During Thor: Love and Thunder, Star-Lord and his merry band of space outlaws popped up for a cup of coffee, but it soon becomes apparent that their time spent exploring with the Asgardian has been more of a miss than a hit.
If you have not watched the movie yet, be warned that the Guardians of the Galaxy had a brief, exciting, but turbulent existence. Sure, on the one hand, Thor helped them complete any task they were hired to complete because, well, he is one of the MCU’s strongest gods and that kind of stuff kinda counts, you know…
but on the other hand, he kept pulling stunts like making them fight until they were almost defeated and needed his assistance, subjecting them to two screaming, cosmic goats, and generally making them so tired of him that they flew away at top speed as soon as he agreed.
You get what we mean. Okay, maybe not after a particularly bromance-filled exchange between Quill and Thor. However, where did they actually travel to? What drove them there? And how does this relate to the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?
This is all you need to know so far about the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and we are here to help you understand it. We are also going to go into some storyline speculation, so keep that spoiler alert on.
What have the Guardians of the Galaxy been up to after Infinity War?
The Asgardian God of Thunder Thor was travelling across space with Peter Quill’s ragtag band of intergalactic vigilantes when we last saw them. By that time, the Guardians had gone through A LOT. In the most odd sequence of events, Quill found the love of his life, learned that he was a part-god, killed his mad full-god father, and then lost and found her again.
Rocket and Groot went through every stage of friendship with each other, and then some; Groot even turned into a snooty teenager for like 2 whole movies there. Drax went from being a serious Destroyer to becoming perhaps the best comic relief character in the story; and Gamora, well, she’s dead, but she isn’t, and the last time we saw HER was on Quill’s space computer where she turned up missing after the Thanos invasion was dealt with.
Oh, and we should also mention Nebula’s heart-wrenching redemption arc and the fact that Kraglin has picked up Yondu’s whistle-controlled arrow and a penchant for marrying someone on every planet that his crew lands on, which is something Quill has told him not to do multiple times… but well, keep at it, Star-Lord, you’ll get through to him someday!
Once everyone was done paying their respects to Tony Stark for his heroic sacrifice, it was time to leg it back to outer space, but they would be going back out there with a rather endearingly imposing figure; that being Thor Odinson. Back in Infinity War, the Guardians came across the remnants of the Asgardian space vessel in which Thor was transporting all of his people and managed to save him.
Thor then went to Nedavillier with Rocket and Groot to create Stormbreaker with the help of Eitri the Dwarf, and they bi-frosted their way back to Earth just in time to lose to Thanos. In the meantime, Gamora died at Vormir, and Star-Lord and the rest were turned into space dust by Thanos’ snap.
In Endgame, only Nebula survives the events of Titan, and she comes back to Earth with a Tony Stark defeated in body, mind and spirit. But, this being a superhero film, and Tony Stark being the residential ultimate genius of Earth in the MCU, he comes up with a “safe” way to travel back in time for the ultimate Time Heist. Thor and Rocket go steal the Aether from Jane by going back to the events of Thor: Dark World, Thor has a lovely chat with his mom, grabs his hammer for a quick scuffle and they come back to find their friends alive.
In the climactic battle, the Guardians and the Ravagers team up with the rest of the heroes of the MCU to take out Thanos’ massive army, and they succeed thanks to Tony Stark snapping his own fingers and laying down his life for the sake of the universe.
At the end of Endgame, Thor makes Valkyrie King of New Asgard and takes off with the Guardians- sorry, Asgardians of the Galaxy- to have another classic Thor Adventure while discovering who he really is. And this is where we pick up in Thor: Love and Thunder, with our motley crew of gods and space animals, off on yet another contract on a strange planet far, far away.
The Guardians of the Galaxy in Thor: Love and Thunder
The next time we see the Guardians is during the opening sequences of Thor: Love and Thunder. We find out that Korg and Miek have split up; Miek stayed on Earth to help Valkyrie run New Asgard, while Korg joined his best bro Thor for his space journey of self-discovery; albeit this wasn’t shown in Endgame, so this is a retconn that they’ve added to the story. But yes, as we mentioned already, the Asgardians of the Galaxy are back to their nefarious ways; answering distress calls and creating a few of their own to fill up those coffers.
In the meantime, Thor has been trimming down, going from Dad Bod to God Bod once again, and deciding to only intervene on the battlefield when the Guardians explicitly couldn’t handle something. Otherwise, he’d spend his time meditating and trying to figure out his true purpose in life. After trying – and failing – to recapture the shrine where a group of aliens had launched an attack on King Yakan’s kingdom, they end up calling Thor in to help them, and as you might have expected, the God of Thunder cleans house by himself.
There’s this really cool fan-boy moment from Peter Quill when he apes Thor yelling out his catchphrase “This ends here and now”. Never change, Star-Lord. But after helping him take care of those alien invaders – and taking on a couple of rather scream-prone goats – the Guardians observe what is perhaps the biggest distress call burst across the universe since Thanos’ snap. Gorr The God Butcher’s divine rampage had left many planets like Yakan’s devoid of their Gods, and as a result, their civilisations were unravelling at the seams.
Thor zones in on a distress call from Lady Sif and decides to go help his oldest friend alive at this point; but not before having the bromantic moment we mentioned in our intro with Star-Lord, and we have to say, Chris Hemsworth’s eyes are the definition of dreamy in this scene.
Just say yes, Quill! But getting back to the point, after Peter advises Thor on what’s important in life and how he should keep chasing that crappy feeling he gets whenever he thinks of Jane, the two parties split up, with Thor and Korg landing on Falligar and the Guardians jetting out of the planet to ostensibly answer another distress call or finally start looking for Gamora… and that brings us to the Holiday Special, and well, we think we know what’s going to happen there. So if you don’t want to know what happens, then drop off here. Are you still with us? Okay, cool, moving on to why you guys are really here; the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and how Thor: Love and Thunder sets it up.
Everything we know about Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special
First things first, filming for the GoTG Holiday Special has already finished. James Gunn confirmed this in April 2022 with a Tweet that gives away a lot about the story without saying too much. Now, let’s talk about the inspiration behind it. As you might know, Gunn is a Star Wars fanatic, and you can really see that influence come through in his MCU films especially. So it was not a question of if, but when would he inevitably try to create his own Holiday Special.
And that question was answered in 2020, when Kevin Feige announced that he would be returning to helm the Holiday Special as well as the third Guardians film, which is slated to be the last one with this creative team and roster incarnation so far. Fans of Star Wars will know that the Holiday Special released in 1978 is something of a rare commodity; most fans hated it at the time, but it has become something of a collector’s item given how rare it is to find a copy of the same.
Well, clearly James Gunn has seen it, because he has decided to base this unique Disney+ offering on the premise of this special, and that gives us a hint as to what might go down in this movie. Because Gunn has stated that the events of this Holiday Special will be canon, and it will bridge the gap between Guardians 2, Love and Thunder and Guardians 3. Plus, one of the core team members of the Guardians is set to miss out on the action.
And, Gunn has teased a rather odd yet exciting character introduction by claiming that his choice is one of the biggest characters in Marvel, period, but also rather off-beat. And, of course, there’s the fact that Feige also announced the Baby Groot-focused series “I Am Groot” alongside the Special, which when all taken together, will give you a general idea of how this thing will work. So the way we see it, Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will begin pretty much like the Star Wars Holiday Special in that we will be visiting the home planet of one of the Guardians; and our money is on Groot’s.
Because in leaked reports, it has been stated that we will be seeing Planet X – Groot’s home world – in an upcoming MCU project, but “I Am Groot” has no clear release schedule so far. And, if you guys took a sneak peak at the wrap tweet that James Gunn made, you’ll notice that Groot is much more muscular than he was in Love And Thunder.
Groot’s gains are directly related to his environment as we’ve seen already in the first Guardians film, so it would make sense that the Guardians would visit his home planet and he’d beef up there thanks to the agreeable climate. So that’s our first theory; Gunn’s Holiday Special will give Groot the Chewbacca role and introduce a bunch of characters that can help set up the Groot spin-off series while furthering the storyline of the Guardians themselves.
And, speaking of that wrap tweet, we also have confirmation that one of the strongest members of the Guardians of the Galaxy is finally going to be joining the team officially. If you count the number of bell decorations in the box Gunn got from Marvel execs as a thank you, you’ll notice that there are 8 of them. Now, that would make sense if Gamora was with them, but she’s not, so that leaves Quill, Rocket, Nebula, Drax, Groot, Mantis and Kraglin.
That’s 7 characters, so who could the 8th be? Well, it’s none other than Cosmo the Space Dog, who is set to join up with the Guardians over the course of this film. In the comics, Cosmo is an extremely powerful telepath who is also the chief security officer of Knowhere; yes, we’re talking about that same severed Celestial head you’re envisioning right now. The MCU has merged Cosmo’s story with that of Laika – the real-life dog that the Soviet Union sent into orbit – and had her end up as a part of Tivan’s Collection.
In the first Guardians film, Tivan’s hideout was destroyed by the Power Stone’s aura and Cosmo broke out of his glass cage. In Infinity War, Knowhere was more or less destroyed by Thanos in his attempt to gain the Reality Stone. So that begs the question; where did Cosmo go to all this while? Did he just drift off into space until someone found him and called him in to the space pound? Or was he already off-Celestial Head by the time Thanos arrived?
We doubt we’ll get a straight answer to these questions from the special, but we will see Cosmo end up on the team for sure. This brings us to who this weird new addition to the team might be. Now, the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics are way different from what they are in the films, but hey, so are most of the arcs that Kevin Feige & Co. have adapted to the big screen. Yondu used to lead the Guardians in the comics, Moon Knight has 5 personalities not 3, and Thanos has been slain by Squirrel Girl, who managed to wield the Infinity Gauntlet.
In fact, we have a vague suspicion that it might just be her, given the language Gunn used in his tweet, but we might also be wrong, because Stephen Blackeheart is apparently in this film, and his role hasn’t been revealed in any capacity so far. He could just be talking about Cosmo instead, or perhaps Adam Warlock, who has finally been cast and confirmed to be appearing in Guardians 3.
The sensational Will Poulter, whom you’ll most likely recognize from Bandersnatch: the Black Mirror movie, has been given the role of one of the strongest beings in the entire Multiverse, and it will be interesting to see how he figures into things. Because we can pretty much agree on the fact that the Sovereign is going to be the main antagonist of Guardians 3, right? Also, Adam Warlock is actually a Guardian himself in the comics… and given the fact that most of the original cast might move on from the franchise after the third film – Bautista definitely – we’re going to need new faces to fill in for them.
Adam Warlock will most certainly end up joining the Guardians at the end of Volume 3, the only question is under what circumstances… and maybe Gunn uses this Holiday Special to set that up. Because if you guys have happened to come across the Star Wars Special at any point in your lives, then you’ll know that they introduced Boba Fett to the franchise via a series of animations that were the most-celebrated thing about an otherwise forgettable experience.
Maybe, we see something similar here, with Adam Warlock being put into conflict with the Guardians via an animated short story within the overarching special, which brings us to our last point for this video, and that is Christmas. Yes, Christmas; the tentative release date of this special and the assumed theme as well.
Marvel is usually a master at keeping things hush hush, but it looks like they might have let the cat out of the bag in a big way, as recently, photos emerged of a California-style mansion being used as a filming location for the Holiday Special, decked out with Christmas decorations and a flipped police car in the driveway.
This immediately got us thinking about why Star-Lord and his team would come to Earth because you’d think they’d be out in space looking for Gamora and not forcing Quill to visit a planet he resents. And honestly…? The only reason we could come up with was that Quill wished for a visit to Kevin Bacon from Santa Claus. Oh, that also reminds us, X-Men 97 comes out next year and Santa Claus is a legit mutant in the comics and James Gunn did say his choice for a new character was outrageous, so maybe it’s Mr. Claus that he was talking about!
To add further fuel to this fire, I.M.D.B has David Moskowitz listed as Santa Claus in the cast credits for the Holiday Special, so maybe we are onto something here. But no, we think that Star-Lord will meet his favourite actor from his favourite film Footlose in this Holiday Special, and end up causing a bit of mischief there as well, considering the flipped over cop car we saw in those leaks.
And James Gunn has also said that the movie will have original music – like the Star Wars Special – so get ready for a beautiful solo number courtesy of Mantis, or maybe even Gamora if they make this a musical dream sequence instead. But yes, this is how Thor: Love and Thunder helps set up the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and our theories for how the whole thing will end up going down.
Most of the original cast will return to our screens in December this year, with the exception of Zoe Saldana, who will probably be seen in Volume 3 instead. And yes, it is true that the events of this Holiday Special will lay the groundwork for what will possibly be the last outing for this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but on the flip side, that’s probably why this format is perfect for them.
Over the course of his 2 films in the MCU, James Gunn has made the Guardians of the Galaxy one of the most-consistently entertaining aspects of the whole thing; and they weren’t even B-List in the comics, quite frankly. So a funny, wacky, and ridiculously over-the-top Holiday Special is the perfect way to bridge the gap between Guardians Volume 2 and 3, which have at least a 6-year gap between them.
So while it’s going to be a fun Christmas watch for you and the family, do keep your eyes peeled for some of the hidden Easter Eggs, come back here and inform us whether we were right or wrong, and let us know what you think about our theories in the comments below. Until then, we’re going to get back to our Zoom player.