Halloween hasn’t happened yet Marvel is pushing forward to the holiday season with the recent release of the trailer for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. The special is set to premiere on Disney+ promptly after Thanksgiving on November 25th. It will serve as both an epilogue to Phase Four of the MCU following Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and a prologue of what’s to come in Phase Five starting with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which also just celebrated its trailer’s release.
The trailer also comes on the same day that James Gunn was announced as one of the new heads of DC Studios. Importantly, this means that the special is setting the stage for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in May and what is supposedly the team and Gunn’s last endeavor in the MCU. With most of the gang returning alongside a very exciting guest star, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is sure to lighten spirits, and so here are the major takeaways from this trailer.
This is a full-blown Christmas movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This isn’t the first time the MCU has gone down this path. Only last year, Hawkeye was a Christmas series as Clint and Kate Bishop worked together to get him home for the holidays. Spider-Man: No Way Home also ended with a last image of Spider-Man in his new suit during Christmastime.
While the look is quite different, this harkens back to The Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978 the oft-forgotten second addition to the Star Wars franchise that also introduced Boba Fett. While that was incredibly poorly received, it does have its fans, including James Gunn. Just based on this trailer, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special doesn’t look like it should be getting the same response.
The Guardians of the Galaxy are coming back to Earth. They are on a mission to uplift Star-Lord’s spirits since the loss of Gamora in Avengers: Endgame. He didn’t seem so down in the dumps in Thor: Love and Thunder, so it’s sad to think about how the time has affected him.
The trailer shows Mantis and Drax walking through Los Angeles hunting for the perfect gift. They are not looked at with fear by passersby as they would’ve been years ago. Thanks to defeating Thanos and saving the world, they might even be celebrities like Scott Lang as the recent trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania revealed.
A while back James Gunn teased a new and important character would join the MCU in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and while names like Phyla-Vell, Blackjack O’Hare, and Santa Claus were suggested, the trailer revealed it is the one and only hero of Earth, Kevin Bacon. This is the best possible callback to jokes throughout the Guardian’s previous appearances since Footloose and Kevin Bacon are incredibly important to Star-Lord.
The only downside to this inclusion is that it means Kevin Bacon won’t be able to play another character in the MCU. Nevertheless, it does give hope to a potential dance montage or battle in honor of Footloose in the special.
The big question, though, about the trailer is where is Gamora, to which Drax would aptly respond, “Why is Gamora?” Zoe Saldaña is still slated to appear in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, yet she wasn’t shown at all in the trailer. As such, she’ll likely not be a central figure throughout, but she might just pop in at the end to tease Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
While the special is clearly a comedy like the previous Guardians of the Galaxy properties, it does have a tragic undertone. Star-Lord is a many still suffering the loss of the woman he loves, and the impending holidays are bringing those sentiments to the surface.
This will mark Groot’s third appearance this year with the addition of the delightfully cute, I am Groot shorts and Thor: Love and Thunder. He’s done some growing since then. It’s like he’s been hitting the gym relentlessly, or he switched up his fertilizer as he is far bulkier than before – although it looks like his head still hasn’t caught up to the rest of his body.
Interestingly, footage for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had been shown previously to the special few at Comic-Con and D23, yet there wasn’t any chatter about him looking drastically different, so this might be just how he looks for the special only.
Another addition to the team is Cosmo the Spacedog. He’s become a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics since his introduction in 2008, and he’ll be doing the same in the MCU. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Maria Bakalova is taking up voicing Cosmo for the special and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
He first appeared among the Collector’s prisoners in his museum in Guardians of the Galaxy and also in What If…?, and he’ll likely be the security chief for Knowhere as he is in the comics. With Cosmo featuring and taking on a relatively larger role, there’s even more hope for other cosmic characters like Nova or Moondragon to show up too.
Overall, this trailer just emulates fun energy. Despite being futuristic, it has the classic nostalgic energy of the best Christmas movies like Home Alone or How The Grinch Stole Christmas. There is a wholesome energy to the special and like the previous Guardians of the Galaxy films, this seems like something perfect for families during the Holidays. Plus with Drax and Mantis on this chase for Kevin Bacon, there’s even an unexpected element of heist movies.
This adds to the recent exploration of different genres and tropes in the MCU like with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law being a legal comedy. Fans want to see more of this and have shared ideas on Reddit for various stories that could work.
Following the release of the first Special Presentation, Werewolf by Night, only a few weeks early, the common consensus among the fans is that they want more. Just for Halloween there are several other characters who’d do well with their own specials. This goes back to when Marvel used to the one-shot short films with each new movie.
Supposedly the previously announced Nova project might be worked into a Special Presentation, which could be very cool. These are great opportunities for the MCU to experiment and let loose. They’re fun one-offs that can introduce all sorts of new heroes to the franchise as it continues to expand and dominate the airwaves.