It has been eight years since James Gunn and Marvel Studios asked audiences to take a chance on Guardians of the Galaxy and see a new side of the MCU in August 2014. Among the things Marvel fans have to look forward to is the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
Based on Gunn's comments on the Hero Nation podcast, we will soon say our goodbyes to this team of Guardians. But before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens in theaters in May 2023 and brings an end to the offbeat group’s nearly 10-year journey, Disney+ subscribers will get to take a little detour with the upcoming special.
If this is the first you’re hearing about The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, don’t worry because we’re about to break down the program first revealed during the 2020 Disney Investors Day event. There is actually quite a bit we do know about what sounds like a fun romp before the heaviness of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives.
The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Is Slated For A Late 2022 Release
For the longest time, all anyone knew about The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and its release date was that it was going to be available on Disney+ at some point during the 2022 holiday season. Well, that all changed in October 2022, when James Gunn posted a new poster for Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ exclusive on his Twitter account with a caption revealing that it would be arriving on the platform on November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving.
The Holiday Special Takes Place Between Thor: Love And Thunder And Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
One of the bigger questions surrounding The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special since its announcement nearly two years ago has to deal with the program’s place in the MCU and if it will be part of the shared universe’s official canon. Well, that was put to rest in April 2022, when James Gunn responded to a fan on Twitter who asked if the special would be a one-off event or part of the bigger picture by saying it will take place between Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
With the special being the bridge between the two movies, we might get to learn how the band of misfit heroes spent their time after Thor (Chris Hemsworth) went off to save the universe in the Summer 2022 box office smash hit.
The Guardians Of The Galaxy Will Try To Bring Holiday Cheer To Star-Lord
When The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special premieres just after Thanksgiving, it will follow Drax, Mantis, and the rest of the ragtag group of misfit heroes as they embark upon what could be their toughest mission yet: bring holiday cheer to Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) who is still missing Zoe Saldana’s Gamora following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. How they go about this will make for a holiday special none will soon forget.
Not All Of The Guardians Will Be In The Holiday Special
Although the upcoming Disney+ holiday special will feature a large portion of the core Guardians of the Galaxy team, not all of its members will make an appearance. In May 2022, when someone shared a mocked-up title card on Twitter, James Gunn responded in a tweet saying that not all of the characters featured in the fan art were even in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, though he didn’t expand on who will or won’t be showing up.
The most likely candidate to be absent is Gamora who famously died in Avengers: Infinity War so that Thanos (Josh Brolin) could secure the Soul Stone during his crusade to bring balance to the universe. And while Gamora did return in Avengers: Endgame, it wasn’t the version that had fallen in love with Peter Quill, but instead a variant from a different timeline. While Zoe Saldana is among the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast, she was not with the Guardians the last time we saw them (or the time before that).
The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Is The ‘Epilogue’ Of Marvel Phase 4
During Marvel’s massive 2022 San Diego Comic-Con presentation, studio chief Kevin Feige walked members of the audience through the next few stages of the MCU, revealing that Phase 4 would come to an end with November’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And while Ryan Coogler’s upcoming sequel will be the final theatrical release before Phase 5 starts up in 2023, there will be an “epilogue” of sorts.
When asked about The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and its place in the MCU on Twitter shortly after the event, the director responded by saying the Disney+ special will be “the epilogue of Phase 4.”
The Trailer Is Full Of Adventure, Christmas Cheer And Kevin Bacon
On October 25, 2022, exactly one month before The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special was set to premiere, Disney and Marvel Studios gave the world its first glimpse at the upcoming Disney+ special in the form of a Christmas-themed and star-studded trailer. Full of adventure, Christmas cheer, and even Kevin Bacon (yes, that Kevin Bacon), the brief teaser hit some of the major plot points of the upcoming streaming title while also not giving too much away:
Watching the trailer gives me the same feeling as taking presents from beneath the tree and shaking them as I try to figure out what’s inside. Sure, we may think we know what’s waiting for us, but there’s always room for a big surprise.
James Gunn Says One Of The ‘Greatest MCU Characters Of All Time’ Will Be Introduced
Another bit of exciting information surrounding The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is that it will introduce a new character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Back in October 2021, James Gunn was asked on Twitter if there would be any new characters appearing alongside the Guardians, to which he responded by saying the special will introduce “one of the greatest MCU characters of all time.”
Gunn has been rather tight-lipped about it all since then, but with some new faces showing up in the upcoming Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, perhaps we'll see Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock or maybe Chukwudi Iwuji’s High Evolutionary, who are both slated to appear in the Marvel Phase 5 movie. Or it could be Maria Baklova’s Cosmo the Space Dog or Kevin Bacon, as both are featured in the special’s teaser trailer.
James Gunn Has Said The Holiday Special Is ‘Unlike Anything’ Anyone Has Seen
Throughout his career, James Gunn has some rather ridiculous things in his movies, but it sounds like The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will soon outdo some of his past accomplishments. When speaking with RadioTimes.com in March 2022, not only did Gunn call the upcoming Disney+ special the “greatest thing” he’s done, it’s also one of the most unique, saying:
And coming from someone whose work ranges from small budget horror movies like Slither to massive summer blockbusters like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, these comments should have fans even more excited about the upcoming holiday special.
Expect to hear more about The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special before it lands on the 2022 fall TV schedule. In the meantime, check out all the other great Marvel titles and more available with a Disney+ subscription.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.