Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 | Title Explanation

In this segment of our Colossus Movie Guide for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, we delve into the significance of the film’s title.


  • Peter Quill (Star-Lord) – Chris Pratt
  • Gamora – Zoe Saldana
  • Rocket – Bradley Cooper
  • Nebula – Karen Gillan
  • Drax – Dave Bautista
  • Mantis – Pom Klementieff
  • Groot – Vin Diesel
  • Adam Warlock – Will Poulter
  • Kraglin – Sean Gunn
  • High Evolutionary – Chukwudi Iwuji
  • Lylla – Linda Cardllini

Why is the movie called Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Back in 2015, news came out that the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy would simply be called Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. James Gunn himself confirmed it, saying, “Yeah, I came up with a LOT of titles for Vol. 2. But because Guardians of the Galaxy is already so wordy, it seemed strange to add another bunch of words after it. I liked Vol. 2 the best, so that’s what I stuck on the cover of the screenplay—and, fortunately, the guys liked it.” 

We see a counter-example to Gunn’s choice in the titles for the Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home

As straightforward as Gunn’s answer is, there is a degree of nuance. The term “volume” refers to an installment of a singular work. For example, if the next Game of Thrones novel was so large the publisher had to break it into two separate books, it would be volume 1 and volume 2. A volume tends to differ from a part in how much they coincide with plot points. Season 4 of Stranger Things had volume 1 and volume 2 and the divide had less to do with a break in the narrative than it did the length of the episodes.

Volume 1 episode lengths: 78 minutes, 77, 64, 79, 76, 75, 98.
Volume 2 episode lengths: 85, 150

It would be a bit strange to have a “part 2” that was only the last two episodes. As opposed to, say, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune movies that evenly divide a single story into Dune: Part 1 and Dune: Part 2. Better Call Saul, Sopranos, and other prestige television shows have also used the two-part structure. For Saul it was seven episodes in Part 1, six in Part 2. Sopranos had twelve in Part 1 and nine in Part 2. For Stranger Things, they weren’t telling a different part of the story. Simply releasing a separate, concluding volume of the story. 

We see this reflected in the mixtape motif that Gunn has employed for his Guardians run. The second movie coincided with a literal cassette tape that Peter Quill titled “Awesome Mix. Vol. 2”. It’s all part of the same mix that extends over multiple tapes. 

You could make the argument then that Gunn always saw the Guardians films as a singular, cohesive story that was being told across several installments. The volumes happen to coincide with the parts of the story, but choosing one term over the other has different implications. Even though both denote sections that add up to a whole, you could argue that “volume” tends to have a bit less of an inherent division to it than “part”, which allows for a larger sense of “this was one grand adventure”. 

Another way to look at it is Vol. 3 concludes part one of the Guardians of the Galaxy story. The time of Star-Lord’s leadership. And now we’ll begin part 2, with Rocket Raccoon at the helm. 

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