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James Gunn Won't Make A GOTG 4, But Does He Want One?

Contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"

Prior to the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," it seemed all but certain that writer and director James Gunn would kill off one of the central heroes. After all, the creative maverick hasn't been afraid to kill off fan-favorite characters in the past, so why would he stop now? Luckily, "Vol. 3" spares the rag-tag, galaxy-hopping group, giving each individual member a satisfying send-off. While the threequel wraps up Gunn's tenure with Marvel, a team like the Guardians lends itself to countless iterations with new characters. With that in mind, could we see a "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4" one day?

"I don't think there will ever be a 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4,'" Gunn told Esquire Middle East prior to the threequel's release. "There's many reasons this group will not be back. There could be more 'Guardians' movies, but it won't be with this group."

Although he'll be working full-time spearheading the DC Universe moving forward, Gunn isn't against the idea of someone else tackling another version of the Guardians team under one condition. "I think as long as somebody brings themselves to it, and doesn't just try to copy that style — I think it can be really amazing," he said. "And there's so many directors I would like to do that. And I would love to see it happen."

Those who have seen "Vol. 3" will know that the initial post-credits sequence sets up a brand new Guardians team. While it remains to be seen if the Guardians teased at the end of the film ever headline their own sequel, it's possible that any number of characters from the comics could make the jump to the big screen. 

The new Guardians of the Galaxy team could expand

James Gunn has made it clear that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is the last time audiences will see this version of its titular team. It makes sense, considering that Drax (Dave Bautista) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) decide to stick it out on Knowhere, while Peter (Chris Pratt), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), and Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) go on their own, separate journies. 

The film's post-credits scene features the brand-new Guardians, with Rocket as their leader. New members include Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Cosmo (voiced by Maria Bakalova), Blurp, and the young Phyla (Kai Zen). 

This brand-new, post-"Vol.3" iteration of the team doesn't have to be set in stone. For his trilogy, Gunn largely featured modern Guardians team members, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, and Mantis. With most of those characters out of commission, the possibilities are endless. While Gunn ends "Vol.3" with his take on who the next Guardians could be, it's all but possible that Marvel decides to go in a different direction. 

Nova, Hercules, Hulkling, and Wiccan recently worked together in the comics as Guardians as well. With each of these characters either already in the MCU or seemingly on the way, it's possible that they could lead a "Guardians" revival down the line. If Marvel Studios ever wants to launch a team that's drastically different from the one in Gunn's films, they could lean into a number of markedly weirder versions that appear throughout the "Guardians" comics. Although these might require some drastic setup, different versions of the Guardians have included Kitty Pryde, Agent Venom, Beta Ray Bill, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Thing, and even Doctor Doom, leaving plenty of room for Marvel to experiment should a fourth "Guardians" film ever come to pass.

Star-Lord will return

While James Gunn may have clearly stated that his Guardians team will not return for another film, fans are well aware that Gunn's influence on the Marvel Cinematic Universe is over as of his move to DC Films. Gunn, however, appears ready for Marvel to use the characters he gave life to in whatever way they see fit. Characters like Rocket, Groot, and Kraglin are already leading the new Guardians team, but what about former leader Star-Lord? 

"Vol. 3" ends with a bold claim: "The Legendary Star-Lord will return." The threequel wraps up with Peter Quill hanging out with his grandfather (Gregg Henry). This tease, however, suggests that Quill's time on Earth isn't permanent and that it's possible that he'll return to the cosmos. Prior to the film's release, Chris Pratt expressed interest in returning as Peter in a post-"Vol. 3" world.  "Practically, can Peter Quill come back? The answer will always be yes. Now if you're saying to me, Chris Pratt the actor, do I want to reprise my role as Peter Quill and is there mileage left in the character and do I have the bandwidth or headspace for that? I do. I'd be interested in playing the character again," he told Rolling Stone.

Gunn himself, in a Tweet that has since been deleted but is quoted in a ComicBook.com article, described "Guardians 3" as "the last Guardians movie for most of us," further suggesting the series' continuation with at least some legacy cast or crew members. Seeing as "Vol. 3" ends on a sort of open note, it's all but likely that audiences will have more "Guardians of the Galaxy" in the future — it just won't be "Vol. 4."