Where Does Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Fit In The MCU Timeline?

Like its comic book counterpart, the Marvel Cinematic Universe exists on a somewhat ambiguous timeline that is open to debate and interpretation regarding the precise sequence of events depicted across its ever-expanding mosaic of movies and TV shows. Most MCU fans will simply watch everything in the order it comes out, but there are instances of chronological tangles (not to mention multiversal complications and time travel paradoxes) muddying the timeline. With that in mind, it's natural to wonder where "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" fits within this complex maze of cause and event.

Most indications point to "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" being the latest chronological adventure depicted in the MCU thus far. We know it takes place after last year's "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," and if there were any doubt on this point "Vol. 3" includes a reference by Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to her shared parentage with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) revealed in the former project. A newspaper headline referencing Kevin Bacon's brush with alien invaders also definitively places the new movie after the events of the "Holiday Special."

The MCU timeline is set to become even more tangled up going forward

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is the latest (and possibly final?) adventure for this incarnation of the intergalactic superteam, and the question of whether it takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's equivalent of 2023 or slightly behind or ahead is one for fans to ponder and debate as we go forward.

But while the timeline placement of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" may seem simple now, there's no telling how it might be affected by upcoming events of "The Multiverse Saga," Disney's umbrella term for Phases 4-6 of the MCU. As any comic book reader knows, multiverses equal timeline complications, and that (combined with the practical realities of film and television production) means that the question of when the latest MCU installment fits into the larger timeline could become a little more difficult to answer in the future.

Fortunately, if and when that happens, minutiae-obsessed fans will be there to sift through the clues and come up with an answer. Or, more likely, multiple different answers.