Do You Need to Watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2 Before 3?

We'll all fly away together... one last time... into the forever and beautiful sky.

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Image: Marvel Studios

Are you wondering if you need to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2 before 3? How about any of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies? I believe the MCU’s interconnecting of characters and story arcs through stand-alone and team-up movies makes it so strong. However, if you haven’t seen every movie in the MCU, it is confusing to know what you should watch before each new release. Don’t worry; I have provided you with everything you need to know about what you should watch before Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and in what order.

What Should I Watch Before Guardians of the Galaxy 3?

Yes, you need to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2 before 3. You also need to watch a few other movies and one special from the MCU to fill in the remainder of the gaps. By watching these, you will be fully prepared for the conclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and all the emotions that come with it. You can watch all the required movies with a Disney Plus subscription. The below list serves as the order you need to watch before watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (start at the top and work your way down).

Guardians of the Galaxy

Image: Marvel Studios

The first installment serves as the origin story of the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, in my opinion, it has one of the weakest antagonists. Don’t let this fool you, though, as the movie is still great. Rocket’s origin story will be explored in Vol. 3, and it is hinted at in the first installment. We see the budding relationship between Peter and Gamora start here as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Image: Marvel Studios

There are a bunch of more minor plot points that I believe are important for you to know before watching Vol. 3. The biggest is the introduction of Adam Warlock and why he is after the Guardians in Vol. 3. The rest of the movie builds relationships. These relationships are significant to the events of Vol. 3, and their impact wouldn’t be as significant without them.

Avengers: Infinity War

Image: Marvel Studios

There is a massive event with Gamora because of her father that I don’t want to spoil if you haven’t seen this movie. However, I can’t stress enough how insanely integral to not only Vol. 3 but to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after it happens. Plus, this movie sets the tone for all MCU movies in the future, so it is essential to understand precisely what happens and why.

Avengers: Endgame

Image: Marvel Studios

Gamora returns, but it isn’t precisely the Gamora we know from Guardians of the Galaxy. I know that sounds confusing without knowing what happens in Infinity War, but trust me, it’ll make sense. Nebula’s redemption arc is completed here as well. This sets the tone for the “new” Guardians of the Galaxy members that I also promise will make sense after watching.

Related: Who is Cosmo the Space Dog in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Image: Marvel Studios

This Christmas special packs a lot of story development in a small punch. This is why I recommend you watch it as well. I mean, you don’t like a little bonus Christmas cheer, anyways? The special revolves around the Guardians trying to cheer Peter up after the events of the above two Avengers movies. It also drops a pretty hefty character reveal bomb that those who haven’t read the comics wouldn’t already know. Finally, another Guardians of the Galaxy member is added who will return in Vol. 3.

- This article was updated on May 1st, 2023

About The Author

Matthew Kevin Mitchell has been a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion since 2022. Matthew primarily covers Manga like One Piece, horror movies like Scream, and survival horror games like Dead by Daylight. His favorite moment came during his first press event covering Scream 6 for AotF. He hails from Denver, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Regis University. When he isn’t scaring himself silly or writing, he loves to play ice hockey, spoil his dog, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee.