When the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was released in 2014, it immediately gained a massive fan following due to its unique blend of humor, action, and sci-fi elements, although this Marvel superhero group was unknown to casual viewers. The rest of the franchise centers around Star-Lord, Gamora, Nebula, Rocket Racoon, Groot, Mantis, and Drax, who come together to save the galaxy from Ronan, Ego, and Thanos.
Editor’s Note: This list is regularly updated to reflect the most current possible state of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
How Many Guardians of the Galaxy Movies Are There?
Currently, there are three Guardians of the Galaxy movies. But the team has also appeared in two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, and in last year’s Thor: Love and Thunder. On top of that, two Disney+ TV specials feature Guardians of the Galaxy: I Am Groot and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Saying that, let’s take a look at the best way to watch Guardians of the Galaxy movies in order.
Guardians of the Galaxy Movies in Order (At a Glance)
- ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (2014)
- ‘I Am Groot’ – just the first episode (2022)
- ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ (2017)
- ‘I Am Groot’ – the rest of the episodes (2022)
- ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)
- ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)
- ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ (2022)
- ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ (2022)
- ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ (2023)
- ‘I Am Groot’ Season 2 (2023)
Are Guardians of the Galaxy movies connected? Do you need to watch them in a specific order?
Guardians of the Galaxy movies are connected, and it’s recommended to watch them in order to understand the characters and the story arc fully. The first movie, released in 2014, sets up the team and their initial mission, while the second movie, released in 2017, delves deeper into the characters’ backstories and relationships with each other. Events in the second movie have significant consequences for the MCU as a whole, and individual team members have impacted other MCU movies significantly.
What is the best way to watch Guardians of the Galaxy movies?
The best way to watch Guardians of the Galaxy movies is in their release date order. The release date order follows the chronology of the team and the events that affected them individually and as a whole. Guardians of the Galaxy play a significant role in the overall MCU so it would be best if you simply watch all MCU movies if you want to see the bigger picture.
Guardians of the Galaxy Movies in Order (in release date order)
1. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy, released in 2014, is the movie that started the entire franchise as Kevin Feige enjoyed the fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy comics were revamped to make them fun and more entertaining. In that regard, he believed that making a film out of this new angle in the comics would be more entertaining than ever, and that was why James Gunn was called in to direct the movie.
Thanks to the entertainment factor that Guardians of the Galaxy provided, the entire movie became a huge hit and is still one of the best MCU movies to date. The film explores the beginning of the Guardians of the Galaxy and how a band of misfits became a heroic group that travels all over the galaxy to save people from different threats.
Guardians of the Galaxy takes place before Avengers: Age of Ultron in the timeline of the MCU. In this movie, Peter Quill is able to acquire the Power Stone as he ends up becoming the target of many different people due to how valuable this stone is. He ends up on the radar of Ronan the Accuser, who wants to take revenge on the Nova Empire on Xandar.
Of course, Quill ends up meeting Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Drax in the most unusual way as they have to escape prison together. They ended up forming a team in an attempt to try to stop Ronan. In the end, they had to work as a single yet dysfunctional unit to defeat Ronan and stop him from using the Power Stone to destroy Xandar.
2. ‘I Am Groot’ (2022)
I Am Groot is an MCU project released on Disney+ as a child-friendly series. The entire series chronicled the events of Baby Groot after he was born following the death of the original Groot in the events of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
The first episode of I Am Groot takes place right after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy, as it talks about Baby Groot’s first steps. While this series isn’t necessary for people to watch to understand the entire Guardians of the Galaxy storyline, it is still an entertaining break from the mainline movies.
3. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the sequel movie to the first movie, which was an instant box office hit. Of course, the story of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the events that were already established at the end of the first movie, where we learn that Peter Quill wasn’t exactly human in terms of his genetic makeup. As such, Vol. 2 talks more about his history and parentage as it was able to shed some light on who exactly Quill’s father is. It was also in this movie that Mantis joined the Guardians.
The movie starts off with Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy fulfilling a mission for the Sovereign. Of course, they ended up offending the Sovereign due to the very nature of what the group is, but that’s a different story to tell.
In Vol. 2, the Guardians were able to meet Ego, who is actually a Celestial that takes the form of an entire living planet. Ego introduced himself as Quill’s father, as he went to Earth many years ago and fell in love with Quill’s mother. In that regard, he wanted Quill to take his place by Ego’s side on his planet.
However, things weren’t exactly happily ever after because it was revealed that Ego had impregnated numerous women throughout the galaxy, only to find out that Quill was his only compatible offspring. He was about to brainwash Quill into joining him in his mission to take over the entire galaxy, but Star-Lord found out that Ego was the one that placed cancer in his mother’s body, as that was what prompted him and the Guardians to go against the Celestial and kill him. However, in the process of doing so, Quill lost Yondu, who was more of a father figure to him than Ego ever was.
4. ‘I Am Groot’ (2022)
We continue with I Am Groot as all of the episodes of this series (except for the first one) take place right after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and before the post-credit scene of that film, as Groot was already a teenager there. That means that the window between Ego’s defeat and the post-credit scene of Vol. 2 is where the bulk of I Am Groot takes place.
5. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War is the first-ever huge crossover event in the MCU, as it involved all of the mainline characters of this cinematic universe in a war against Thanos, who wanted to gather all of the Infinity Stones in his attempt to erase half of the universe for the sake of the preservation of the planets that were running out of resources. In that regard, the Guardians of the Galaxy also take part in this movie.
The Guardians appeared when they answered a distress call coming from the ship of the Asgardians before Thanos destroyed it. They met Thor, who was floating in space after his ship exploded but was still alive. That was when they learned more about what Thanos wanted to accomplish and what he was doing. And because the members of the Guardians have a history with Thanos (Gamora is his adopted daughter), they decided to join Thor in his attempt to stop the Mad Titan.
Rocket and Groot went with Thor to forge a new weapon that he needed to stand a chance against Thanos. Meanwhile, the rest of the Guardians went to the Collector to try to prevent Thanos from acquiring Reality Stone. While they failed in that regard, Gamora was taken by Thanos and was eventually killed as his sacrifice to obtain the Soul Stone, as the rest of the Guardians were unaware of that when they teamed up with Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man to try to defeat Thanos in the ruined planet of Titan.
The Guardians failed to defeat Thanos, as he acquired the Time Stone and went to Earth, where he acquired the Mind Stone from vision. Thor came in time to deal a mortal wound to the Mad Titan, but he failed to kill him as Thanos used the Infinity Stones to snap half of the universe out of existence, including Peter Quill, Mantis, Drax, and Groot. Nebula, who patched things up with Gamora in Vol. 2, became a member of the Guardians in this movie.
6. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019)
Following the Avengers: Infinity War events, the Guardians appeared in Endgame. Rocket and Nebula also actively worked alongside the Avengers in their attempt to bring back everyone that perished due to Thanos’s snap. Five years after Infinity War, Endgame allowed us to see Rocket and Nebula returning to the past along with the other Avengers to try to take the Infinity Stones from different timelines after Thanos destroyed the ones from their timeline.
When Nebula went back to 2014 (before the events of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie), that was when things became more complicated as Thanos found out about what they were doing. As such, using the present-day Nebula, Thanos, and his army could time travel to the present-day timeline just shortly after the Hulk used the Infinity Stones to bring half of the universe’s population back. This led to an all-out war between the Avengers and Thanos’s army, as it concluded when Tony Stark used the Infinity Stones to erase the Mad Titan and his army at the cost of his own life.
At the movie’s end, Thor gives up his status as the king of Asgard because Valkyrie is a better leader. He also proclaimed himself a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy as it was clear that he was about to embark on different adventures with them.
7. ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ (2022)
Thor: Love and Thunder opened up with Thor adventuring with the Guardians of the Galaxy, as it was clear that he was their big gun while they were helping different people all over the universe. The dynamic between Thor and the Guardians was very entertaining, but his adventures with them were cut short when they learned that someone had been killing gods all over the universe.
In that regard, Thor needed to get to the bottom of this personally, as he decided to return to investigate the death of the gods. Meanwhile, the rest of the Guardians had to answer distress calls from different planets all over the universe after the deaths of their gods had affected them. That was when they had to part ways, as Thor now embarked on a more personal journey involving his relationship with Jane Foster. Of course, he had to go up against Gorr, the God Butcher, who was powerful enough to slay entire pantheons of gods all over the universe.
8. ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ (2022)
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a Disney+ involving the Guardians themselves, taking place after Thor leaves the group. In this special, the Guardians decide to make Christmas more special for Peter Quill, who was missing the holidays after spending so many years away from Earth. That was when the Guardians went to Earth to find the perfect present to make Christmas feel more special for Quill.
9. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ (2023)
A third and what it seems to be the last movie in the franchise. Guardians are stationed in Knowhere, a big settlement with many members. The Sovereign, who had a score to settle with the Guardians, sends Adam Warlock, their secret weapon, to kill the Guardians and apprehend Rocket Raccoon. Adam overpowers the Guardians, leaving Rocket severely injured. However, he is stabbed in the back by Nebula, giving the Guardians a chance to nurse Rocket back to health. The High Evolutionary sent Adam and the Sovereign to go after the Guardians, as the Sovereign also created this mad scientist.
The Guardians try to nurse Rocket back to health using the medical equipment on the ship, but they learn that he has a kill switch placed in him by his creators. Nebula tracks the code on the kill switch to a corporation that the High Evolutionary owns, and they decide to go there to get the code and use it to nurse their friend back to health.
The Guardians are boarded by the Ravagers when they get there, but they manage to infiltrate the corporation with the help of Gamora. Inside the biological structure of a space station, they find information related to Rocket’s origins, barely escaping with their lives.
10. ‘I Am Groot’ Season 2 (2023)
A fresh batch of animated shorts featuring the ever-lovable Groot was recently released. Groot’s adventures range from encountering strange in the galaxy to landing on the icy planet of Falligar and making a snowman.
Where to watch Guardians of the Galaxy movies?
You can watch all Guardians of the Galaxy movies and all movies connected to the team on Disney+. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a new release and can currently be watched on Disney+ as well.
Will there be more Guardians of the Galaxy movies?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. is, according to the words of James Gunn, the last movie in the Guardians franchise. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the team as such is done for, but when it comes to this cast of characters, it is. We will most likely see Guardians in the upcoming future MCU projects, albeit in a new setup, and most likely, they won’t be getting a solo movie, at least not soon.
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