In an interview with Deadline prior to the January 30 announcement of the multi-year DC slate he’s planned with producer Peter Safran, Gunn says he had to personally close out Rocket Raccoon’s journey:
“The reason why I needed to finish this is because I love the character of Rocket more than any character I’ve ever dealt with before, and I needed to finish his story and that is what Volume 3 is about. I absolutely needed to do it, and I think we’ve done it in a spectacular way that I can’t wait for people to see.”
Rocket is the emotionally unstable core of the Guardians. He lashes out at his friends in sometimes humorous, other times hurtful ways. Like many emotionally volatile people, he also bruises easily. As they say, hurt people hurt people.
While Rocket is voiced by Bradley Cooper, he is played on set by the filmmaker’s brother, Sean Gunn. As the director told me prior to the release of the first movie, “[Sean] co-created that character with me. A lot of times we used Sean’s facial expressions in the animation. There’s a lot of Sean in that character.” With so much of the Gunn family DNA in Rocket, it would’ve been a betrayal of the gun-toting mammal to let anyone else usher him out of the MCU.