‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Ending Explained: One Last Ride for the Gang
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was just released and was a fitting end to one of the greatest Marvel trilogies of all time. Of course, we already knew this would be the final dance for this version of the Guardians, as James Gunn said before the film was even released. In that regard, we already know there would be conclusion stories that would wrap up the character arcs of all of the primary members of the Guardians.
Then again, to understand the ending of The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, we need to look at the events that led to the conclusion of one of the most popular Marvel trilogies of all time. Now, with that said, let’s look at what happened in Guardians Vol. 3 and how it ended so that you would understand how things concluded for them.
Adam Warlock Attacks
We all know that the Guardians of the Galaxy were stationed in Knowhere and had started a big settlement with many different members. But we also know that the Sovereign had a score to settle with the Guardians and that Adam Warlock, the Sovereign’s secret weapon, would threaten them. In that regard, the earlier part of the movie explored Adam’s arrival to Knowhere after spending time maturing in his cocoon.
Things started off with Adam overpowering the Guardians, who didn’t stand a chance against the stronger entity. It was also clear that Adam had a clear target in mind—Rocket Raccoon. That means that his mission was to kill the Guardians and apprehend Rocket. And the encounter with Adam left Rocket severely injured.
Despite how tough he was, Adam was stabbed in the back by Nebula. This allowed the Guardians to recuperate and try to find a way to nurse Rocket back to health. Meanwhile, Adam was taken by the Sovereign and recovered rather quickly. That was when we learned that the High Evolutionary sent Adam and the Sovereign to go after the Guardians of the Galaxy, as the Sovereign also created this mad scientist.
The team was able to get Rocket back to the ship to try to nurse him back to health using the medical equipment on the ship. However, they learned that he had a kill switch that prevented the team from trying to heal him. And that this kill switch was placed in him by his creators.
Nebula could track the code on the kill switch to a company that the High Evolutionary owned. That was when they decided to go there to try to find a way to get the code for the kill switch and use it to nurse their friend back to health.
But when they got there, the Guardians were boarded by the Ravagers. What the others didn’t know was that Nebula had been in contact with Gamora and that she had been working with the Ravagers ever since the events of Avengers: Endgame. Nebula needed to contact her and the Ravagers so that they could help the Guardians infiltrate the corporation.
With the help of Gamora, the Guardians got inside the biological structure of a space station and found information related to Rocket’s origins. They barely escaped from that place but could do so with their lives.
Rocket’s Past Explored
Throughout the movie, there are glimpses of Rocket Racoon’s past and the events that transpired before he met Groot. He was an experimental creature created by the High Evolutionary, who sought to create the perfect species. The High Evolutionary captured Rocket from Earth during one of his visits there, and that was when he conducted experiments on him to make him intelligent.
Rocket was confined in the High Evolutionary’s ship together with other animals that were the subjects of experiments as well. He befriended them and bonded with the other experimental animals, including an otter named Lylla.
While working with the High Evolutionary, it was apparent that Rocket was an intelligent creature capable of solving complex problems. He was even able to help the High Evolutionary create animal-like humanoids that weren’t naturally aggressive and violent. And it was this fact that allowed the High Evolutionary to realize that Rocket could be smarter than him.
The High Evolutionary planned on populating a planet called Counter-Earth, a copy of Earth, with these animal-like humanoids. However, he never planned on allowing Rocket and his friends to live there because they were failures in his eyes. The only reason he spared Rocket was that he was intelligent. But because he only wanted Rocket’s brain, the High Evolutionary sought to kill the other animals and dissect the raccoon.
But Rocket’s ingenuity allowed him to invent a key that opened the locks of their cages. Before he could escape, the High Evolutionary came to see them and even killed Lylla. His other friends couldn’t make it out alive, but Rocket could escape on a ship in one piece.
In the present events, the Guardians of the Galaxy could track down someone they believed had the code to the kill switch in Rocket. They could get to this man using the information they acquired when infiltrating the High Evolutionary corporation. Meanwhile, Adam and the Priestess were hot on their heels and could track the Guardians down using Gamora.
The team arrived on Counter-Earth to realize that this was an exact replica of Earth and that sentient humanoid animals were living there. They befriended one of the families that helped them learn that the man they sought was in a spire-like structure. Quill, Groot, and Nebula sought to infiltrate the structure even though they knew that the High Evolutionary had set up a trap for them.
When they got to the structure, Peter and Groot met up with the High Evolutionary, who sent one of his men after Rocket, who was still recuperating on the Guardians’ ship. Peter and Groot fended off their enemies and got to the man with the code to Rocket’s kill switch. They escaped the spire-like ship by jumping off it right before it could enter the atmosphere.
But the High Evolutionary destroyed Counter-Earth after realizing that this planet was imperfect and had all of the imperfections of the original Earth. He blew up the entire planet, including the people there and even the Priestess, who Adam failed to rescue. Gamora allowed an injured Adam to rest inside the ship while she took off with it to try to save Quill. Meanwhile, Nebula, Drax, and Mantis headed inside the High Evolutionary’s ship because they thought Peter and Groot were still there.
On the ship, Nebula and the others discovered that the High Evolutionary had created new human-like species that were physically stronger and more intelligent than humans. He planned on using Rocket’s brain to make these children smarter because they didn’t have the ingenuity of this raccoon. But they were just innocent children that didn’t know what was happening around them.
Nevertheless, Drax was fond of these children and managed to form a bond with them because he was a father before he became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. And while the trio inside the ship wanted to save the kids, Drax and company were captured by the High Evolutionary.
Using the code they got, Peter and Nebula saved Rocket, who had a vision of the other side, where Lylla and his friends told him it was not his time to join them. In that regard, the mission was supposed to be complete, only for them to realize that Nebula and the others were captured in the High Evolutionary’s ship.
As such, Peter, Rocket, Groot, and Gamora decided to mount a rescue mission with the help of the other Guardians that were on Knowhere. They launched an assault on the ship and managed to cripple it even though the High Evolutionary had created powerful and savage creatures that served as his army.
The Guardians Save Everyone
The creatures attacked Knowhere but were defeated by Kraglin, who had discovered how to properly use Yondu’s arrow. He was also saved by Cosmo the Dog, who used her telekinetic powers to save Kraglin from the monsters.
Meanwhile, Mantis could tame the monsters that the High Evolutionary sent to kill them. She used these monsters to escape and rendezvous with the other members of the Guardians inside the High Evolutionary’s ship. However, they learned that there were innocent kids inside the ship, which meant they needed to be heroes once more.
His trusted underlings betrayed the High Evolutionary because he had become too obsessed with Rocket’s brain. While the mutiny failed, the ship’s controls were destroyed. As such, time was not on the side of the Guardians.
Despite the challenges, the Guardians were able to connect the ship with Knowhere to save everyone that was on the ship. These included the children the High Evolutionary wanted to use as his next experimental subjects.
However, Rocket stayed behind because he discovered that there were also animals on the ship. That was when he was confronted by the High Evolutionary, who was still obsessed with his brain. Despite the overwhelming gravitational powers of the High Evolutionary, Rocket found a way to disable it. He and the other Guardians defeated the High Evolutionary, who Rocket left for dead.
The heroes got all of the animals on Knowhere, only for them to realize that Peter Quill was still on the enemy’s ship. Peter managed to get off but was stuck in space. He was about to freeze to death before Adam arrived to save him, as Groot also saved Adam from getting killed inside the ship because he thought he deserved a second chance.
The Guardians Part Ways
On Knowhere, the gang parted ways with Gamora, who returned to the Ravagers. Even though Peter didn’t like her hanging out with the Ravagers, it was clear that she had chosen her own path in life and had found her family with the Ravagers.
Meanwhile, Peter told the group he would leave because he needed to confront his past instead of escaping it. He was talking about his grandfather back on Earth, as he never tried to visit him ever since Yondu abducted him decades ago. Peter thought that it was time for him to try to confront his past in the same manner that Rocket did.
Mantis also said she was leaving the group because she needed to find her way after spending decades following Ego and the Guardians. She also needed to find her own path in life and was willing to do it alone.
Nebula decided to take care of the repairs of Knowhere while enlisting Drax’s help to build a new community for the people and animals they rescued on the High Evolutionary’s ship. Drax’s nature as a father figure would be useful when caring for the children. While they were still members of the Guardians, they would be more focused on building a home for the people that didn’t have a home.
Rocket was elected as the new leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Peter left him with the team’s leadership role because he was more suited for this job after he had proven himself strong enough to confront his past. As such, the movie’s conclusion allowed us to see the Guardians of the Galaxy members going their separate ways, including Peter, who visited his grandfather on Earth. Meanwhile, in the mid-credits scene, Rocket was seen leading a new generation of Guardians, which includes Adam, Kraglin, Groot, and one of the kids that they rescued.