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How Thor: Love and Thunder sets up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

The search for Gamora? Maybe not.

Thor: Love and Thunder might be largely self-contained within the wider MCU, but there is one notable connection.

At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor went off with the Guardians of the Galaxy which many thought might be a nod to the MCU setting up their own version of the Asgardians of the Galaxy, a team of Thor-related characters in the comics.

We don't know if that was ever officially the plan for Thor to be a major role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. However, the delays to that movie have meant that Thor: Love and Thunder has arrived in cinemas before the Guardians threequel and, in the MCU timeline, takes place before it.

Thor might not be playing a role in the next Guardians movie, but does Thor: Love and Thunder do anything to set up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3? Mild spoilers ahead as we delve into how the Guardians feature in the new movie.

pom klementieff, chris pratt, chris hemsworth, thor love and thunder
Marvel Studios

Thor: Love and Thunder picks up an unspecified time after the events of Avengers: Endgame and while we don't see them, we know that Thor has been on a few adventures already with the Guardians.

This is mostly told through a recap by Korg and we're told that Thor is undergoing some "quiet contemplation". After all, he's been through a lot, so we don't blame him for having some alone time. He's still with the Guardians though and they interrupt his meditation for some help.

The planet they've arrived on has lost its gods, leading to a collapse in its society. Thor single-handedly helps restore order, but not without doing some damage to their sacred temple. Oops.

Their planet isn't the only one that has lost its god though as the Guardians reveal that they've been receiving numerous distress calls about god deaths from across the universe. We know that it's Gorr doing all the killings, but neither Thor nor the Guardians know that at this point.

One of the distress calls comes from Lady Sif which obviously shakes Thor up a bit, and he wants everybody to head to her to help out. Star-Lord rightly points out that a lot of planets need their help, so maybe he wants to go off and help Thor while they deal with some of the other distress calls.

christian bale, thor love and thunder
Marvel Studios

And with that, Thor and the Guardians part ways fairly early on in Thor: Love and Thunder, and we don't see the Guardians again. They don't even pop up in a credit scene, so the only clues we have to their adventure in the third movie come from these early scenes.

We don't know much about the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 beyond the fact that we know it's their final adventure. It had been assumed after Endgame brought back an alternate Gamora that the movie would be about the search for her.

There's a reference to Gamora when Star-Lord is telling Thor to find someone he'll love and then feel "shitty" about, a nod to Gamora's death in Avengers: Infinity War. However, we don't get any hint that the Guardians are currently searching for the other Gamora.

Perhaps Star-Lord has moved on and accepted that the Gamora that now exists in the MCU isn't his Gamora. From their brief interaction in Endgame, she doesn't seem exactly keen to pick up where her alternate self left off, but Peter was searching for her at the end.

Given that it's the final movie of the Guardians trilogy, we'd be amazed if Gamora wasn't reunited with the Guardians at some point. But maybe it'll come as a coincidence rather than a result of Peter searching for her?

The Guardians presumably went off to help out other societies who have lost their god as a result of Gorr's actions. It would seem odd if the third movie started with them on an entirely different mission as Thor: Love and Thunder makes it clear that no god equals trouble.

guardians of the galaxy in infinity war
Marvel Studios

We don't know exactly how many gods Gorr manages to butcher before he turns his target to Thor, but it's clear he's killed a lot. That means there's a fair bit of chaos in the universe and it could impact Gamora as well, leading to her crossing paths with the Guardians unintentionally.

Equally, this particular subplot could be dealt with swiftly at the start of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, much like Thor: Love and Thunder ditches the Guardians fairly early on to get on with its own story.

Talking to Digital Spy, Taika Waititi admitted that he didn't know anything about the third Guardians movie when it came to writing the new Thor movie. "I never read a script, I never talked to James [Gunn] about that film," he explained.

"All I did was I wrote what I thought the characters sounded like, sent those pages to James and he was like: 'Star-Lord wouldn't say that'. The same thing with Thor on Infinity War and Endgame, I came in just to help with the way Thor speaks."

To that end, it makes sense that there's not much connective tissue between the two. There's even a Holiday Special to fit in before the threequel, so James Gunn might have even used that as a chance to change the Guardians' mission ahead of the third movie.

At least we only have a year to wait before finding out and maybe if we're lucky, we'll have some new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 news to enjoy later this month at Comic-Con. We can dream.

Thor: Love and Thunder is out now in cinemas, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is set for release on May 5, 2023.

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