The Guardians of the Galaxy movies have been my favorite part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe pretty much from the moment that Peter Quill turned on his Walkman and started dancing across the surface of Morag. However, Thor’s arc since Thor: Ragnarok has been pretty impressive, and I also can’t wait to see where this character goes in Thor: Love and Thunder. Needless to say, watching Thor sail away from Earth with the Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of Avengers: Endgame was incredibly exciting.
Having said that, it doesn’t appear that these characters will actually be spending much time together in their next movies. Originally, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was going to be the next MCU movie we saw, but following the James Gunn situation, that movie has been delayed to an undisclosed date, and we’ll be seeing Thor: Love and Thunder first, in a little over two years.
Assuming that the Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t a major part of Thor: Love and Thunder, and every indication is that they’re not, there’s just too much else set to go on there, then the opening of the movie will need to explain how Thor ended up separated from them, even if only briefly, to connect the dots between the end of one movie and the beginning of the next. Similar to the way Thor talks to a corpse at the beginning of Ragnarok to explain what he’s been up to since the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
What I propose is an opening scene that includes cameo appearances by the Guardians actors, something which could certainly happen. Maybe they’re dropping Thor back at New Asgard, and he’ll need to return to Earth somehow to run into Jane Foster again after they’ve had some adventures together. Or perhaps they’re on some alien world. However it’s done, we learn what they’ve been up to since Endgame and why Thor needs to go off on his own now. The camera follows Thor and the Guardians fly off for parts unknown.
But then here’s the kicker: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens with the exact same scene.
Literally, the same sequence that opens Thor: Love and Thunder opens Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the only difference is that when Thor and the Guardians part company, the camera follows the Guardians rather than Thor. The idea being that the two adventures are taking place more or less simultaneously, in different parts of the galaxy.
We can even take the idea a step further. What if the post-credits sequence to Love and Thunder sees Thor and the Guardians reuniting. All of them look like absolute hell, like they’ve been through the ringer a couple of times. Thor says something like “Have I got a story for you guys!” Rocket cuts him off with “Whatever it is, we can beat it.”
This sets up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. We’ve actually been teased with the ending, but we won’t actually know what happened to them all until we see the movie. Since Marvel has a film scheduled for February 2022, which is the first Marvel slot after Thor: Love and Thunder‘s release, we could, at least conceivably, see that movie next.
We certainly wouldn’t want to wait too long to pay off this fictional post-credits sequence, but Marvel has two open slots in 2022, and either would work for these purposes.
If we wanted to take things to an even deeper level, we could see actions taken in one move have direct repercussions in the other. That’s a bit trickier, as you’d see things happen with no explanation in Love and Thunder, then learn the cause for them in Guardians 3. You’d also discover that things Thor did in his movie impacted the Guardians in theirs. That’s probably a bridge too far and runs the risk of being too confusing, but if Marvel made it work, it could be awesome.
Seeing the events of Captain America: Civil War from Peter Parker’s perspective at the beginning of Spider-Man: Homecoming was a really fun way to handle that, and this would ultimately just be a slight variation on that concept.
This wouldn’t be the first time that we saw different parts of the MCU happening literally at once. According to the MCU’s official timeline, the events of Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Thor all happen in the same week. We see the close connection between Iron Man 2 and Thor in the post-credits scene for the the former film. The first act of Thor has already happened while Iron Man 2 is going on.
When James Gunn wrote the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, it was almost certainly with the understanding the movie would immediately follow Avengers: Endgame.
The fact that this is no longer the case doesn’t necessarily need to change Guardians in any significant way, but if the movie was written to open with a Chris Hemsworth cameo and/or an explanation as to why he’s not in the rest of the movie, that scene technically is no longer necessary as that explanation will need to be part of Thor: Love and Thunder instead. If that’s the case, we can just transplant the scene that would have been in Guardians 3 into Love and Thunder, and then we can keep it in Guardians too, because why not?
I think this would be a fun way to keep these two parts of the MCU connected. Everybody seems to love the idea of the Asgardians of the Galaxy as a thing, and if there’s a chance of that happening at all down the road, then we need to keep Thor and the Guardians connected in some way, even if the next stories we’re going to get won’t see them cross over.
There are, of course, a million different ways these stories could be handled, but I think it would be really fun to see something like this transpire. There’s certainly no reason that it couldn’t work. As far as what Marvel Studios will actually do, we’ll have to wait until 2021 to find out.