Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed that director James Gunn was given free rein to kill off characters in Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
"How much slack was he given to lead the characters in places that might impact the future of the MCU?" Gizmodo’s Germain Lussier asked – via host Nathan Fillion – during the worldwide press conference for the Guardians threequel.
"I think he gets all the slack," Feige replied. Gunn added, "Especially on this one."
Fillion then asked, "You don’t get nervous he wants to kill people off?"
Feige said: "On previous movies we had some discussions about that. But not on this one. And this one really was about seeing it through. Because it always was designed as a trilogy capper."
You don’t have to look far for proof on the death-tinged discussions that shaped the MCU's past. In an interview with ComicBook.com, Gunn said he originally planned to have Gamora die in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
"I thought she was the one that was going to sacrifice herself, and Quill was going to learn about himself as opposed to in the second movie, and I thought different of it. I was kind of talked out of it by Kevin and [Marvel producer Louis D’Esposito] and then it just didn't work that well. It didn't feel right, it felt much more right to go where we go in that movie," Gunn explained.
Now, though, the kid gloves are off for Gunn – and multiple long-serving Marvel characters could be in his sights. Our advice? Bring tissues, just in case.
For more on the MCU’s future, here’s our complete guide to Marvel Phase 5 and our overview of upcoming Marvel movies and shows.