Chris Hemsworth said in a new interview that he plans to recuperate from back-to-back 2019 blockbusters by not filming anything for a while and spending time with his family. That is a fairly normal response to a work schedule that sees the actor away from home for months at a time, but some fans are wondering whether that rules him out as a cast member in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, which is expected to film in 2020. Given that his character was set up as a potential Guardian in Avengers: Endgame and Hemsworth himself recently expressed enthusiasm for the idea, that seems a little puzzling.
What is actually going on? Nobody can be completely sure, but there are a lot of variables that go into a story like this, and Hemsworth's desire to take a break is not the only factor. At this point, not only is his availability and schedule a question mark, but it is not yet known whether Gunn planned for, or wants, Thor in the movie. The exact wording of Hemsworth's quote about taking a break is also fairly vague, so anybody taking it too literally is likely to be giving themselves headaches over a little bit of nothing.
We'll start there: Hemsworth said,"This year I probably won't shoot anything. I just want to be at home now with my kids. They are at a very important age. They are still young and they are aware when I leave more than before. I have this year where I'm probably not going to shoot anything. I have a press tour, a few endorsements and bits and pieces, but mostly just be home." So is "this year" 2019 or 2020? Is he talking about a full year? A calendar year? Without a more precise explanation of his intent, it would be difficult to nail down exactly what Hemsworth was talking about -- and frankly it does not sound like he was being particularly exacting with his language. The entire conversation could be moot if he was just ballparking the comment and would actually be open to a movie that works around his schedule; or if he means 12 months and Guardians shoots at the end of the year; or any of a number of similar variables.
The Gunn factor is similarly unclear. While James Gunn certainly had some idea what they were going to do in Infinity War and Endgame -- he had to, given the role Gamora plays in all of it -- nobody but Gunn and Kevin Feige know exactly what he knew and when. Certainly, introducing a character who looms as large as Thor in the third part of a trilogy could be a storytelling challenge -- and Gunn was conceiving the Guardians 3 story before Thor: Ragnarok was out there in the world and everyone knew that Hemsworth would be a great fit for the crew of the Benatar. Even if he knew all the details and had confidence in Hemsworth to fit in with the Guardians cast, who is to say Gunn would necessarily want to have his third-and-final movie become a de facto sequel to Endgame? There are a lot of questions here, and they all boil down to one thing: until Gunn or Hemsworth start talking more openly about Guardians plans, we as the audience to not know what Gunn is planning just yet.
Last but not least -- timing. While Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 is expected to film in 2020, wrapping production before The Suicide Squad makes its way to theaters, Marvel has not yet officially slated a start date for the movie. It could be that they plan on filming in the second half of 2020 (a calendar year away) or even in 2021 if doing so suits the needs of an increasingly in-demand cast (David Bautista, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Pratt all have busy and blockbuster-heavy schedules right now -- just like Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Chris Hemsworth. Ultimately, it may be easier to shoot a little further out -- not just for Hemsworth's benefit but so that everyone has a chance to line up their other obligations.
It is expected that Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 will be in theaters in the next 3 years. Until Marvel announces their next release slate, we don't have much more information than that.