To nobody’s surprise, Marvel Studios and “Guardians” writer/director James Gunn confirmed long ago that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be happening sometime in the next few years. We still don’t know exactly when the film is slated, but all signs point to a summer 2020 release date. The script has already been completed, according to James Gunn. We know that at least most of the team are confirmed to survive Avengers 4 (presumably after a bit of un-dusting). But who will the main villain be? There are a plethora of fantastic cosmic Marvel villains at Gunn’s disposal, and there’s one that I would love to see as the top villain in the MCU’s First Family’s third entry in the franchise: Ares.
Ares, the God of War, would be tricky to adapt to fit the tone of the Guardians of the Galaxy films. He is a god from Roman mythology, he is primarily a Thor villain (when he IS a villain), and he was already used as the main villain in DC’s Wonder Woman. That version of the character was a complete letdown and not what I wanted to see from a supervillain version of Ares. The god of war needs to be a gritty, brutal villain, relying on war tactics and his barbaric means to accomplish his goals, not flying around and using telekinesis. I think that a villain like this would balance out the film’s very comedic ensemble of heroes and side characters. While it could be a clash of tones, I feel that it would be quite interesting to see such differing characters interact and oppose one another.
However, we did see a more serious villain in the first film in the form of Ronan the Accuser, and he didn’t go over too well with viewers. So Ares needs a comedic edge to him. Perhaps he could just be a “dude” when he isn’t out ravenously murdering people. We can see the man behind the warmonger, and get to know and sympathize with Ares. This will likely be light, as Marvel tend to give their heroes more character development than their villains, with the exceptions of many recent villains such as Killmonger and Thanos. But Ares is also an anti-hero. He has even joined the Mighty Avengers. So we should see what turned him from an honored warrior and Prince in Olympus into a traitor and war criminal.
This is the tricky part. Ares has had little to no interaction with the Guardians in the comics, so why should he be a villain in THEIR movie? Well, in the comics, the Guardians don’t have the best assortment of villains to themselves; they mostly fight people that other people fight. Thanos, Galactus, Ego, Ronan, Annihilus, and various other aliens and evil beings. These villains are primarily associated with other heroes, like the Fantastic Four, Avengers, etc. So they are no strangers to “borrowing” villains. Ares has a potentially very interesting arc of being introduced as a villain before we learn his whole story, then in future films, he can slowly become a hero again, harnessing his thirst for blood and hunger for war for the greater good. He could return in future Avengers or possible Thor films, either to wreak more havoc or join the fight.
For the time being, we don’t know if there even will be more Thor movies, and I highly doubt that Marvel will be releasing a Gods of Olympus film anytime soon. So, Ares’ intro to the MCU here could be an early test for later appearances of Hercules, Zeus, and friends. They could just vaguely reference his time on Olympus and never show it because that’s a lot of Gods for a more alien-oriented movie. However, Ares’ arrival in the lives of the Guardians of the Galaxy could also place Thor in this movie. Given that they have (or will have, at that point) met the Avengers, it’s safe to assume there might be some crossover in the film with an Avenger appearing.
In all reality, Ares has a very slim chance of showing up in this film. However, with him already somewhat confirmed to be in the MCU (via the Grandmaster’s Tower easter egg in Thor: Ragnarok), and Ragnarok and Infinity War being the litmus test for merging the cosmic/mythological aspects of the MCU seamlessly, I feel that Ares would make a wild, fun, and out-of-the-box choice as the main villain of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
And on the topic of villains I’d like to see take on Star-Lord and his crew of misfits, here are 2 other picks for posterity’s sake.
Lady Death has been absent from the MCU, other than being vaguely referenced in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. In the comics, she is the object of Thanos’ desire. His love for Death is his entire motivation. I’m glad that they scrapped that for the films; however, I would like to see her become involved in the Avengers’ and Thanos’ story. I feel that fleshing her character out and making her the main villain of a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel would be a good starting point for her character. Perhaps in later films, she and Thanos can develop a more mutual relationship than what is presented in the comics. Marvel could even bring back Hela and turn her into Lady Death, giving Marvel another reason to bring Thor into the film.
Ayesha and the Sovereign
James Gunn has confirmed plans Ayesha to bring back Ayesha in future GOTG films. It is also clear that she has created Adam Warlock to destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy. So perhaps Ayesha and the Sovereign rename themselves the Enclave to save face after they were embarrassed and made fools of in Vol. 2. Not a whole lot of people enjoyed this plot line in that movie, but it must go somewhere, so maybe it’s done within the first 15 minutes and Adam joins the team, much like the events of Thor: The Dark World being swept under the rug in Ragnarok.
Well, that’s my speculation. While only a portion of this will likely end up becoming true, it is always fun to speculate, and Marvel has done crazier things than this. They brought back Red Skull, killed half the universe, and turned characters like the Guardians of the galaxy household names. You just keep doing you, MCU.