Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Ending Explained: How Things End For Each Of The Guardians

GOTG3 cast, power walk out
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Come back once you've seen the film!

The end is here. Just a year shy of a decade since James Gunn’s groundbreaking Guardians of the Galaxy, the writer/director has delivered the final story from this core team of misfits we love. How does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 leave each of its main characters? It’s time to get into how the movie left things for each of them and talk it out. 

In Vol. 3, their mission is to save Rocket’s life after he becomes injured by Adam Warlock, but along the way it becomes their most formidable adventure yet. Now, to the ending... 

The mission ends up being a fight against the High Evolutionary, a brilliant scientist who has made it his goal to create the perfect society, but due to his intense perfectionism, has been testing on animals in very inhumane ways and killing entire worlds, which is the reason Rocket is a genius (yet very traumatized) raccoon. Rocket is also the only experiment of the High Evolutionary’s who has become smarter than he is, so the villain is hell-bent on testing Rocket’s brain to figure out how. At the end of Vol. 3, they save Rocket, defeat the High Evolutionary and save what looks like thousands of animals and children from his lab. But, once the mission is successful, the team doesn't all stick together. Let’s go character by character: 

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in Guardians 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)


When we meet Star-Lord at the top of Vol. 3, he is drinking away his troubles after losing Gamora in the war with Thanos. However, when Rocket gets injured he sobers up quickly at the possibility of his good friend dying, and heads the mission to save him. When he and Mantis get into an argument about the fact that he’s left his grandfather, Jason Quill, on Earth all alone for all these years, despite having the means to go back and reconnect with him. 

Peter initially rejects the idea of returning to see his grandfather, but after the events of their mission, he tells the Guardians he intends to make the quest to Earth alone to find him. Jason is very happy to see his grandson, and it looks like Peter is content to get to know his human family for a while. Though, the movie also teases the return of “the legendary Star-Lord” in MCU’s future. What upcoming Marvel movie will Chris Pratt’s character show up in next? Or perhaps, will it be a Disney+ show? We don’t know right now, but it’s sweet he finally reconnected with family. 

Gamora in Guardians 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)


The Gamora we knew and loved, who adventured with the Guardians in the first two films and Avengers movies, died on the Cliffs of Vormir. However, Zoe Saldana’s character does return in the form of the 2014 version who was brought to the future without memories of being part of the team. We soon learn that she has found a family in the form of the Ravagers, though she does end up working with the Guardians on their mission. 

While many of us surely thought Peter would romance his way back into the heart of Gamora despite him falling in love with another version of her, it never happens. She certainly gains a greater appreciation for the Guardians and doesn’t completely hate Peter by the end of Vol. 3, but she decides to reunite with the Ravagers at the end of the movie, and looks very happy doing so. As Marvel has shown us time and time again, not every love story between heroes is a happy one. Captain America’s ending is still the best (and most happily ever after-like) of them. 

Nebula in Guardians 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)


Gamora's adopted sister may have begun her journey as a villain, but in Vol. 3, she has been fully embraced as part of the team and is very much an asset to their mission to save Rocket. Along with calling the Ravagers to help out with the mission, she is a key Guardian throughout the entire movie for the first time. And, following the major events of the film, Nebula decides she wants to stay and help all the animals and kids they saved settle in and create a community she never had for herself as Thanos' adopted daughter. 

Dave Bautista as Drax in Guardians 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Drax The Destroyer

Drax the Destroyer started his journey as a man out for revenge following the murder of his wife and daughter by Thanos. But, following the events of Vol. 3, he’s officially become Drax the Dad. While he lost his family at Thanos’ hand, in the latest mission, his father's instincts come out, especially when meeting the many young children whom the High Evolutionary tested on and meant to discard. Drax will join Nebula on the mission to build a community and family for those they saved. 

Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)


Mantis, however, is another Guardian who decides she needs to break away from the group following their latest mission. We first met Mantis in Vol. 2 with Ego, and as we learned in the Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special, she is also one of Ego's daughters, and therefore a sister to Peter Quill. In the group’s “talk,” Mantis explains that it’s time, for the first time in her life, to explore what she wants on her own terms, without being part of the group, or being protected or told what to do by anyone. 

Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)


And then there’s Groot. Groot and Rocket have always been inseparable, and that continues with the Vol. 3 ending. Groot decides to continue being a Guardian, and we see more of that later. 

Rocket in Guardians 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)


Rocket Raccoon becomes the new leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy following Peter’s decision to return to Earth, as unanimously agreed upon by the rest of the team. After the character’s near-death experience, he finally gets some closure for his traumatic experience of being tested on by the High Evolutionary, by saving tons of animals like him and his late friends, whose deaths he's been blaming himself for all these years. While Groot and Rocket still have their home base in Nebula's community of traumatized animals and people created by the High-Evolutionary, the mid-credits scene shows the two long-time buddies in the new version of the Guardians that's led by the now very proud raccoon. 

It’s such a heartfelt ending for the Marvel trilogy! While the team doesn’t all stay together, nor does Star-Lord and Gamora’s relationship timeline end with them together, they all learn what they need to do to heal, and I think that’s beautiful. We’ll certainly miss the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast, but what an emotional and satisfying ending! 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.