Guardians 3 may kill off a major character – so who might die?

A promotional image for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 from Marvel Studios
(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is shaping up to be the final instalment in the Marvel movie series – and that may spell danger for one of its main characters.

During The Suicide Squad's press tour, director James Gunn teased the possibility of killing off a major Guardians character in the threequel.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Gunn said: "In this movie, The Suicide Squad, they say they're going to shoot each other in the face, and they not only say it, they actually do it. We know that can happen at any time. Whereas in Guardians, yes, obviously I killed Yondu, I killed the big original Groot, but it isn't the same thing. We know most of them are going to make it out alive. At least for two movies."

Gunn's comments don't necessarily mean that one (or more) of the Guardians won't survive their next adventure, but it sounds pretty ominous. His quotes are given greater weight, too, when you consider the fact that the Guardians 3 script has already been completed, so Gunn will already know if someone does perish.

So, which character is likely to be up for the chop when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 rolls into theaters? 

There are only two major candidates in our opinion: Rocket Racoon and Drax.

Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) in Guardians of the Galaxy 1

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Despite his animalistic appearance, Rocket is the heart and soul of the Guardians movies. Gunn has even likened himself to the character in the past and revealed that, if he hadn't had the chance to direct Guardians 3, not being able to finish Rocket's arc would have been a "big loss" to him.

Given that Gunn has also gone on record to say that Rocket "is a big part of what's happening in the future", it's likely that he'll be key to how the plot of Guardians 3 plays out.

Rocket has already undergone sizable character development across four Marvel movies – Guardians 1 and 2, plus Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame – so his transition from petty thief to galactic hero is almost complete. The next logical step, then, would be to see him give his life for his adopted family, so it would be unsurprising to see Rocket killed off in Guardians Vol. 3.

Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy 2

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

If Rocket survives (or if Gunn decides to throw us a curve ball), the only other candidate we can see dying is Drax.

Dave Bautista, who has portrayed Drax in both Guardians films and the last two Avengers movies, has heavily hinted that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be the last time that he plays the character. The fact that the actor was seemingly unhappy that he wasn't asked to voice Drax in What If...?, Marvel's forthcoming animated TV show, too, might embolden that decision.

Add in the fact that Bautista probably won't return for a Guardians movie without Gunn helming it – Bautista was a big critic of Disney's decision to fire Gunn in July 2018 over historically offensive tweets – and Guardians Vol. 3 may be Drax's swansong.

Should that prove to be the case, we could see Drax being just as likely as Rocket to lay his life on the line for the Guardians. 

Like Rocket, Drax has grown as a character throughout his Marvel movie appearances, so it would be a fitting end for the character if he sacrificed himself for someone like Mantis or the group as a whole.

It'll be a while before we find out if Gunn's comments are the primer for a major character dying, though. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 won't arrive until May 5, 2023, so it'll be another year and a half before we hear anything more concrete.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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