Warning: Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 lie ahead — and possibly even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, if our predictions are correct!
What do you get when you combine the son of a living planet, a green-skinned assassin, a space-wrestler, a gun-toting raccoon and a dancing tree? You get the frickin' Guardians of the Galaxy of course, but will this line-up last forever?
Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige recently revealed that there will be a four year time jump between the events shown in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. Clearly then, unseen events that take place during this interim will affect the roster — not to mention what else could happen to the Guardians over the course of Infinity War and Avengers 4 too.
Director James Gunn has already confirmed that #GuardiansoftheGalaxy3 won't be released until after the fourth Avengers film hits our screens, so we're likely to see some huge line-up changes before the Guardians star in their next movie. Based on what we know so far, here's who we think will join or even replace the core roster of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket & Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Will Mantis Join The Guardians Of The Galaxy In 'Vol. 3'?
First introduced in #GuardiansoftheGalaxy2, Mantis appears to be one of the few dead certs on this list who will stick with the team for their third movie. What we're interested in, though, is whether Marvel will decide to unlock more of her powers from the comics — including plant control, precognition and mastery over martial arts — or keep her simply as the team's resident empath.
Will Nebula Join The Guardians Of The Galaxy In 'Vol. 3'?
Nebula may have been one of Marvel's best villains yet in Guardians of the Galaxy, but her ties to Gamora and the truth behind her abusive childhood turned her into a tragic hero for the sequel. From villain to hero, Nebula ended up working with our favorite A-Holes against Ego, The Living Planet.
At the end of Vol. 2, Nebula turned down membership with the Guardians to hunt for Thanos and take her revenge. If she succeeds and defeats the Mad Titan in #AvengersInfinityWar, there's a strong chance that Nebula will join the Guardians in their third team venture. However, it seems far more likely that Gamora's sister may lose her life in the fight against her father...
Will Kraglin Obfonteri Join The Guardians Of The Galaxy In 'Vol. 3'?
Yondu's death left an arrow-shaped hole in the team at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but one of the many post-credit scenes promised a new replacement for the blue-skinned Ravager — one who's already begun training...
Sure, Kraglin accidentally stabbed Drax in the chest during practice, but the Guardians' newest recruit has four years to train before next appearing in Avengers: Infinity War. Assuming he survives the wrath of #Thanos, it seems like a safe bet that Sean Gunn will join his older brother to film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Which Form Of Groot Will Join The Guardians Of The Galaxy In 'Vol. 3'?
Groot is here to stay. I know it, you know it, the children who aren't born yet that will go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 know it too — but which incarnation will we see?
Like the Benjamin Button of superheroes, #Groot regressed into a baby-like form at the end of the first Guardians film, only to grow into a small child in the sequel. The post-credit scenes then moved forward into the future, depicting a hilarious clash between Star-Lord and teenage Groot.
Unfortunately, we imagine that this angsty version of our hero will have grown back to adult size by the time that the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie hits cinemas. However, we could (and certainly want to) see further glimpses of teen emo Groot in Infinity War, bonding with Spider-Man, because Tony Stark grounded him again!
Will Adam Warlock Join The Guardians Of The Galaxy In 'Vol. 3'?
In yet another post-credit scene for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the villainous Ayesha revealed her plans to design a being called Adam, who could destroy the team for her.
Comic book fans know that this signals the arrival of Adam Warlock, a hero from the comics who played a pivotal role in the fight against Thanos. While Gunn has already confirmed that Warlock won't appear properly onscreen until after the events of Infinity War, we suspect that he won't remain Ayesha's puppet for long. What's far more likely is that Warlock will initially fight the Guardians in Vol. 3, before swiftly betraying his maker and turning to the side of good.
Will Stakar & The Galactic Guardians Join The Guardians Of The Galaxy In 'Vol. 3'?
Tired of post-credit scenes yet? Well buckle up, because we're going to talk about one more that may change the future of the Guardians in the MCU more than any other. The scene in question reveals that Sylvester Stallone's Stakar has allied himself with other Marvel characters who bear more than a striking resemblance to the original team line-up in the comics.
Alongside Starhawk, original Guardians such as Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), and Mainframe (Miley Cyrus) all make an appearance. If the Guardians of the Galaxy lose members or even disband entirely, then Marvel now have a back-up team to take over the cosmic side of things in the MCU.
Will Iron Man Join The Guardians Of The Galaxy In 'Vol. 3'?
Ok, wait up. Yes, we know what you're thinking, but in the comics, #IronMan officially joined the Guardians of the Galaxy for a time when he became curious about the cosmic side of things. By teaming up with the likes of Star-Lord, Tony Stark realised that he could push himself as both a scientist and a superhero, bettering himself along the way.
Rumors suggest that Iron Man may bite the dust in the upcoming fight against Thanos in the MCU. After all, Robert Downey Jr. can only keep playing the role for so long, but who's to say that Iron Man couldn't leave the Avengers for a new team instead?
While this may seem unlikely, Tony Stark has already taken a supporting role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Perhaps smaller parts such as these could be the way forward for Iron Man. Who wouldn't love to see him trade banter with the likes of Rocket and Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
At the end of the day though, the entire team may just wind up dead at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. If that's the case, have no fear, because we still always have Howard the Duck and Cosmo the Dog to help us...
Which Guardians would you like to see in Vol. 3? Let us know in the comments section below!