Nebula and Mantis in 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.'
Source: Disney Plus

Where Does 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special' Fit in the MCU Timeline?

Allison DeGrushe - Author
By

Nov. 23 2022, Published 1:35 p.m. ET

Following the success of Werewolf by Night, it seems the Marvel Studios Special Presentations are here to stay.

For those unaware, the television format allows the MCU to take risks and introduce new characters into the franchise. However, it also encourages storytellers to further develop familiar characters, which is exactly what filmmaker James Gunn does with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

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In the highly anticipated Disney Plus special, the titular superhero team sets out to Earth and embarks on a mission to make this Christmas unforgettable for Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). While many fans (including us) bask in the glory of yet another holiday-themed MCU project, others can't help but wonder:

When is The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special set in the MCU timeline? Let's find out!

Star-Lord and Drax in 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.'
Source: Disney Plus

Star-Lord and Drax in 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special'

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When is 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special' set in the MCU timeline?

Ahead of the holiday special's release, writer-director James Gunn finally confirmed how the project fits into the overall MCU timeline. In a tweet from August 2022, the co-CEO of DC Studios announced that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special takes place between Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Although his Twitter post merely corrected an article that mistakenly stated that the special presentation would take place between the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, fans may learn new details about what the cosmic team of superheroes was up to during that era (spoiler alert: most of them perished in the Snap).

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Drax in 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.'
Source: Disney Plus

In response to a fan's question on Twitter about whether the holiday special would set up the story for Vol. 3, James said it's a "standalone story." Nevertheless, he noted that it "contains a lot of fun new facts about what the Guardians have been up to for all these years." We don't know about you, but we are dying to know what shenanigans the team has been up to!

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The 'GOTG Holiday Special' introduces new characters to the MCU.

Although the holiday special mainly focuses on the beloved titular superhero team, several new characters join the mix; for starters, viewers officially meet Cosmo the Spacedog, voiced by Academy Award nominee Maria Bakalova.

The character — a sentient dog who was sent into space by the Soviet Union — was previously portrayed by dog actor Fred in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. She will also appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

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Additionally, wildly popular actor Kevin Bacon plays a fictionalized version of himself in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. If you recall, the award-winning actor is a hero to Star-Lord due to his star-making role in Footloose.

Since the team's leader appears to be down in the dumps, the rest of the Guardians approach Kevin in hopes that he will help make this Star-Lord's best Christmas ever. The veteran actor's wife, Kyra Sedgwick, briefly appears in a voice cameo.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special drops Friday, Nov. 25, on Disney Plus.

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