Director of both Guardians of the Galaxy films James Gunn has spoken out about being fired and eventually rehired by Disney for the first time in an interview with Deadline. During the interview he was asked about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and discussed the importance that Rocket holds for him. It sounds as though Gunn has always had big plans for the fan favourite in the upcoming film and was upset at the idea of not being able to play those plans out himself.
When you asked me what was saddest for me when I thought it was gone—and anybody at Marvel can tell you—it’s this very strange and attached relationship to Rocket. Rocket is me, he really is, even if that sounds narcissistic. Groot is like my dog. I love Groot in a completely different way. I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed. He has an arc that started in the first movie, continued into the second and goes through Infinity War and Endgame, and then I was set to really finish that arc in Guardians 3. That was a big loss to me—not being able to finish that story—though I was comforted by the fact that they were still planning to use my script.
The last we saw of Rocket was at the end of Avengers: Endgame as he was reunited with his fellow Guardians aboard the Benetar spaceship, along with the seemingly new addition of Thor. Fans are hopeful that the next film in the trilogy will see Thor join the Guardians and form the Asgardians of the Galaxy.