Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were treated to quite a wonderful surprise on Tuesday afternoon when news broke that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi had signed on to write and direct a fourth standalone Thor film. Given the critical praise and financial success Waititi found with Ragnarok, this shouldn't have been too much of a shock, but so much of Thor's future seemed to be in flux given Chris Hemsworth's long tenure with Marvel Studios. However, it seems like the whole team is ready for another round in the very near future. But what does that mean for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
In the final minutes of Avengers: Endgame, Thor went back into space with Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians, seemingly setting him up as a part of the beloved franchise going forward. This was instantly exciting for all MCU fans, even though it will likely be three to four more years before we see the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, due to writer/director James Gunn's firing and subsequent rehiring.
Whether or not Thor was actually going to play a part in Guardians 3 remains unknown, but the news of Waititi's new movie definitely throws a wrench into any potential plans.
Taika Waititi is shifting away from his work on the Akira live-action movie at Warner Bros. in order to focus on Thor 4, as the schedules of the two movies reportedly overlapped. Akira was set to hit theaters in 2021, so it stands to reason that Thor 4 could arrive at a similar time. Even if it's out a little later, it's almost guaranteed that Thor will arrive before Guardians. This is Waititi's next project, while Gunn has to film The Suicide Squad before he get back to Marvel.
So if Thor 4 hits theaters before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, that changes everything about the trajectory of the relationship between Thor and those other characters. The Guardians could show up in the next Thor film (they likely will in order to give Thor an exit from their ship and story) but that will have a significant effect on Vol. 3.
Gunn may not have planned on Thor being in the next Guardians film, which would mean that they simply have to drop him off at the beginning of Waititi's next installment and everything is as it should be. But given Gunn's executive producer credit on Endgame, and the fact that he has had the Guardians 3 script completed for some time, it would be safe to assume that he knew about Thor's new relationship with the team. Did he write Thor as a major character in the script, or just offer him a quick exit at the beginning?
Either way, there will likely need to be some reworking of story on the part of Taika Waititi, James Gunn, or both. Their lead characters are intertwined at this point, and the release of two solo movies will require a bit of untangling to make everything work.
What do you think will come of Thor and the Guardians over the next two films? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!