James Gunn explains why Guardians of the Galaxy 3 ended as it did

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James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy 3 endingMarvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 spoilers follow.

As Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy have completed their final quest before parting ways, writer-director James Gunn has been talking about the trilogy's ending.

Vol 3 delivers an emotional conclusion by honouring its characters and their individual and collective journeys, without tragedy striking in the form of sudden deaths.

In an interview with The New York Times, Gunn explained having all the Guardians make it through the movies in one piece and finding their purpose was always the plan.

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Related: James Gunn reflects on Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy ending

"Gamora was going to die originally in Vol 2 [2017], and then we talked about it happening in Infinity War and that worked better for the story," the filmmaker said.

"But the rest of them, I always knew where they were going. I knew that the whole trilogy is about Rocket, who we think of as a supporting character, becoming the captain of the Guardians."

Gunn also gave some more insights into Peter/Star-Lord's arc. As the film draws to a close, Peter decides to return to earth and reunites with his grandfather.

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"The arc with Peter Quill, in some ways, you can look at as that of many people who have experienced childhood trauma," the director said.

"He was by his mother's bedside when she died, and he ran away and went into outer space – which, for other people, could be shutting off from the world – and stayed there for a long time until he came to the realization as an adult that he needed to go back to Earth. That, for me, was always his journey."

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Marvel Studios

Related: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a brilliant end to a brilliant trilogy

Gunn had a clear vision for each of the other Guardians, too.

"Nebula becomes a leader, but a different sort of leader from where she was. Mantis goes off on her own and takes care of herself because she lived by others' rules her entire life," Gunn said.

"Drax realises that he's a father and that's what he's really good at – he's not a destroyer. All those things, some more clearly than others, were in my mind from the first movie."

The final scenes confirm Rocket is at the head of a new gang of Guardians, who may or may not pop up in future movies. As for the others, they all seem to be doing their own thing across the galaxy – just don't expect them to see them back for a fourquel.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is in cinemas now. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 and Vol 2 and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special are streaming on Disney+.

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