Capping off James Gunn’s cosmic trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sees the return of the eponymous team, along with several new characters. The Guardians of the Galaxy were last seen in their festive adventure on Disney+, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which marked the team’s biggest appearance since Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, aside from a small cameo in Thor: Love & Thunder. Written and directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a passion-project for the acclaimed filmmaker, acting as Gunn’s final project in the MCU before he diverts his full attention to his new role within DC Studios.
Following the events of Endgame and their Holiday Special, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sees the team continue their hunt for Gamora, while the film also explores the origin story of one under-developed original member of the team. Rocket’s history with the mysterious and terrifying High Evolutionary is uncovered, and the Adam Warlock tease from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s post-credits scene is finally paid off. As James Gunn’s final project with Marvel Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 marks the last ride for the original incarnation of the space-faring team, and boasts an impressive cast for their swansong adventure.
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, A.K.A. Star-Lord
The half-human, half-Celestial leader of the original team, Peter Quill debuted in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and has since fought alongside Ravagers, Nova Corps, and Avengers in a variety of MCU adventures. Chris Pratt reprises the role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, though this version of Star-Lord is less concerned with the state of the team, and more concerned with reuniting with his Gamora, who was sacrificed by Thanos during Infinity War, though must come to terms with the variant Gamora currently residing in the MCU. Star-Lord has been hardened by his recent experiences, so he isn’t the leader that audiences will remember.
Zoe Saldaña as Gamora
Zoe Saldaña debuted in Guardians of the Galaxy as Gamora, the fierce warrior daughter of Thanos who developed a heart, compassion, and even love for Peter Quill over the years. Avengers: Infinity War saw the original Gamora die at the hands of Thanos, though the Avengers’ Time Heist in Endgame allowed a 2014 variant to be set free in the present day, a version of Gamora who never traveled with her fellow Guardians. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gamora is revealed to be leading a faction of the Ravagers, the interstellar criminal syndicate that raised Peter, though she would eventually join her previous team in battle.
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Drax’s motivation for joining the team in Guardians of the Galaxy was to get closer to Ronan the Accuser and Thanos, killing them in revenge for slaughtering his family. Now this mission has been completed, its Drax’s dedication and commitment to his found family that makes him so endearing. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is Dave Bautista’s final time portraying Drax in the MCU, as the actor revealed that the toll of the long hours of make-up, and his desire to play more dramatic roles such as those in 2023’s Knock at the Cabin and Parachute, meant that leaving the MCU with Gunn was the right move.
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Gamora’s adoptive sister, and the more tortured daughter of Thanos, Nebula has seen more character development over her time in the MCU than most other characters. Karen Gillan originally portrayed the deadly Nebula as a villain, but through years of dissociation from Thanos, and in the wake of her father’s deaths in Avengers: Endgame, Nebula has begun to heal and become a valued member of the Guardians team. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 completes Nebula’s transformative story arc, allowing her to finally feel like a member of the team, rather than a prisoner or extension of Gamora.
Pom Klementieff as Mantis
Mantis is one of the lesser-developed members of the Guardians team, only being introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as the aide to Peter Quill’s Celestial father, Ego. Her empathic powers made her invaluable during Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, as she was able to subdue the incredibly strong wills of Ego and Thanos. While she often seemed like a strange addition to the team, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special revealed that Mantis and Peter are actually siblings, as Ego had also fathered the former, so while traveling with their found family, the pair also found biological family as well.
Vin Diesel as Groot
Vin Diesel has voiced various versions of Groot during his time in the MCU, debuting a looming and powerful Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, performing as Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a teenager in Avengers: Infinity War, and now a more muscular “Swole Groot” in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Before joining the team, Groot acted as Rocket’s bodyguard and accomplice, but very quickly extended this level of protection to the entire Guardians team, even sacrificing his own life to save them in Gunn’s MCU debut. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sees Groot’s skill-set expand, and proves his commitment to protecting his family.
Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Early on in production, James Gunn confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would explore Rocket’s MCU origins, a backstory that has only been mentioned in passing in previous MCU projects. Rocket has been a staple of the Guardians team since his 2014 introduction, and as one of only two survivors of Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War (with Nebula), Rocket has also been a member of the Avengers, seeing considerable growth during his time apart from his family. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an emotional ride for Rocket, bringing him face-to-face with his creator, uncovering lost love, and perfectly wrapping up his touching story arc.
Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri
Back in Guardians of the Galaxy, Kraglin was Yondu Udonta’s (Michael Rooker) right-hand-man within the ranks of the Ravagers, sticking by his leader fiercely, and eventually succeeding him as the wielder of the cybernetic fin and Yaka arrow. Kraglin was curiously missing from Avengers: Infinity War, though joined in the final battle in Endgame and played an important role in saving Christmas during The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is Kraglin’s first on-screen adventure as an official member of the Guardians team.
Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary
MCU newcomer Chukwudi Iwuji was cast as the High Evolutionary in November 2021, adapting the supervillain from Marvel Comics into live-action for the first time. The High Evolutionary is a scientist specializing in genetic engineering, working with the ambition to evolve all living beings into a “special race.” Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reveals that the High Evolutionary created the Rocket audiences know and love, though obviously left the original Guardian with deep mental scars that have a huge part ot play in the story of the Phase 5 film. The High Evolutionary is an incredibly exciting villain to be introduced to the MCU.
Will Poulter as Adam Warlock
The arrival of Adam Warlock into the MCU was teased back in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, though there had been no mention of him since then until Will Poulter’s casting in October 2021. Poulter being cast as Adam Warlock left many confused, but the young actor seems to bring a gravitas and energy to the role that can reassure die-hard Marvel fans. Created by the Sovereign to seek vengeance on the Guardians, Adam Warlock’s MCU backstory is significantly different from his Marvel Comics roots, where he is also usually seen as the guardian of the Soul Stone, though this was destroyed in Avengers: Endgame.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Supporting Cast & Characters
Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Spacedog – Bulgarian actor Maria Bakalova voiced Cosmo the Spacedog in her MCU debut during The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and was later revealed to be joining the Guardians of the Galaxy officially. In Marvel Comics, Cosmo is a telepathic Soviet dog who was sent into space, where the dog became the security chief on Knowhere. Bakalova also provided motion capture for Cosmo, so her appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is very exciting.
Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha – Introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Elizabeth Debicki portrays Ayesha, the High Priestess of the Sovereign. After Rocket stole batteries from the Sovereign, Ayesha attempted and failed to eliminate the team. Instead, she resorted to creating Adam Warlock, the perfect being, who could have the power to defeat them.
Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord – The Rocky star debuted in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as a high-ranking member of the Ravagers, who renounces Yondu as his faction after learning of their deal with Ego. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teased the formation of the original Guardians team from Marvel Comics, which included Ogord as Starhawk. His appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 proves there may still be a future for the Guardians following James Gunn’s exit.
Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex – Martinex was another member of Marvel Comics’ original Guardians of the Galaxy team, and joined Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s tease at this team-up. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sees these Ravager members return. As Gamora is now leading a faction of the Ravagers, Ogord and Martinex could have dealings with the former Guardian of the Galaxy herself.
Daniela Melchior – Previously appearing in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad as Ratcatcher 2, Daniela Melchior is an exciting addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast. Melchior was seen in trailers for the Phase 5 film alongside Peter Quill, Gamora, and Nebula, potentially taking them to see the High Evolutionary. She is the first Portuguese actor to appear in any MCU project.
Nico Santos – Santos was cast in an undisclosed role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in June 2022. He is best known for portraying Oliver T’Sien in Crazy Rich Asians and Mateo Liwanag in Superstore. Santos’ role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was kept very quiet prior to the film’s release.
Asim Choudhry – Similarly, nothing was known of Asim Choudhry’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ahead of the film’s release. The English comedian is best known for his roles in BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead, and Wonder Woman 1984. Asim Choudhry was the most recent addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast, joining the MCU in February 2023.
Lylla the Otter – Prior to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it wasn’t revealed who would be voicing Lylla upon her MCU debut. Trailers for the Phase 5 film revealed that the anthropomorphic otter and love-interest to Rocket would be appearing. After being featured as an Easter egg in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Lylla’s debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the perfect way to bring a close to Rocket’s fantastic character arc.