Diesel) — a very large, muscular version of Groot — in a desert surrounded by the newest members of the squad. Dressed in Guardians uniforms, Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Cosmo (Maria Bakalova) and Phyla-Vell (Kai Zen) join Rocket and Groot on a mission to protect a defenseless town against invading monsters. As they await the battle to come, the group share their favorite music, as Rocket scrolls through Quill’s MP3 player for a song to listen to while they work. Of course, he selects Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” the first ever song in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. It’s a nostalgic moment, as the new Guardians race into battle to carry on the group’s legacy.
And although Gunn is officially moving on from Marvel, this scene hints that the newfound group could have a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the newer characters introduced is Phyla-Vell, one of the young children rescued from the High Evolutionary’s ship at the end of the film. In the end-credit scenes, Phyla looks to have some sort of superpowered abilities. Phyla’s age also hints that she could be a future member of the growing Young Avengers lineup, which fans have long speculated is forming within the MCU. In the comics, Phyla is a version of Captain Marvel from an alternate time and also a prominent member of the Guardians. While Gunn seems to have taken her MCU origin story in a different direction, there are a lot of possibilities for Phyla, especially ahead of The Marvels, which centers around Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau, both of whom hold the Captain Marvel mantle in the comics.
And while most MCU end-credits scenes often lay the groundwork for new stories, sometimes they’re just good, lighthearted fun. (Does Avengers’ post-battle shawarma-eating scene ring a bell?) Gunn’s final post-credits scene follows that same vein, as it shows Peter and his grandfather eating breakfast together, gossiping about the neighbors in their town. After an emotional reunion shown at the end of the film, it would seem that Quill has adjusted well to being back on Earth. The scene also depicts his grandfather reading a newspaper that features a story about actor Kevin Bacon’s alien abduction, a nod to the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special released last year.
The credits come to a close with a title card that reads: “The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return.” It’s ominous phrasing, leaving the door open for Pratt’s return to the character. While Peter Quill, himself, could certainly return as Star-Lord in some capacity, it’s also possible that Marvel could pass the Star-Lord mantle onto a new character. It’s worth noting that Peter now resides on Earth for the foreseeable future, meaning he’s on the same planet as a majority of the Avengers. While only time will tell, it’s clear for now that Marvel isn’t ready to give up the Guardians just yet.