The 2023 summer blockbuster season kicks off on Friday, May 5, with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The upcoming threequel will mark the culmination of Marvel Studios’ breakout franchise after the group of relatively unknown heroes burst onto the scene back in 2014. Since then, the original film and its successor have collectively grossed over $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office.
Before you check out the trilogy's final film this weekend, let’s give you a guide on what to watch as you brush up your Guardians' knowledge.
What to watch before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The trilogy's first film introduces fans to the group of misfits that are now beloved, although it wasn’t as smooth sailing for them in the first go-around. The Guardians go head-to-head with Ronan the Accuser as both parties battle over possession of a mysterious “orb.” The first film grossed $770 million at the worldwide box office and $333 million domestically.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
The highly anticipated follow-up film grossed $869 million at the worldwide box office and $389 million domestically while marking the first appearances of Ego and Mantis. The sequel film is filled with can’t-miss cameos and a plethora of end credits scenes that shouldn’t be skipped, including a significant tie-in to the upcoming threequel heading to theaters on Friday.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
The culmination of 10-plus years of storytelling is finally realized in Infinity War, as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must band together to face their greatest threat in the Mad Titan Thanos. As the film’s foe embarks on a search for all six infinity stones, the Avengers inevitably come across and enlist the aid of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
With the tagline “whatever it takes,” the Avengers employ one last plan to right the errors of the past and fend off the greatest threat to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel fans get to see their hopes realized as the Guardians of the Galaxy fight side-by-side with the MCU’s greatest heroes in the conclusion to The Infinity Saga.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
After a brief cameo in 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder, the Guardians officially return in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which is available on Disney Plus. In celebration of the holiday season, the Guardians partake in a quest to give Star-Lord the gift of Earth’s mightiest hero: Kevin Bacon! The special has been well-received by critics and fans as it holds a 93% critics score and an 80% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.