Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Ending Explained – Do any of the Guardians die at the end?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Plot Summary

The focus this time around is almost squarely on Rocket the Raccoon. From the opening shot of him walking through an alien landscape while all the Guardians are doing their own thing, to the emotional conclusion, there are so many memorable scenes. Most of these center on Rocket Racoon, with Guardians 3 establishing its real strength in bringing his tragic backstory to life. And what a tale it is.

This is compounded by Peter Quill’s emotionally unstable state, as he’s still reeling from the loss of his Gamora. I say his Gamora because thanks to the multiverse and wibbly wobbly timey-wimey shenanigans, Gamora is here, but she just doesn’t have any memories of what happened.

Memories play a vital part of this movie though, as Raccoon’s past comes back to haunt him. Specifically, that falls to the role of the maniacally theatric High Evolutionary, who’s desperate to bring back his test subject, Rocket, no matter what. He does so through Adam Warlock, who sets off a chain of events that see the Guardians scramble to save Rocket, whose life is hanging in the balance.

Who is Adam Warlock? What happens to Rocket?

At the start of the movie, the High Evolutionary sends Adam Warlock, a perfect being created by the High Priestess of the Sovereign civilization, to track down Rocket. The Sovereigns though are actually creations of the High Evolutionary, a maniacal scientist obsessed with creating the perfect species, regardless of how many lives are lost or ruined in the pursuit of that goal.

The High Evolutionary wants Rocket the Raccoon, as he’s the only creation that has shown to be capable of creative thought beyond their original programming. Adam botches the kidnapping job and Rocket ends up badly hurt.

In fact, we soon learn that the High Evolutionary has actually installed a fail-safe on Rocket’s heart to stop anyone from stealing his scientific secrets. Rocket needs surgery but the gang can’t do that without overr-riding the Fail Safe, and they only have a limited amount of time to do this or they risk killing their companion.

What do the gang do?

The gang head off on a quest through Orgo-corp, a planet-sized corporation made of organic tissue. There, they obtain crucial files to help with their quest. When they leave, the group find themselves entangled with Gamora, who’s working with the Ravagers. Nebula actually called her for help, in exchange for a boatload of cash, earlier in the movie off-screen. That’s probably just as well because the files from Orgo-corp alone aren’t enough to sort out the failsafe. They need a key for that.

In order to get the key, the group fly over to Counter-Earth, a planet that’s occupied by anthropomorphic animals. While this is going on, Adam and the High Priestess are still following the Guardians.

On the planet, our Guardians split up. Mantis and Dax stay by the ship and protect Rocket, which goes to plan until it doesn’t, given they head off on a bike ride to save Peter and the others. As for Nebula, Star-Lord and Groot, they willingly walk into the High Evolutionary’s headquarters. Nebula is forced to wait outside though given her cybernetic weapons.

The High Evolutionary decides to blow the planet up, showing how maniacal he really is, but after a quick shootout in the Tower, Quill and Groot manage to come away with the Key needed to save Rocket’s life.

Within the chaos, Adam Warlock ends up witnessing his mother’s death and his plan to get to Gamora goes horribly wrong too. Mantis and Drax meet Nebula at the bottom of the High Evolutionary base, breaking into the spaceship just before it’s too late as the atmosphere thins and they almost run out of oxygen.

They’re there to save Peter and Groot, whom they believe are still inside. In reality, they actually jumped out before this with their “key”, leaving another imminent rescue mission for the third act.

Does Rocket die?

It’s touch and go for a while but Rocket does, thankfully, survive. He’s on the verge of passing away, reunited with his old test subject friends in a scene that will absolutely tug at your heartstrings. Surrounded in a white room, it almost looks like Rocket is gone as he talks with his former friends, who were tortured and killed by the High Evolutionary. However, Lylla tells him his time has not come and he returns to our world.

The Fail-safe is bypassed and the gang are reunited with Rocket, who’s now mended and raring to go.

Are Drax and the others saved?

The attention then turns from Operation: Save Rocket Raccoon to Operation: Save Drax and co. The latter manage to find a whole bunch of children who are a new species created by the High Evolutionary. They all need to be saved, given they’re locked in cages. Unfortunately for them, the High Evolutionary captures Drax, Mantis and Nebula, using them as bait to lure Rocket and the rest of the Guardians inside.

Star-Lord and the others storm the base. The High Evolutionary’s ship is under heavy fire thanks to Cosmo and Kraglin who fly Knowhere to their coordinates, while Rocket works to save the test subject animals onboard, and similarly get his revenge on the High Evolutionary. However, once the maniacal scientist is thwarted, Rocket decides not to kill him, citing that this is not the proper way for a Guardian to act.

Drax, Mantis and Nebula face three powerful Abilisks inside the ship’s bowels, creatures the High Evolutionary has in his pit to destroy his enemies. However, Mantis uses her empathy powers to gain the creatures’ favor, and she turns the tide of battle not through her fists, but through the power of love.

The Guardians join forces and release all the prisoners, both kids and animals alike after killing many of the High Evolutionary’s forces inside. After the fighting is done, the Guardians push the High Evolutionary ship close to Knowhere to create a way for everyone to escape safely. Even Adam gets rescued by Groot, who tells the Warlock everyone deserves a second chance.

Does Peter Quill die?

In the final moments while escaping from the High Evolutionary ship, Peter finds himself caught in the blast and drifting aimlessly in space. As he looks set to meet a horrific end, Adam Warlock changes tact and decides to save Peter from a sticky fate. Moved by Groot’s earlier words, he decides to join up with the group, seeing them as his new family.

How does Guardians Vol 3 end?

With the High Evolutionary defeated and things seriously looking up for them all, the group contemplate what to do next. Peter decides to head back to Earth and face his family he’s left behind. As a result, he gives up his Captaincy to the real leader of the group, Rocket the Raccoon. Gamora heads back to the Ravagers while Mantis similarly decides to leave, wanting to try and discover the real her, accompanied by her Abilisks.

Drax allows his fatherly instincts to kick in with the children, while Nebula too similarly decides to leave the Guardians and care for the kids.

As we see from a mid-credit scene, the only Guardians left from the original team are Rocket and Groot. However, they’re joined by Cosmo and Kraglin who become official team members. They’re also accompanied by Adam Warlock too, along with Phylla, one of the children rescued from the High Evolutionary ship.

During a post-credit sequence, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 sees Peter reunited with his father back on Earth. Amusingly, a newspaper article reads “Alien Abduction. Kevin Bacon reveals all,” while Peter is about ready for another adventure. And it seems that may be sooner rather than later. The words ‘Star Lord will return soon’ flash across the screen, as this movie comes to an end.


Read More: Guardians Vol 3 Movie Review

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