Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn explains what will be different about the third Guardians movie. Gunn helmed both previous Guardians of the Galaxy installments, delving deeper into the cosmic side of the MCU and introducing many new faces to the franchise with the first Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. The Guardians team, which includes Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, Zoe Saldaņa as Gamora, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Vin Diesel as Groot, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis, have become a staple feature of the MCU, appearing in movies outside their franchise, such as Avengers: Infinity War.

Due in large part to Gunn's signature directing style, the Guardians of the Galaxy films sport a lighthearted and irreverent tone and are packed with witty jokes, pop culture references, exciting musical moments, and plenty of color. That trend is set to continue with Disney+'s The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which was filmed alongside Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and is set before the events of that final film. However, viewers can expect a slight change in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, according to Gunn. During a conversation with Entertainment Weekly, the director teases a more serious tone in the third installment, with a particularly emotional storyline for Pratt's character. See what he has to say below:

Vol. 3 has a lot of the fun and the goofy stuff of Guardians, but it's also incredibly emotional. It's the end of the story for this group of Guardians, so there was a lot of emotion around it. It was very serious a lot of the time. The actors were all pushing themselves a lot, especially Chris Pratt. It was heavy.
How The Guardians Have Evolved In The MCU

When Peter, Gamora, Rocket, Drax, and Groot were introduced in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, the characters were deeply flawed individuals who came together to achieve a common goal despite their various trust issues. However, they banded together over the course of the film, forming a familial unit and choosing to continue traveling together. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, they brought Mantis into the fold as well as reconciling with Nebula, displaying the growth in each team member in terms of lowering their walls and choosing to trust and protect others.

The Guardians' evolution as a team and as individuals will likely play into Gunn's depiction of the more serious upcoming conclusion to their trilogy. The emotional beats in the previous two Guardians of the Galaxy films have often come from various members of the team, particularly Peter, facing their pasts, which Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will hopefully do for some less-utilized members of the group, perhaps Rocket. In addition, the Guardians' genuine care for one another will likely come to a head when Peter comes face-to-face with a different version of the woman he loved, with the film's version of Gamora having come from a different timeline.

While the previous two Guardians of the Galaxy films have featured plenty of moving and emotional moments, Gunn's description of the filming experience as "very serious a lot of the time" indicates a departure from the franchise's overall tone. This shift is fitting, since the upcoming 2023 movie is expected to be the the Guardians team's final MCU adventure, which likely led to a bittersweet finale for the tight-knit group. In addition, they have suffered plenty of tragedy during their time in the MCU, which will likely be explored in more depth in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.