The following contains SPOILERS for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special was basically everything promised by the intentionally silly title. It was a fun little Christmas-themed diversion that included all the fun, and music, that we’ve come to expect from our favorite team of space-based Marvel heroes. For the most part, one assumed that, while still technically canon to the MCU, this special was just an excuse to have fun and was never meant to be something to advance the larger story.
However, there was one piece of information dropped in the Disney+ holiday special that seems to mean something. We learned a new detail about Mantis that only had a tangential relationship with the holiday theme itself, and thus it seems likely that the reason for giving us this information here was that it’s going to be important later, specifically, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Star-Lord & Mantis
Early in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, we learn that Mantis has been keeping a secret from everybody except Drax: that she is not simply the adopted daughter of Peter Quill’s father Ego, as we had been led to believe, but that she is, or at least she believes she is, the actual daughter of Ego. If true, this makes Mantis and Star-Lord half-siblings.
James Gunn said there would be important information in the special, and this was almost certainly what he was talking about, though there were several details about the Guardians that will surely be reflected in the next movie.
Mantis is afraid of how Peter will react to the news that she is is his sister, so she refrains from telling him. His experience with Ego, the man responsible for the death of Peter’s mother, wasn’t exactly positive. At the end of the special, Mantis reveals this information to Peter, and he, being a man without any remaining biological family, is thrilled to learn that he has a sister. They embrace as the special ends.
Seeing Peter and Mantis hug and wish each other a merry Christmas is an emotional moment, to be sure, but if the Guardians of the Galaxy movies have made you cry already, you’re not paying attention. The Guardians of the Galaxy are already a family.
The entire franchise has been about these outcasts coming together, healing together and becoming a found family. That alone would have been enough for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, so it seems likely that this new familial connection between Star-Lord and Mantis is something that was mentioned here so that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 doesn’t need to waste time establishing it. The question, then, is why this was done.
Star-Lord Has “Real” Family Now
Assuming that this new familial relationship is going to be an important plot development, it’s difficult to guess how that may fit into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Mostly, that's because we don’t really know what the new movie will even be about. We know that Will Poulter will appear as Adam Warlock and that Zoe Saldaña will return as the alternate timeline Gamora, but how any of this will fit together we don't’ know.
We could see a relationship between Peter and Mantis that has progressed since the Holiday Special, causing the new siblings to become closer with each other than the rest of the Guardians. That would certainly cause some potential conflict, especially when Gamora enters the picture. The one Zoe Saldana will play, due to the time travel of Avengers: Endgame, was never a member of the Guardians, and thus won’t feel the same way about anybody, especially Peter, as they all feel about her.
Knowing that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the last adventure for this team of heroes, it seems quite likely the film will at least tease the group's destruction. Perhaps Peter will need to make a tough decision regarding where he wants to go from here. If he’s able to rebuild a relationship with Gamora, that could be one option. But having an actual sister is something that is already important to Peter, and if he has to choose between them, it could certainly make for good drama.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Is A Story About Family Trauma
From the footage of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 that was released at the San Diego Comic-Con, while most of us haven’t seen it, we know that a significant part of the plot of the movie will include Rocket’s story. It’s indicated that we will see how Rocket was created, and the man who's seemingly his creator, The High Evolutionary, looks to be the film’s big bad.
Rocket has always had very strong feelings about what he was. He’s sensitive to the way that he is treated because of what he is, and while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 showed us a Rocket that learned that his friends won’t abandon him, he hasn’t yet come to terms with what he is.
Learning to deal with the trauma of your past and upbringing has been core to the Guardians of the Galaxy films. We’ve seen Peter deal with the guilt that came from not being there for his mother when she died. We’ve seen Gamora and Nebula nearly kill each other in a fight that had lasted their entire lives.
One person whose trauma we have not seen yet is Mantis. We know from the things she told Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that her life with Ego was far from easy, but it’s unclear if she has even accepted how wrong it all was. If she, like Rocket, will be coming to terms with who she is and where she came from following the revelation of who her real father is, she could reach out to, or perhaps strongly reject, the person that has the strongest connection to that father, her half-brother Star-Lord.
The two Guardians of the Galaxy films have both had strong themes with stories that serve those themes. James Gunn doesn’t waste time or effort, and the decision to make Star-Lord and Mantis siblings is important. It’s impossible to know for sure right now how so, but it’s a safe bet it will be key to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. I, for one, can’t wait for May 2023 to find out how.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.