During a Facebook Live Q&A with fans yesterday, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn revealed that the film will hit theaters in almost exactly two years, which likely means that it will hit theaters in the May 1, 2020 spot previously reserved for an undisclosed Marvel film.
This is not much of a surprise: Guardians of the Galaxy have become a massive tentpole for Marvel, who typically release the movies in which they have the most faith in May.
“I hope you guys have seen [Avengers: Infinity War]," Gunn told fans in the video embedded below. "I hope you enjoyed it. I hope that you’re excited to see what comes next a year from now if you’ve seen the movie, with Avengers 4, and then two years from today or around this time, when we’ll have Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3.”
While that is far from a confirmation, Gunn is the first Marvel director to know that everything he says and does on social media will end up headline news, and the seeming precision of his language combined with an as-yet-unscheduled May 1 movie from Marvel that year paints a pretty clear picture.
Gunn is currently in Atlanta working on the horror movie The H Collective with director David Yaroveski. Yaroveski is a longtime friend and collaborator of Gunn's, who directed the VR game tied to the Gunn-produced Blumhouse movie The Belko Experiment. The film stars Elizabeth Banks, who starred in Gunn's Slither.
All week, Gunn has been celebrating the box office success of Avengers: Infinity War and releasing old behind-the-scenes photos from the first Guardians film. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 is expected to begin filming in early 2019, but don't expect much in the way of behind-the-scenes photos; the film will be released after Avengers 4, and so the question of who lives and who dies in that movie could be answered by set spies unless Gunn and company keep the security dialed up to 11.
A May 1 release also means that, because of timing, 2020 will have a Guardians of the Galaxy movie in theaters just in time for comic book retailers to capitalize with Free Comic Book Day, which takes place on the first Saturday in May.
In the early days of the MCU, Marvel Studios would partner with their publishing side to create corporate synergy and help co-promote both events. Since the Disney acquisition, this has been less common (and with the Infinity War release date being moved up to last week, there will be no first-week new release of a Marvel film leading into Saturday's FCBD).