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James Gunn is clearly going to kill the best Guardians character

The Guardians of the Galaxy are coming to an end, and director James Gunn is ready to cause us a lot of heartache by killing our favourite character.

Star-Lord, Nebula, Mantis, Drax, and Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 release date is fast approaching and with it the end of the Guardians in the MCU. James Gunn has confirmed we will not see the band of MCU characters again, at least in their current form. And with Gunn taking on duties in the DCU, it’s time for him to sign off with a bang.

One of the biggest successes of the Marvel movie phenomenon has been the way the Guardians of the Galaxy have gone from comic book sideshows to become some of the most popular heroes in the whole franchise. We love this bunch of a-holes, and we’re really not ready to say goodbye.

But all good things must come to an end, and we suspect an incredibly tragic finale is in store in the upcoming superhero movie. More specifically, Gunn appears to be preparing us for the death of our favourite Guardian, Rocket.

You only have to look at the posters for the new movie to see that Rocket is being positioned as the central character this time around. Whether it’s a close-up of the little raccoon’s teary eye or the shot of Rocket leading the rest of his pals into action where we only see the other Guardians’ legs, this is Rocket’s story, for sure.

Then, there’s the footage in the trailers for the upcoming MCU movie. We see a younger version of Rocket in some kind of medical apparatus, presumably as part of the experiment that led him to be the walking, talking hero we know him as today.

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Now, you may be thinking James Gunn simply wants to put a different character at the heart of his story, having given Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) the limelight for the first two Guardians movies. That could be the case, but we fear something more sinister is at play here.

Another scene in the trailers shows Quill screaming and crying (and throwing up), clearly agonising over the death of one of his buddies. And what’s that next to him? That’s right, medical apparatus, which looks very similar to the one we see baby Rocket strapped into.

Rocket in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 trailer

Our theory is, Rocket’s story is about to come full circle, and he will meet his maker. Quite literally, in fact. The movie villain this time around is the High Evolutionary, who actually conducted the experiment to anthropomorphise Rocket in the first place.

There’s certainly precedent for Rocket dying in the comic books, too. In the first issue of the Secret Wars arc in 2015, both he and Groot are killed when they get involved in the incursion between Earth-616 and Earth-1610. With the Avengers Secret Wars release date on the horizon, it makes sense that the MCU would put its own spin on the fate of these characters.

Rocket in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Over the course of the action movies, no member of the Guardians clan has evolved quite as much as Rocket. The Guardians movies may be all fun and games on the surface, but there’s been a wonderful nuance to Rocket’s journey from closed-off lone wolf to feeling emotions and forming bonds with his found family.

How fitting then that a nefarious Marvel villain is going to come along and cruelly take all that away from Rocket (and from us). It’s worth remembering, too, that Gunn is not averse to killing off his characters. Yondu perished in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and the filmmaker also obliterated half of the cast of The Suicide Squad in his first DC movie.

As painful as it is, Rocket is on a classic hero’s arc, and his eventual demise just makes sense, so we should start preparing for the heartbreak now. At least we can be confident in the fact Gunn knows exactly what he is doing with these characters, and will do our favourite trash panda justice when the time comes.

Until then, why not learn more about the Guardians of the Galaxy cast or look ahead to what else is brewing in Marvel’s Phase 5, like The Marvels release date. Alternatively, you could just dive into our list of the best movies of all time.