HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 19: Writer/director James Gunn at The World Premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA April 19th, 2017 (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is about to hit Digital HD on August 8, but as always, fans are looking to the future of the Marvel franchise. Writer/director James Gunn already confirmed his return for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (and that is the title) months ago, but no release date has been set. Now we have our first clue, beyond the logical assumptions we’ve made.

Gunn sat down with Collider yesterday and when asked about production plans, he gave an approximate start date.

“It would be a little more than a year that we start filming.”

That would put the start of production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in late 2018, or possibly early 2019. If that schedule holds, GotG Vol. 3 will be on pace for a probable May 1, 2020 release date, which is the date most have assumed. Consequently, Vol. 3 would be the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Phase 3 concludes with Untitled Avengers in May 2019 (the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel will be first in July 2019).

There is a lot of work to be done before filming can begin. Gunn is currently writing the film and discussed the challenges in bringing his Guardians trilogy to a worthy conclusion.

“It’s been pretty easy. The truth is, the first movie is the first act, the second movie is the second act, and the third movie is the third act so I’m tying a lot of stuff together in the third film. We get a lot of answers on a lot of different things, so doing that in an elegant way takes a little bit of grace and elegance. It’s more challenging in that respect writing the third movie than the second movie.”

Gunn is two for two with GotG thus far, with both films being massive critical and financial hits. Expectations will be even higher for the third film, but the director is prepared to meet them. Better still, we’re less than three years away from seeing his third act.
In addition to the Digital HD release on August 8, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be released on 4K UHD and Blu-ray August 22.