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Where Every Guardian Ends Up After Vol. 3

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

Thanks to James Gunn and the incredible cast of "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel's spacefaring series went out with a bang in "Vol. 3." The movie is packed with all the easter eggs and references you've come to expect from a Marvel Cinematic Universe project, but it also changed the game in a handful of surprising ways. Despite some undeniably hilarious moments, "Vol. 3" has a darker tone than most other MCU movies. Rather than plugging directly into the next Marvel movie on the conveyor belt, "Vol. 3" gives as definitive an ending as possible to the characters we've loved for a decade.

The final installment of the "Guardians" trilogy blew everyone away at the box office and changed the MCU forever. The Guardians as we've known them are no more, and the future has never been more mysterious or more promising than it is now. "Vol. 3" left us plenty of unanswered questions to ponder for years to come, but rest assured that we know where every Guardians team member ends up — at least for now.


Going into the new Guardians film, it was hard to know what to expect from Gamora's storyline. The Gamora in this movie has been transported from the past, having no memory of the events that happened during the rest of the series. Though the events of "Infinity War" and "Endgame" basically destroyed her relationship with Quill and her ties to the Guardians themselves, there was always some hope that this third installment would see Gamora finding her way back home.

Those hopes weren't necessarily crushed by the events of the movie, but Gamora isn't back to her old self, and it doesn't seem like she ever will be. Since leaving the Guardians, Gamora has joined the Ravagers and seemingly risen through their ranks with ease. She spends the movie caught up in the Guardians' mission to save Rocket and stop the High Evolutionary, and she really does seem to gain an affinity for her friends from another lifetime.

At the end of the movie, though, Gamora decides to return to her life with the Ravagers. She and Quill share a tender moment, but it doesn't have quite enough spark to rekindle their relationship. Going forward, it looks like Gamora will be living the life of a space pirate, but considering the new page she's turned with her old family, the possibility of her joining them for another adventure isn't entirely out of the question.


Groot has never really taken center stage in the "Guardians" franchise, but "Vol. 3" brings his story full circle. In the first movie, Groot was Rocket's partner, and the two of them accidentally wound up involved with the other Guardians. At the end of that movie, Groot sacrificed himself to save his friends, and the version of Groot we've come to know since has been growing up from a cutting of the original.

We've seen Groot as a baby in "Vol. 2", and we laughed through his moody teenage years in "Avengers: Infinity War." Over the years, Groot has really grown into his heroics, and in "Vol. 3" he's a fully formed tree who's ready to save the galaxy. He spends most of the movie helping his friends save Rocket's life, but when the events of the movie are winding down, Groot's one of the only Guardians who decides to stay on the team.

Going forward, Groot will once again be working side-by-side with Rocket as the two of them train an all-new team of Guardians. The difference is that now instead of helping Rocket collect bounties, Groot will help him defend the universe from all sorts of threats. Star-Lord might claim to be Rocket's best friend throughout the movie, but Groot probably deserves to claim that title for himself.


Rocket and his backstory are the main focus of "Vol. 3." The movie takes a deep dive into Rocket's traumatic past and explains his connection to the godlike villain the High Evolutionary. Rocket himself, however, spends most of the movie sidelined after an encounter with Adam Warlock leaves him mortally wounded.

Luckily, Rocket is back on his feet for the film's climax and his face-to-face showdown with the High Evolutionary. Rocket beats the High Evolutionary but decides to let him linger in his own defeat instead of killing him. That might not be the greatest tactical decision, but it definitely highlights just how much Rocket has grown since the start of the series.

Rocket has overcome his trauma and accepted some hard truths — like the fact that he is indeed a raccoon. Star-Lord has handed leadership of the Guardians over to his friend, and a whole new team is being formed. After everything that he's been through since "Vol. 1," it's clear that Rocket is finally ready to step into the leadership role full-time. Going forward, it's easy to picture Rocket, former bounty hunter and scoundrel, becoming known as one of the galaxy's greatest heroes.


"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" saw Mantis really growing into herself, and it looks like her future will involve a lot more adventure and self-discovery. After coming to terms with everything she'd done on Ego's behalf in "Vol. 2," Mantis joined the Guardians, and she and Star-Lord came to think of themselves as siblings. Throughout "Vol. 3," Mantis repeatedly proves that she's an integral member of the team, but she also comes to realize that she's still living her life for other people.

At the end of the movie, Mantis decides that she needs to leave the Guardians to go find herself somewhere in outer space. The movie doesn't give many hints about where Mantis might go next, but the comics might provide some answers about her future. In the comics, Mantis becomes a regular member of the Avengers, but that's nothing compared to the other role she plays.

Thanks to a Celestial prophecy, Mantis becomes known as the Celestial Madonna and gives birth to a son who's supposed to usher in a new golden age for the universe. Instead, her son Sequoia, also known as the Celestial Messiah, leads an army in a brutal assault against all animal life in the universe. Mantis can't convince Sequoia to stop his attack, but eventually, the Avengers manage to subdue him. If that story ever makes its way to the big screen, we'll get to see plenty more of Mantis in the future.


Nebula has gone through one of the biggest transformations since the beginning of the "Guardians" franchise. In the early days, Nebula was still loyal to Thanos and acted as a pseudo-antagonist for the Guardians. She really joined the team in "Vol. 2," and since then Nebula's role in the Guardians has only grown.

At the beginning of "Vol 3.," Nebula finds herself basically in charge of the team and everything they're doing on Knowhere. Star-Lord is still distraught over losing Gamora, and the other Guardians are only self-sufficient to a point, so Nebula takes charge. She isn't the strongest leader, though, and usually only gets her way by berating the other members of the team.

Like the other Guardians, Nebula goes through some serious growth in "Vol. 3." She learns how to be a genuine leader, rather than just someone who demands that others do what she says. After a lifetime of being a henchman or just another sidekick, Nebula is finally ready to step into the spotlight for real, and for her, that means leaving the Guardians behind. Knowhere needs someone to take charge, especially since it's now filled with refugees from the High Evolutionary's ship. Nebula steps up to lead the settlement, and Knowhere has a bright future ahead of it because of her.


Drax may not be the most attention-grabbing member of the Guardians, but his overall character arc is one of the most touching in the entire MCU. At the beginning of the series, Drax was a man hellbent on revenge against the man who murdered his family, Ronan the Accuser. In the second movie, Drax mostly served as comic relief, and though his jokes definitely lightened the movie, he didn't seem to serve the most integral role in the team.

"Vol. 3" makes it emphatically clear that this found family in outer space needs Drax in their lives. He may not be the smartest man in the galaxy — he definitely isn't — but the love he feels for the other Guardians holds the team together through the turbulent loss of Gamora. Even more importantly to this particular adventure, Drax's ability to empathize and communicate with the children on the High Evolutionary's ship helps them all escape with their lives.

After years of adventuring through the cosmos with his friends and saving the galaxy from numerous disasters, Drax is once again a father. He's got dozens of "jub jubs" to look after as he helps Nebula keep life chugging along on Knowhere. If we never see Drax again, we at least get to know that he's found a happy ending for himself.


The events of the "Guardian" franchise have really put Peter Quill through the wringer. In "Vol. 1" he lost his mother. In "Vol.2" he lost his adoptive dad and found out that his biological father is a sociopathic cosmic god. Then while getting to know the Avengers, his longtime girlfriend Gamora died — only to come back as a version of herself from the past with absolutely no memory of their entire relationship.

Understandably, Star-Lord isn't in tip-top shape at the beginning of "Vol. 3." He's in more of a drunk-and-crying shape, but when Rocket's life is threatened, Star-Lord pulls himself together and becomes a team player once again. Saving Rocket forces Star-Lord to interact with the new version of Gamora and, to a certain extent, helps him move on from his loss.

The movie leaves Star-Lord in a really unexpected place. After narrowly escaping death, he decides that he needs to leave the Guardians, and he doesn't have any solid plan to come back to the team. He makes his way back to Earth and reunites with his biological grandfather, who he hasn't seen in decades. Star-Lord's future is more uncertain than ever, but anyone who's gotten to know him through this franchise, or who sat through the credits of "Vol. 3" knows that it won't be too long before he gets back to playing the hero.

Adam Warlock

Adam Warlock may not technically be a member of the Guardians – at least until the post-credits scene of "Vol. 3" – but he's a major player in this particular movie. He's a child of the Sovereign from "Vol. 2," and it turns out that they were actually created by the High Evolutionary. The Guardians' encounter with the Sovereign in that movie led to the High Evolutionary discovering Rocket's whereabouts. Adam gets sent to capture our favorite raccoon at the beginning of "Vol. 3," and his initial attempt kicks off the entire movie.

By the end of the movie, Adam is something of a reformed villain. He's lost his mother, seen the evil of the High Evolutionary's plan, and somewhat redeemed himself by saving Star-Lord's life. "Vol.3" was more than likely just the beginning of a long, heroic story arc for Adam Warlock, as any hardcore comic fan knows. He winds up as part of the newly formed Guardians, led by Rocket.

In the comics, the Marvel heroes would never have recovered the Infinity Gauntlet and defeated Thanos without Adam's help. He played an integral role in the "Infinity Gauntlet" crossover event, and he has a lengthy history of getting involved in some of the universe's biggest conflicts. Obviously, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Adam won't be going toe-to-toe with Thanos, but considering how powerful the character is, there's no doubt that he'll be showing up in future MCU projects.

The new Guardians of the Galaxy

"Vol. 3" ends with the Guardians as we know them disbanded. Everyone has gone their separate ways, and most of our beloved heroes are heading off into the unknown. That doesn't mean that the Guardians themselves are gone, though. The team itself has become bigger than its individual members, and the galaxy still needs a group of heroes to protect it.

The new Guardians are led by Rocket, with Groot acting as his second in command. Kraglin, having finally mastered the use of Yondu's fin, is also on the team, and he's joined by Cosmo, who's finally gotten the acknowledgment she deserves for being a good dog. The two true newcomers to the team are Adam Warlock and Phyla-Vell, an orphan rescued from the High Evolutionary's spaceship. We already know that Adam has incredible powers, and he just needs the right leadership to become a true hero. Phyla-Vell, on the other hand, is a true mystery. Her comic book history holds some hints for fans, but until she gets more screen time, there's no telling what the MCU version of the character can really do.

The fact that the new Guardians are out there saving the day helps "Vol. 3" end on a positive note. The team we've all come to know and love over the past decade might be gone for good, but at least its legacy is going to live on for years to come.

Are the villains still out there?

Plenty of fans expected a shocking death to cap off James Gunn's "Guardians" trilogy, but "Vol. 3" actually makes one character's survival its most shocking moment. The movie introduces the High Evolutionary as one of the most despicable and powerful enemies that the Guardians have ever faced. The High Evolutionary tortured Rocket and countless other creatures in his pursuit of perfection. At the end of the movie, Rocket finally gets his shot at vengeance, but he decides to let the High Evolutionary live.

In the past Rocket has been a pretty trigger-happy character, so his decision not to kill his arch-nemesis was anything but typical of him. On the other hand, Rocket actually got the best revenge possible by letting the High Evolutionary live. Without his workers, his experiments, his spaceship, or even his pride, the High Evolutionary really has nothing left.

All that said, will the High Evolutionary make a grand return sometime in the future? There's a good chance he survived the destruction of his ship, but now that all of his experiments have been destroyed, he actually doesn't have that much of a reason to hunt Rocket down. If he even continues his plan to create a perfect species, he'll need to start over from scratch, and that will likely take him a very long time. Never say never, though. Maybe he'll turn things around in time for a future Guardians-Avengers crossover event.

Will we ever see our friends together again?

"Vol. 3" is supposed to be the end of the Guardians, but are they actually gone for good? James Gunn has made it clear that he won't be returning to tell another story, but that doesn't rule out future appearances from our favorite characters entirely.

Dave Bautista told Variety that he has no interest in coming back to the MCU. "With Drax, I just got to end the perfect way," he said. Zoe Saldaña gave an even more definitive answer while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter. "It is the end for me, for Gamora." With Drax and Gamora out of the picture, any Guardians reunion would feel woefully incomplete.

It's not all sad news, though. The new Guardians are still out there, and Marvel isn't likely to leave them by the wayside or abandon Mantis' dangling plot thread at the end of "Vol. 3." Then, of course, there's Star-Lord. Chris Pratt told GamesRadar that he'd be hesitant to return to the character without Gunn at the helm, but he didn't rule out the possibility entirely. Considering the phrase "Star-Lord will return" that appears after the credits of "Vol. 3," it seems Marvel already has plans to bring him back. Fans are going to be waiting with bated breath until he does.