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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 post-credit scenes explained

Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.
Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. (Marvel Studios)

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The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 post-credits scenes serve two purposes. Firstly, they entertain, and secondly they set up potential avenues for exploration in future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

With Vol. 3 — now streaming on Disney+ — representing the final time, according to writer-director James Gunn who is leaving the franchise, we’ll see this particular configuration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, this doesn’t mean there won’t be another Guardians movie. It will just likely have a different line-up. It also doesn’t mean we’ll never see the characters we’ve grown to love within the MCU again.

So on that note, let’s dive into the Guardians of the Galaxy post-credits scenes and unpack what happens and what it could mean for the future of the MCU Phase 5 and beyond.

Beware, we’re about to head into spoiler territory.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

How many Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 post-credits scenes are there?

There are two post-credits scenes following the close of the movie, during which Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) relinquishes leadership of the Guardians and hands over to Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). “You’ll make a better leader than I ever was,” he tells the Raccoon. We see the first mid-credits sequence after the first section of the credits has rolled.

The second comes right at the end, after the credits have completely finished rolling. Two post-credits sequences matches the number Vol. 1 of the trilogy incorporated. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 meanwhile set a record in the MCU with five post-credits stingers.

What happens in the mid-credits scene?

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord and Dave Bautista as Drax in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. (Marvel Studios)
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord and Dave Bautista as Drax in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. (Marvel Studios)

After we’ve seen Peter head back to Earth just prior to the end credits to reunite with his Grandpa, Rocket is shown in the leadership role in the new iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Mantis (Pom Klementieff), we previously learned, has expressed a desire to go it alone in order to figure out what it is she actually wants for herself. Nebula (Karen Gillan), meanwhile, has decided to stay where she is to head up things on Knowhere. Drax (Dave Bautista) is also staying put to look after the former High Evolutionary slaves on Knowhere, while alternate Gamora (Zoe Saldana) rejoins the Ravagers.

In the mid-credits scene, Rocket is asking the assembled crew of the new Guardians of the Galaxy about their favourite music acts. New recruit Phyla, one of the High Evolutionary’s child slaves, answers first with Britney Spears and Korn. Kraglin picks Garth Brooks; Cosmo the Spacedog picks The Carpenters; while Adam Warlock goes for Adrian Belew: “Both solo and his work with King Crimson.” Rocket himself plays them a song from the Zune MP3 player retrieved and gifted to him by Quill.

Rocket and Groot in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (Credit: Marvel)
Rocket and Groot in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (Marvel)

It’s ‘Come and Get Your Love’ by Redbone, the song that kicked off the franchise and which Quill is listening to when we first meet him in Vol. 1. “This one’s kinda special,” says Rocket.

Groot doesn’t respond – he’s sleeping underneath Rocket and is awoken when they have to embark on a new mission protecting the townsfolk of the desert planet they’re on. Aptly, the song soundtracks the new team on their new adventure as they battle rodent-like critters attacking the planet.

Could this be the new iteration of the Guardians going forward? It looks likely. And more Cosmo is very welcome. Plus, it will be interesting to see what they explore with Phyla. In the comics, Phyla-Vell is the daughter of Mar-Vell and has taken on the mantle of Captain Marvel in the past. She has also been in a relationship with Drax’s daughter, Moondragon, in the comics so exploring that dynamic on screen could be interesting.

(L-R): Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. (Marvel Studios)
Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. (Marvel Studios)

Now that Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock is a fully fledged member of the team, it would make sense to explore the extent of his powers, which we only caught a glimpse of in GotG Vol. 3. And now that Kraglin has mastered Yondu’s Yaka Arrow – courtesy of a Yondu cameo in which he appears to Kraglin in a vision to tell him to use his heart – he’ll be more useful than ever before.

Finally, Groot is now looking like the comic-book version of himself – super-hench. Having seen some moves from Groot within the movie we haven’t seen before including hiding guns, bombs, and more guns within his trunk, sprouting wings and flying, as well as uttering his first words that aren’t “I am Groot” (“I love you guys”), exciting things are afoot from our favourite tree-based lifeform.

What happens in the post-credits scene?

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt).
Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) in 2014's Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy. (Alamy)

But we’re not done there. A post-credits scene marks the final moment in the film and takes us to Missouri’s sleepy St Charles, with Peter and his Grandpa having breakfast together. They’re talking about mowing a neighbour’s lawn. Peter says, “If she needs help mowing her lawn, I’ll do it but I kind of feel like her son should help.”

The scene is sweet and mundane, and Peter’s Grandpa is reading a newspaper – the St Charles Post – which has a headline on the back reading, “ Alien Abduction” with the subtitle, “Kevin Bacon Shares All”.

This is a reference to the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special which premiered on Disney+ last year and saw Drax and Mantis bring Kevin Bacon from Earth to Knowhere as a Christmas present for Peter.

Kevin Bacon as himself in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. (Marvel Studios)
Kevin Bacon as himself in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. (Marvel Studios)

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The scene positions Quill on Earth where he might be recruited for the next team-up of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers, when they unite against Kang. In the meantime, could we see a spin-off series with Peter adjusting to life on Earth? It could be comedy gold.

One thing is certain, a line at the very end tells us: ‘The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return’, so we can all be very pleased that we’ll definitely see one of the MCU’s best characters again.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now streaming Disney+. Watch a trailer below