Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1969 and got various versions since then. Guardians joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014 when the first movie was released all over the world. This particular version of the team is based on the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy team that is assembled of Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Groot, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer, with some small additions for the Silver Screen and creative decisions from the director of the movie, James Gunn.
We will provide you with all the important details of each Guardian of the Galaxy movie and explain some creative changes that are different from the original source material. Moreover, we will explain the timelines of each movie, the Guardians’ impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and future announced projects where they will appear. We will warn you of spoilers of Guardians of the Galaxy movies. If you are interested in this topic, definitely stay with us until the end of the article.
Guardians of the Galaxy Movies in Order (at a Glance)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
As you can see, some of these titles are independent Guardians of the Galaxy movies that are mostly connected to the Avengers but the first two installments were more independent from the rest of the Avengers group and storylines. After the first two volumes, Guardians of the Galaxy got their cameos in big crossover movies and continue that trend until the recently released Marvel projects. We will mention future projects that are announced and discuss their role in current Marvel Cinematic Universe storylines.
We will also include announced projects connected to the Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel Cinematic Universe, and mention potential TV shows as well, that are fulfilling the Guardians timeline. With all that being said, we can now start with further analysis.
Guardians of the Galaxy Movies in Order (Fully Explained)
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy project was first mentioned at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con where Kevin Feige first announced the potential Guardians project in the MCU. He loved that the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book stories and the team were revamped in a fun and cool way, which is definitely noticeable in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. James Gunn directed the movie, and it gained massive success all over the board.
The movie adapted the original source material of the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy team and told the origin story of Peter Quill, Star-Lord, and other Guardians. This movie is part of Phase Two of MCU and the events of the Guardians assembling and their stories happen after Captain America: The Winder Soldier, and before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 movie and the second Avengers movie, Age of Ultron.
All in all, the story of the Guardians in the first movie is quite simple – the origin story of Peter Quill and the consequent assembling of the Guardians of the Galaxy team. We get to see a hunt for Power Stone, which will have enormous importance for future Marvel projects, and meet cool characters like Yondu and Collector which will not be their last appearance in the MCU.
The movie is extremely funny and witty which falls really well within the tone of the MCU, and has a great soundtrack and overall direction of it. This is the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie that we got that raised the standards of the MCU after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is still considered one of the best movies.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. movie is immediately after the first installment. This time the story follows Peter Quill and his mysterious parentage, which was later revealed that his father was a Celestial called Ego, who got involved with Quill’s mother while being on Earth. This movie has a much darker undertone than the first one, with Quill’s father being revealed as a serial murderer of the children who used Star-Lord for his ultimate plan to conquer the whole Universe.
Peter Quill also finds out that Yondu saved his life by not taking him to Ego, who used thousands of children to carry a Celestial power, and when they fail, ultimately kill them. He also finds out that cancer that killed his mother, was actually bestowed on her by Ego himself. This is devastating for Star-Lord who gets another “punch in the gut” after Yondu sacrifices himself to save him, ultimately confirming that he is Peter Quill’s true father figure.
We also meet a new character that is added to the team, Mantis and Gamora, and Quill are first mentioned as a couple.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 received positive critical acclaim but was deemed inferior to the first movie. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 happens just before Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was released two years prior to the Guardians movie.
3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
This is the first big crossover movie Guardians of the Galaxy to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and serves as a foundation for future teaming up with the Earth colleagues. This partnership happens four years after the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and the team decides to help the Avengers to stop Thanos, a warlord from Titan, who wants to conquer the universe by killing half of its population.
To stop the Titan from collecting all Infinity Stones, Guardians and the rest of the Avengers team up, but unfortunately, they fail. We all know what happened – Gamora was sacrificed for the Soul Stone and Thor missed the target, which prompted Thanos to do a Snap. All of the Guardians were snapped besides Nebula and Rocket, who stayed behind.
This is the movie we finally see the Guardians’ full power, but also an emotional judgment that clouded some of them, especially Peter Quill who made a massive mistake by fumbling the capturing of Thanos, stunned by the grief of his lover dying. The Infinity War is also the first movie where we truly see Guardians with the other MCU superheroes, and they do not disappoint – their funny, witty nature is what propellers this movie a lot.
4. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Of course, Avengers: Endgame comes next. Because all of the Guardians were snapped beside Nebula and Rocket, their characters are the ones we see the most in the movie. One character returned in Infinity War and that was the 2014 version of Gamora, who in her universe serves Thanos loyally. During Time Heist, Nebula goes back to 2014 and sees that her alternate self and Gamora are serving under Thanos. After a few events that lead to 2014 Thanos finds out about the Time Heist and its ultimate goal, Avengers to resurrect the fallen people who disappeared in the Snap and kill Thanos once and for all.
As we already mentioned, Nebula and Rocket have huge roles in saving the universe but the rest of the Guardians, including alternate versions of Gamora, help in the Battle of Earth, where the group of superheroes finally kill Thanos once and for all.
Endgame also sets up Thor teaming up with the Guardians which will be important for future Marvel Cinematic Universe projects.
5. Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
We never really find out what happened to Thor after the Avengers: Endgame movie, and his Thor: Love and Thunder introduce us to what happened to him after he boarded that Guardians of the Galaxy spaceship. After he joins the Guardians in the effort to save the rest of the Universe from the dangerous threats, Thor gets a distress call from Sif, who tells him that someone is killing gods.
He finds out about that information after the Battle of Indigarr, where Thor together with the Guardians of the Galaxy, realizes that Gorr the Butcher is responsible for god’s killings. This was actually a small cameo of the Guardians because we do not see them anymore in the Love and Thunder. They only appeared for the sake of Thor’s character progression that in the end led to them doing their own thing and Thor saving Asgard on the other side.
As of now, this is the last sighting of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the present timeline in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with future projects promising more Guardians of the Galaxy stories and cameos in other movies.
Upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Projects
We already got a lot of announced Marvel content that will be released in the future which, of course, will include Guardians of the Galaxy. On August 10, which coincidentally is today, the I Am Groot animated series of shorts will start airing on the Disney+ platform, which will follow Baby Groot on various adventures that mostly get him in trouble between the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie and the second one.
Vin Diesel will come back to portray everyone’s favorite Guardian, Groot, which will also include other Guardians as well, most notably Rocket, played by Bradley Cooper.
Another Guardians of the Galaxy project comes in the form of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special which will air in December of 2022 on Disney+. which will be deemed as a really important prologue to the third Guardians movie and consequently Phase Five. What we know officially is that the original cast will come back to reprise their roles and will serve as the epilogue of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
At last, a huge movie that will be part of Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is confirmed by James Gunn and Kevin Feige as the last Guardians of the Galaxy movie in this universe. Volume 3 will be released in the May of 2023, and it will be the second movie in the Multiverse Saga of MCU.
All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy content does not lack in the next few years, and we cannot wait what will their role be in the Multiverse Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is unveiled more with every project Marvel release.
Do You Need to Watch Guardians of the Galaxy Movies in Order?
In the end, we can conclude this – you can watch all Marvel movies chronologically because it will make more sense of what led to the current situation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the other hand, you can skip some movies and watch only the ones including Guardians because they do not depend on the other characters that much, like for example, Falcon and Winter Soldier, whose stories cannot be separated from Captain America.
Most of the time, Guardians of the Galaxy have their own thing going on, which is not surprising since, at the beginning of the development process of the movies, Kevin Feige did say that Guardians of the Galaxy are in some way their own versions of Avengers, and he was not wrong.