What films do you need to watch before Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3 releases in UK cinemas?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will conclude the misadventures of James Gunn’s space-faring family, starring Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation, Jurassic World) as Star-Lord, Zoë Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek) as Gamora, and Vin Diesel (Fast And The Furious) as talking tree (and fan favourite) Groot.
The ragtag team first leapt onto the big screen back in 2014, following on the heels of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And in a few short weeks, the Guardians of the Galaxy will take a final bow in their third cinematic outing.
But while you might assume that you’ll only need to watch Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 to get up to speed with everything that’s happened to the intergalactic gang, you’d be sorely mistaken.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) gets more complicated, there’s more and more homework to do before the latest trip to the cinema. For those hoping to catch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 on its UK release date of May 3, 2023 …you’ll need to watch the following five movies and one TV special on Disney Plus before heading to the cinema.
While there’s no Disney Plus free trial available in the UK these days, you’ll be able to binge-watch all of the MCU films and TV specials to catch-up with everything you need to know before the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.
What MCU films to watch before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3
The trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 tease an epic and emotional conclusion to their trilogy.
Star-Lord and his team of misfits find themselves adjusting to a new life on Knowhere. However, when Rocket’s past comes to light, Peter Quill finds himself leading the gang on a dangerous mission to protect the foul-mouthed raccoon, which could cause the gang to break apart permanently.
Below, we’ve put together the definitive list of Marvel movies and TV episodes that you need to stream before grabbing your popcorn and heading to your seat for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 this May. Everything listed below is available to stream on Disney Plus in the UK, so you won’t need to bother with a streaming VPN or anything complicated like that.
If you’re short on time, you can read our synopsis of each must-see entry in the MCU ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The first film in the Guardians Of The Galaxy trilogy arrived in cinemas back in 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The ragtag team of dodgy space Avengers first united when Star-Lord found himself in possession of the Orb, an object that contained the Power Stone. The purple Infinity gem was sought after by Ronan the Accuser on the orders of Thanos himself. After defeating the villain’s minion, the Guardians of the Galaxy handed over the Orb to the Nova Corps on the planet Xander.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)
The sequel hit cinemas three years later, but it’s actually also set a few months after the first film in 2014. In this adventure, Peter Quill is reunited with his father Ego, a Celestial being who turns out to be the film’s villain, killed Star-Lord’s mother and is bent on becoming one with the universe at the expense of everyone else. The Guardians defeat him but Yondu, who turns out to be Peter’s true father figure, saves his life by sacrificing his own space suit for him.
The Guardians Of The Galaxy were introduced to the other MCU characters in Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers Infinity War (2018)
The Guardians finally team up with Earth’s mightiest heroes in the MCU’s epic crossover blockbuster. The gang respond to an Asgardian distress call, rescuing Thor after he watched Thanos kill Loki and obtain both the Space and Power stones. Rocket and Groot team up with Thor, travelling to Nidavellir to forge the battle-axe Stormbreaker and join the fight in Wakanda.
Meanwhile, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax and Mantis head to Knowhere where Thanos obtains the Reality Stone from The Collector and kidnaps his own daughter Gamora. Tragically, the Mad Titan sacrifices her for the Soul Stone on Vormir.
The other Guardians meanwhile team up with Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man on Thanos’ home planet to capture and remove the Infinity Gauntlet from him. However, at this moment Peter learns that the villain killed his lover Gamora and punches him, breaking the despot out of Mantis’ trance that was holding him in place.
After more battling, Thanos obtains all six Infinity Stones and successfully snaps his fingers turning half of all life in the universe to dust. This includes all the Guardians of the Galaxy except for Rocket and Nebula.
Avengers Endgame (2019)
Five years later in 2023, the surviving Avengers re-team to go back in time and borrow the Infinity Stones from the past to undo the Snap. Tragically 2014 variants of Thanos, Nebula and Gamora (pre-the first Guardians movie) cotton on to this and travel to the future to battle the superhero team.
Luckily, Hulk had already reversed the Snap and the dusted Avengers came back to life for the big fight. During this, the Gamora variant is far from impressed with Star-Lord who she’s never met before, kicking him in the privates.
After Iron Man’s sacrificial death to defeat the Thanos variant, the Guardians of the Galaxy attend his funeral before jetting off back into space with Thor.
The fourth standalone Thor film, and second directed by Taika Waititi, includes the Guardians
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
The fourth Thor movie kicks off with the Asgardian god getting back into shape and having adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, before parting ways with them in the first act of the movie.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
The first Marvel Special Presentation on Disney+ is a 42-minute treat that was also directed by James Gunn when shooting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. The TV special has the team purchasing Knowhere from The Collector and taking on Cosmo the Spacedog as a new member of their gang.
Meanwhile, the plot centres on Mantis and Drax kidnapping Footloose star Kevin Bacon as a Christmas present for Star-Lord to remind him of his childhood. Aside from these amusing hijinks, a big reveal from Mantis is that she’s actually Peter’s half-sister since she’s Ego’s daughter.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3 UK release date
Galaxy of the Galaxy Vol 3 was recently brought forward to May 3, 2023.
While Marvel Studios had originally scheduled the blockbuster to hit UK cinemas on May 5, 2023, the company has now confirmed that British movie-goers will be able to see the epic conclusion to the story two days earlier than expected.