The director and his stars went to EW's Comic-Con suit in San Diego after the convention's Hall H panel Saturday.

In some ways Rocket Raccoon is the reason we have director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy.

The filmmaker joined his Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 stars Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Will Poulter, Maria Bakalova, and Chukwudi Iwuji hit up EW's Comic-Con suite for a formal download of all that was revealed during the Marvel Studios' mammoth Hall H panel Saturday night. While there, he shared how it was because of Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, that he wanted to finish telling his three-film story.

"For a while I wasn't going to do this movie. Then I came back. And the reason I knew I needed to come back was to tell this story and, in some ways in particular, I have a special closeness to the character of Rocket and I knew I needed to finish to tell his story," Gunn tells EW. "I knew that that was what started me on this journey, was seeing who he could be and who he was, where he came from, and the thing that grounded me initially in the Guardians."

Gunn and his cast revealed on the Hall H stage that Vol. 3 will be diving deeper in Rocket's origins as a genetically enhanced creature and the torment he endured becoming who he is today in this world. Footage shown in the convention space revealed a baby Rocket.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 cast at EW's San Diego Comic Con portrait studio on July 23, 2022
Credit: Gizelle Hernandez for EW

The director acknowledged this week marks the 10-year anniversary since he pitched Marvel on Guardians. "I realized that to tell the story honestly, he's the saddest person or character in the universe," says Gunn of Rocket, echoing statements he made during Marvel's panel.

A first look at Poulter as Adam Warlock was also included in the footage of the next Guardians shown to the Comic-Con crowd, while Bakalova and Iwuji were announced as Cosmo the Space Dog and villain the High Revolutionary, respectively.

The group was visibly emotional on stage watching the clip. "It really caught me off guard," says Pratt.

"It was moving… it's such a moving [Flaming Lips] song, the imagery's incredible, and obviously you're immediately swept up not only in the idea that this is the end of this trilogy for all of us, but also you're reminded of the journey that the characters are on," Pratt continues of the song "Do You Realize?" that played during the footage. "It's a really emotional story."

Watch the full interview with Gunn and the cast in the video above.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 is currently scheduled for theaters on May 5, 2023.

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