Even though the official numbers won’t be in until Monday morning, the estimates for the opening weekend for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in the United States is around $145 million. That’s quite an improvement over the original’s $94.3 million opening weekend in 2014, giving it the largest jump in opening weekend box office for a sequel, coming in only behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And that means we’ll definitely be getting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as if there was any doubt.

We’ve already gotten word that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will help set up the next 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it will also be the end of the story for the current iteration of the squad of cosmic superheroes. Now director James Gunn has teased when we’ll get to see the threequel while thanking fans for all their support for the sequel’s opening weekend. Read what he had to say after the jump.

James Gunn wrote an extensive Facebook post yesterday, which you can read in full right here, but here’s the most important part from the tail-end of the post:

“I work because I like telling stories. I work because I love the relationships I have with my collaborators. And I do it because I like connecting with people, and the easiest way I know how to do that is through filmmaking. I do it so that some kid in Thailand, or England, or Colombia, or Brazil, or Japan, or Russia, or anywhere, can hear the frequency of his or her own heart bouncing back off the Guardians.

They’re a group of heartbroken misfits whose lives have been bereft of tenderness and connection and who have a nearly impossible time trusting themselves or others. But they’re learning, one step at a time.

They are me. They are you. We are Groot.

And no matter h-ow much world leaders are telling you we aren’t in this together, we are. You are not alone.

Thank you so much, my Facebook friends, for supporting me over the past two and a half years, and thank you for all the messages letting us know we’ve keyed into the frequency of your hearts. I love you all, and I’ll continue being here with you over the next three years as we create Vol. 3.”

In addition to his passion for the characters and an appreciation for fans radiating from this post, Gunn dropped more than hint regarding when we’ll get to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 right there at the end. If he’ll be making the sequel over the next three years, we can expect to see a Guardians of the Galaxy 3 release date set in 2020. That’s exactly the same timeline it took for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to hit theaters after the original movie arrived in 2014.

The third movie hitting in 2020 also makes perfect sense since since that’s the year after Avengers 4 hits theaters. As we previously mentioned, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will kick off the next 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the next phase of Marvel Studios, whatever that may be, so that will be the catalyst for everything that will come after the forthcoming culmination of all the previous Marvel Studios movies.

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