Home » ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Has an Unexpectedly Touching Ending

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Has an Unexpectedly Touching Ending

James Gunn has announced alive. The movie certainly feels like a swan song for Rocket, as we watch him being chased down by one of the most villainous leaders in the galaxy and taking some brutal battle wounds.

And yet, Rocket lives! When Rocket is given the chance to enter heaven (this movie seems to confirm that the afterlife exists in the MCU) with his old friend Lylla (Linda Cardellini), he’s told that it’s too soon for him to go—he still has unfinished business in the mortal world.

Marvel Studios

The movie isn’t an ode to Rocket’s final hours. Rather, it’s a culmination of his coming-of-age story, one that ends with him finding the confidence and self-acceptance he needs to be a leader. Rocket is now in charge of the new Guardians of the Galaxy team, after Star Lord steps down from his position. He wants to spend some time being Peter Quill instead, heading back home to Earth to visit the relatives he left behind; we get a peek of this in the film’s post-credits scene.

Before Star-Lord goes, he appoints his best friend Rocket to take over for him—and, best of all, he leaves Rocket his beloved Zune. Cue “The Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine.

Who Are the Guardians of the Galaxy Now?

In the mid-credits scene, we get a glimpse at Rocket serving as the leader, with Groot as his second-in-command. Joining them is Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Cosmo the Space Dog (Maria Bakalova), baddie-turned-hero Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), and rescued Star Kid Phyla (Kai Zen).

No, there’s no Guardians 4 in the works yet—but there’s plenty of time for that to unfold. Whether or not we want another movie after this lovely conclusion is another story. “I’ll be watching those next Guardians projects, whatever they are, out of professional obligation,” Allegra Frank wrote in a piece for The Daily Beast’s Obsessed about the film’s open-ended credit scenes. “But while I dread this Gunn-less, reassembled future for the series, at least I’ll always remember the good times.”