'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' Will Help Kickstart New Story in Marvel Cinematic Universe

Avengers 4 will end the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it according to Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, but Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is setting the record straight that it's just the end of a chapter, not the end of the world.

Gunn took to Twitter today to clarify what the end of the MCU's Phase Three meant not just for the MCU in general but the Guardians team specifically. Gunn particularly wanted to make sure that fans understood that the end of story and the end of the universe weren't the same thing. After all, there are still Guardians stories to tell.

The idea that the MCU would be coming to an end with Avengers 4 at the end of Phase Three is an idea that's been floating around now for a while thanks to comments from Feige. Even though there are planned MCU movies after Avengers 4 -- specifically Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel which are in development and pre-production respectively -- fans took Feige's comments about not being certain what the structure of a "phase four" would look like coupled with commentary that Avengers 4 closes out the story crafted over 22 total MCU movies to mean either that Marvel films were done or, and possibly more worrisome for fans, that everything was being rebooted.

However, Feige has consistently acknowledged that there is more to the MCU after Phase Three. He even spoke about moving on after Avengers 4 at the Thor: Ragnarok red carpet premiere in Los Angeles recently, acknowledging there was more to tell but that things would need to "start anew."

“And where we go beyond that?" Feige said. "Of course, we will go places beyond that. And, of course, we have ideas of where we go beyond that. But, really, it is all good stories. And as the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation said, ‘All good things must come to an end.’ And part of what makes them special, there is a finite quality to the best of fictional stories through history. And we wanted to do that at the end of our first three phases and 22 movies. How we start anew and wherever we go beyond that is a story for another time. This is really about 10 years on, bringing something to a head in a satisfying and unexpected way.”

And when it comes to the places beyond Avengers 4 that Marvel will go, Gunn was clear in pointing out that, while the Guardians are a part of both Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4, their story doesn't end with Phase Three. Their story won't wrap up until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sometime in the so-called Phase Four.

Given how Marvel has kicked off previous phases on the MCU with films dealing with change – Iron Man 3 dealing with Tony Stark dealing with his own personal fallout from the Battle of the New York at the start of Phase Two, Captain America: Civil War seeing the Avengers come apart at the start of Phase Three -- having the third Guardians installment be the opening of a new story makes sense, especially if Avengers 4 brings major changes for all the heroes involved.

Avengers: Infinity War will open in theaters May 4, 2018 with Avengers 4 to follow in 2019 but you can catch up with Thor and the Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017.

Thor: Ragnarok2017

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