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The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will be the epilogue of Phase 4

Published Aug 2nd, 2022 2:29PM EDT
Guardians of the Galaxy crew from Vol 2. installment
Image: Marvel Studios

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special should hit Disney Plus at some point in December, although Marvel has yet to share a release date. But when it does arrive, the Guardians Holiday Special will become the final adventure in Phase 4.

The news comes from James Gunn directly, who confirmed on Twitter that the holiday special will be the current phase’s epilogue. Mind you, some spoilers might follow below.

Where does Guardians Holiday Special fit in the MCU release schedule?

Marvel announced MCU Phase 5 and Phase 6 less than two weeks ago at Comic-Con 2022. Kevin Feige revealed all of the titles in Phase 5 and three significant films coming in Phase 6, including two Avengers movies. The Marvel Studios boss delivered on his promise that the MCU roadmap would become clearer. We’re on our way to Secret Wars, which will be the end of the Multiverse Saga.

Feige also revealed that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be the last film of Phase 4. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will kick off Phase 5 next February.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Guardians in Thor: Love and Thunder trailer.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Guardians in Thor: Love and Thunder trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

This caused some confusion among fans, as Marvel will have a couple of specials on Disney Plus between Wakanda Forever and Quantumania. Guardians Holiday Special is one of them and the last piece of MCU content hitting theaters or streaming before Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Avengers movies

With all this in mind, someone asked Gunn on Twitter what Phase Guardians Holiday Special is part of. The writer/director said that the Disney Plus show is the epilogue of Phase 4. That’s quite an important detail, as it implies the short Guardians adventure will be more important for the MCU than we thought.

We last saw the Guardians leaving Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Love and Thunder to deal with various issues in the universe. The Comic-Con trailer that leaked showed that they’ll meet Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. And it’ll happen much faster and easier than we expected.

Getting back to the Holiday Special, Gunn provided additional teasers on Twitter. He said the action in Guardians Holiday Special is canonical and the short movie is “absolutely” a must-watch. “There’s a lot of big information in there,” the director said, without providing specifics.

On the other hand, Gunn also noted that he had no idea Vol. 3 was MCU Phase 5 until the Comic-Con presentation. That seems to sort of contradict the epilogue remark. Or, put differently, Guardians Holiday Special can’t feel like the end of a phase if Gunn never got instructions to write it that way.

Then again, considering that Avengers 5 and Avengers 6 will cap the Multiverse Saga, we shouldn’t expect other sort of epilogues for the various phases in it. That’s because Marvel’s Avengers movies will always end sagas.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special comes to Disney Plus in 2022.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special comes to Disney Plus in 2022. Image source: Disney

What happens in the Disney Plus Guardians special?

As for the Guardians Holiday Special plot, it hasn’t leaked yet. And it might not leak, considering rumors about the increased secrecy around Guardians 3

But Gunn did tease before that people who have read the script are excited about it. And that it will introduce a few new mysterious characters. Separately, leaks said some of the action happens on Earth. And we even saw photos from the set that teased at least a tiny Eternals Easter egg.

That said, it’s unclear when the action occurs in relation to the other MCU Phase 4 titles. These stories aren’t always chronological, and we’re often left to find out where the newest title fits on the MCU timeline.

With that in mind, we can’t help but wonder why the Guardians would return to Earth in the Holiday Special.

More Marvel coverage: For more MCU news, visit our Marvel guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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