This article contains spoilers for the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is absolutely packed with MCU Easter eggs and Marvel references. Marvel Studios has reinvented their old one-shots for Phase 4, and they’ve become bigger in scale than ever before. The new-style one-shots are so-called “feature presentations,” with Werewolf By Night introducing horror as part of the MCU and the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special celebrating Christmas.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a fun story in which Drax and Mantis travel to Earth, kidnapping Kevin Bacon as a Christmas present for Star-Lord. The story serves as something of a lightweight epilogue to the MCU’s Phase 4, and it’s an enjoyable watch, even if it doesn’t exactly have galaxy-wide ramifications. That said, it does set up a new status quo for the Guardians ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will surely make it essential all the same. Here are all the MCU Easter eggs and Marvel references.
The Guardians Of The Galaxy Now Own Knowhere
The Guardians of the Galaxy have officially bought Knowhere from the Collector as their new home-base. The severed head of an ancient Celestial, Knowhere was introduced in the first Guardians of the Galaxy as a mining colony. “The bone, brain tissue, spinal fluid,” Gamora explained. “All rare resources, highly valued in black markets across the galaxy. It’s dangerous and illegal work, suitable only for outlaws.” Presumably the Guardians of the Galaxy are attempting to lend Knowhere a little credibility. James Gunn has confirmed this particular idea will be important for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Reveals The Collector Survived Infinity War
The Collector hasn’t been referenced in the MCU since Avengers: Infinity War, and most viewers presumed he had been killed by Thanos when the Mad Titan took the Power Stone from him. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special reveals that wasn’t the case, though, because Star-Lord bought the mining colony from him. Knowhere is still being rebuild after Thanos’ attack, meaning it must have been derelict during the Blip.
Cosmo Finally Becomes Comic Book Accurate
Cosmo the space-dog has been a recurring background presence in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, initially introduced as one of the Collector’s treasures. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special transforms him into a more comic-book-accurate form, granting him a voice unit and the power of telekinesis. In the comics, Cosmo was a test animal for the Soviet Space Program who was mutated by cosmic rays. Gunn has confirmed Cosmo’s increased role is important for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will reveal Rocket Racoon’s origin story. It’s reasonable to assume that Cosmo, like Rocket, will have been experimented on by a villain named the High Evolutionary, who will be played by Chukwudi Iwuji.
Santa Does Indeed Have Epic Superpowers In Marvel Comics
Tales of Christmas have become garbled in deep space, with many believing “Santa has epic superpowers.” Hilariously, he actually does have superpowers in Marvel Comics, where Santa has been revealed to be a powerful mutant. He’s not always a force for good, either, and on several occasions he’s come under demonic or symbiotic control. This song really is a delightful and surprising Marvel Easter egg.
Groot Has Grown Up – With Major Implications For The MCU Timeline
Groot has grown up again by the time of the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, presumably setting up his new form in the coming threequel. This almost certainly breaks Disney+’s MCU timeline, because there’s surely no way Groot could have grown up so much between Thor: Love & Thunder and the Holiday Special if they were set just a few months apart. It’s likely Thor: Love & Thunder should be considered set in 2024, and the Holiday Special in Christmas 2025, giving Groot time to grow.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Reveals Mantis Is Star-Lord’s Sister
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special features a major change in MCU lore, revealing Mantis is one of Ego’s children. This is a smart change, explaining why Mantis found her way to Ego’s planet; Ego must have decided her powers were of use, thus deciding to spare her life. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s third act is even more poetically ironic after this revelation, because it means Ego was defeated by two of his children, not just one. It also gives Star-Lord the remains of a real family.
Gamora Is Still Missing In The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special
Gamora has been missing in MCU’s Phase 4, and it seems Star-Lord still hasn’t gotten over her. Thanos killed his daughter in Avengers: Infinity War, sacrificing her to obtain the Soul Stone, but a variant of Gamora was restored to the present day in Avengers: Endgame thanks to time travel. This version of Gamora rejected Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy, but will cross paths with them again in Vol. 3.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Features A Weird Kingo Easter Egg
It’s easy to miss, but the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special features one of the MCU’s few Eternals Easter eggs. Drax and Mantis arrive at Hollywood, seeking Kevin Bacon; they stroll past a movie poster advertising Kingo’s latest film. One of the Eternals, Kingo became a major film star over the course of the 20th century. This MCU Easter egg is rather an odd one, though, because Kingo was kidnapped by the Celestial Arishem in Eternals‘ cliffhanger ending.
Drax & Mantis See Avengers Cosplayers In Hollywood
Drax and Mantis enjoy their stroll through Hollywood, crossing paths with a group of Avengers cosplayers. It’s particularly amusing to see Ant-Man given a place of prominence, because the MCU’s Phase 4 films and TV shows have suggested Scott Lang has established himself as a celebrity superhero thanks to podcasts and an autobiography. This forms subtle setup for Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania, which seems to kick off with Ant-Man’s fame going to his head.
Transformers & Pirates Of The Caribbean Exist In The MCU
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special confirms both Transformers and the Pirates of the Caribbean films exist in the MCU, with one cosplayer dressed as a transforming robot and another as Jack Sparrow. The Transformers nod is a fitting one, because Marvel Comics helped create the Transformers franchise; Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter came up with the idea for Autobots and Decepticons, while comic book writer Bob Budiansky came up with the names and personalities for the first wave of characters. Drax is less than impressed to see someone pretending to be a robot, for a very personal reason.
Robots Killed Drax’s Cousin – A Possible Reference To Kree Sentries
Drax reveals robots killed his cousin, giving him a deep-rooted hatred of robots. Drax’s people were wiped out by the Kree renegade Ronan the Accuser, and this probably suggests he used Kree robots known as Sentries during the slaughter. The Sentries are formidable androids; a single Sentry has fought the assembled Avengers to a standstill in the comics. Hopefully it won’t be long before the Sentries are seen in the MCU.
The Black Widow Fancy Dress Is A Surprising Choice
The Black Widow cosplayer wears Natasha Romanoff’s costume from her solo film, a surprising choice given it’s hardly her most famous – or, in timeline order, most recent. It seems appropriate from an out-of-universe perspective, however, given Black Widow was the first film in Phase 4. It’s nice to see it explicitly acknowledged.
“Let’s Take A Picture With The God Of War”
There’s a throwaway reference to another cosplayer dressed as the God of War. It’s difficult to say what this refers to; it may well be that God of War exists in the MCU, and that there’s a Kratos cosplayer. Alternatively, it may be a nod to an actual God of War from the comics – Ares. The Greek pantheon is officially part of the MCU after Thor: Love & Thunder, and Ares may well have come to Earth – inspiring a cosplayer.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special References Kevin Bacon’s Film Roles
Kevin Bacon was delighted when he was referenced in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. “I went to the theater opening weekend, having worked with [director] James Gunn,” he recalled in one interview. “We had been in touch and he never warned me that this was coming. I had no idea, and I sat there and all of a sudden they’re talking about me and my jaw just dropped.” He makes his official MCU debut in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, with references to several of his famous movies. He also technically gets to play Batman, confirming another DC superhero exists in the MCU after a fashion (Eternals name-dropped Superman too).
Rocket Is Described As A Talking Raccoon (Again)
Rocket doesn’t like being called a raccoon (or Trash Panda), and he reacts badly when Kevin Bacon recognizes his species. It’s interesting to note that Kevin Bacon doesn’t recognize Rocket, given the Guardians of the Galaxy were famous on Earth due to participating in Avengers: Endgame‘s final battle – Ms. Marvel‘s AvengerCon event even featured a Rocket Raccoon teddy bear. It’s possible most people assumed Rocket was an exaggeration, figuring a talking raccoon was a little too much even in a world of gods, monsters, and aliens.
The Guardians’ New Ship Is Officially Christened The Bowie
Peter Quill certainly seems to get through his spaceships, because the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special reveals the team has a new ship – christened the Bowie. This is another important piece of setup for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, with James Gunn confirming it is four stories tall and will play a major role in the threequel. It will be exciting to see what the Bowie can do.
Kraglin Still Hasn’t Learned How To Use His Flying Arrow
Kraglin was given Yondu’s fin and flying arrow at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and one post-credits scene showed him practicing with it. According to Kraglin, he still hasn’t got the hang of it. Hopefully he will have learned to use the flying arrow properly by the time of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, because it would surely come in useful.
Star-Lord “Saved The Galaxy Through Dancing”
Kraglin recalls that Star-Lord once “saved the galaxy through dancing,” referencing the famous dance-off scene in Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s exaggerating, of course; in reality, Star-Lord’s dance-off simply confused Ronan the Accuser long enough to give him a shot at taking the Power Stone. Still, he’s right to credit Kevin Bacon as the inspiration for Star-Lord’s strange strategy, because Peter Quill grew up loving Footloose. “Is Footloose still the greatest movie ever made,” Star-Lord excitedly asked Spider-Man in Avengers: Infinity War. Apparently Star-Lord is now considered the galaxy’s greatest hero, although that may just be hero-worship from Kraglin.
Rocket Is Given Bucky’s Arm In The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special pays off a tremendous gag from Avengers: Infinity War, in which Rocket enviously asked Bucky for his cyborg arm. His wishes are finally fulfilled, because he’s given the arm as a Christmas present. This may well be important going forward, because it’s presumably a Wakandan design made of Vibranium.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Reveals The Origin Of Star-Lord’s Guns
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special wraps up in a touching scene in which Star-Lord remembers receiving a Christmas present from his “father,” Yondu. Although Yondu affected being a Scrooge-like figure, he was apparently touched at Peter Quill’s present, and reciprocated by buying the child his trademark guns. It’s a surprising origin story for these iconic weapons, but it helps explain why they became so important to Star-Lord.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Features A Star Wars Easter Egg
It’s easy to miss, but there’s also a final Star Wars Easter egg in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. The animated flashback ends with Yondu taking his ship into what looks like hyperspace – a very different form of interstellar travel to the one typically seen in the MCU. This likely reflected Peter Quill’s faulty memories, and his difficulty differentiating between fact and (science-)fiction.