After a tumultuous five-year period, including James Gunn’s year-long exile from Marvel Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ties a tight bow on one of Marvel’s best and most unusual trilogies. The finale hinges on the medical rescue of Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), which not only unearths his horrific origin story but pits the Guardians against Rocket’s maker, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji).
When the story ends and the credits roll, the Guardians as we know them are no more. But what happens to each of them, exactly? Below, we break down the endings of each of the main characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — and then some.
Warning: Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ahead.
What happens to Rocket in Guardians 3?
Arguably the main character of Vol. 3, Rocket’s story ends well for the tough fella. After finally acknowledging what he was — a normal Earth raccoon picked up for experimentation — Rocket rises to become who he’s meant to be: a Guardian of the frickin’ Galaxy.
After defeating the High Evolutionary and rescuing all of his experiments, children and animals alike, Rocket assumes leadership of the Guardians of the Galaxy and embarks on a mission to protect the cosmos. Not only do the Guardians now have nifty uniforms, but they also have new members: Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), and a girl who was among the High Evolutionary’s experimental subjects.
Groot is also still with the Guardians. He’s now oversized like a kaiju monster that honors his original comic book depictions.
What happens to Nebula in Guardians 3?
Far removed from her days as a subject of Thanos, Nebula (Karen Gillan) now leads the people on Knowhere. As Nebula puts it, she hopes to raise them all as the family she wishes she had herself.
What happens to Mantis in Guardians 3?
Like Nebula, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) never quite had an identity of her own. She’s been a servant of Ego and a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. With some Abilisks as companions, Mantis ventures off into the wide-open universe in search of her own self.
What happens to Drax in Guardians 3?
Drax (Dave Bautista) offers to join Mantis on her journey, but Mantis insists it’s a road she must travel on her own. That’s when Nebula tells Drax that she needs his help on Knowhere. Drax clearly misses being a father and was a natural at taking care of the children that the High Evolutionary kept in cages. For now, Drax’s home is on Knowhere.
What happens to Gamora in Guardians 3?
While Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) spends most of the movie trying to win back Gamora (Zoë Saldana), Gamora is not having it. She is just not the same Gamora Peter fell in love with. That Gamora is long gone, sacrificed by Thanos for the Soul Stone.
In Vol. 3, we learn that Gamora has taken up with the Ravagers, and has become one of their leaders. The movie ends with her return to the Ravagers, who welcome her back with open arms. She might not have the Guardians, but she still has a place where she belongs.
What happens to Peter Quill in Guardians 3?
This is a big one. After 30-odd years, Peter is convinced by Mantis to return home to Earth where he might still have family waiting for him. Indeed he does: Peter’s grandfather, whom he left behind the night his mother passed away, is still alive in Missouri, and the two enjoy an emotional reunion to close out the movie.
The second post-credits scene has Peter simply having breakfast with his granddad like it’s 1988. That’s when the movie tells us something new about the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return.” How? When? Why? We’ll have to wait until we learn more. Hey, there’s Avengers: Secret Wars on the horizon.