Will we see the Guardians of the Galaxy again, or is this truly the end for them?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may not match up to its predecessor on many levels, yet one notable distinction can be seen by its more subdued post-credit scenes compared to Vol 2. While Vol 2 featured five total post-credit scenes, James Gunn’s latest exhibits the restraint required of an average Marvel cinematic universe entry by showing only two. Let’s delve into these scenes and how they set up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 within its respective MCU timelines.

At the conclusion of Gunn’s latest movie – likely his last before taking over DC Extended Universe full time – Guardians disperse amicably and move off in different directions. As Peter Quill/Star Lord returns to Earth, his empath half-sister Mantis embarks on an emotional journey of self-discovery alongside three new battery-destroying companions named Abilisks who provide her with support. Gamora returns home, while Drax and Nebula stay behind at Knowhere to take care of the many children and animals liberated from High Evolutionary.

Though this appears to be the end of their first incarnation of the Guardians, their mid-credits scene hints at an exciting new lineup reminiscent of their comic counterparts. Rocket Raccoon can now be seen sitting by some rocks on an alien planet alongside former Ravager Kraglin and Soviet space dog Cosmo who were introduced as Guardians during his team’s Christmas special. Adam (aka The Warlock), along with Blurp – his fluffy alien pet adopted from Ravagers – as well as one of Sia-resembling child experiments who managed to escape Evolutionary’s grasp, can also be seen here. There has been much speculation that the latter is an alternate version of Phyla-Vell from another timeline and an eventual Guardian, but there’s no concrete evidence for this within the film itself.

At any rate, this group wore Guardian uniforms with red accents – cementing their place as the new core team rather than some new faction. An orange-skinned alien species flees in terror when something arrives over the horizon, as Rocket, Quill and Sparrow discuss Earth pop songs from decades past using an MP3 player that Quill had given to Rocket during the movie.

As a flood of alien feline cats approaches, the Guardians take swift and deliberate action to defend their new orange friends. As their soundtrack for this encounter, they choose Redbone’s 1974 track “Come and Get Your Love,” the same one Quill heard when his movie revealed its title. It’s an adorable throwback, but that is only half of this mid-credits sequence’s excitement. Groot (Vin Diesel), who stood beside the Guardians as one of their boulders, revealed his immense height by standing up and showing it was comparable to King Groot in comic books. Scene ends before our heroes begin their action-packed adventures and familiar needle drops, but gives a taster of what lies in store for them.

The second scene, which appears after the credits have rolled, is much quieter and subdued. Quill has now settled into his Earth life and enjoys breakfast with his grandfather and middle name-sake, Jason (Gregg Lee Henry), at their kitchen table. Grandpa Quill can be seen reading a newspaper story about Kevin Bacon’s alien abduction, alluding to his Christmas special appearance. They discuss helping an old lady across the street mow her lawn while engaging in some neighborhood gossip about her unemployed middle-aged son. Quill’s break from Guardian-ing should be both amusing and mundane; yet then comes an alien font on white background with “The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return”.

It would have been nice if the now-typical teaser message from James Bond included any reference to any of the other Guardians. But should Vol. 3 become a commercial success, it’s easy to see that Marvel may want most of these characters back in some capacity. Gamora died in Avengers: Endgame and technically Rocket did as well, not to mention we witnessed Quill pull his third space-suffocation scam in three films. These mid and post-credit scenes serve to assure us that these beloved characters remain viable — at least certain versions. We can take comfort knowing they may come back again whether their stories warrant further exploring or not.

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