- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is confirmed to take place in the MCU’s present day, likely early 2026, based on narrative context and its placement in the Disney+ timeline.
- The movie’s references to events like Gamora’s death and Groot’s growth suggest that it takes place at least two years after Avengers: Endgame.
- While Disney+’s timeline order may not be fully accurate, multiple movies and shows can occur simultaneously in the MCU, allowing for flexibility in the timeline.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s place in the MCU timeline has seemingly been confirmed by Disney+, but whether it is fully accurate or not is up for fans to debate. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy came to an end with the cosmic team’s final mission together, which arrived earlier than expected when Adam Warlock critically injured Rocket Raccoon. By reaching back to Rocket’s roots in the High Evolutionary’s twisted experiments, the Guardians have closed an era and opened a new one just in time for the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, which may feature a new version of the team in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
On August 2, 2023, Disney+ added Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to its Marvel library. When browsing the Multiverse Saga section in Disney+’s Marvel collection, the Guardians of the Galaxy threequel appears between Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Secret Invasion, putting it right in the MCU’s present day: late 2025 or early 2026. Although the exact dates of each MCU release continue to be left ambiguous, there are some details that confirm Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s place in the timeline.
All Other Clues To Guardians of the Galaxy 3’s MCU Timeline Placement
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has little references to Earth’s current events due to its cosmic setting, but it does present connections with Avengers: Endgame and its aftermath. Star-Lord is still processing Gamora’s death and replacement with a new variant, and Nebula mentions that Gamora hasn’t been with the Guardians for a few years. Coupled with the fact that Groot grew much more between Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 than he did between Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder, the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie cannot take place less than two years after Avengers: Endgame.
In September 2022, director James Gunn had already expressed his thoughts on the matter on Twitter, saying “I don’t imagine the Guardians were with Thor for two years, but it does feel like there’s a couple years between Endgame & Vol 3.” Taking these two years into account, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special‘s Christmas setting provides another important clue, as the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 need to happen after December 2025, which almost confirms that the movie takes place in early 2026. Therefore, its place in Disney+’s timeline seems to be correct, but the order of the surrounding titles may not be so accurate.
Is Disney+’s MCU Timeline Accurate For Phase 4 & 5?
Disney+’s MCU timeline is laid out in release order, and the events of all movies and shows released so far appear to follow roughly the same sequence. However, Disney+’s layout results in a large gap between Ms. Marvel and Secret Invasion, which need to happen closer to each other in order for them to match The Marvels‘ place in the MCU timeline. It’s possible that Ms. Marvel‘s post-credits scene takes place much later than the rest of the show, but there aren’t enough clues to confirm that prior to The Marvels. Screen Rant has reached out to Disney for clarification in this regard.
It may not be necessary to take any MCU timeline order so literally, as two or more movies and shows can take place simultaneously. For instance, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special serves as a direct prelude to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but it appears to be set before Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on Disney+. Likewise, many Phase 4 and 5 projects could be happening while Ms. Marvel first switches places with Carol Danvers, which can also happen while Nick Fury returns to space before The Marvels begins.