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Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special - the endings, the credits, and more explained

How to better understand Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and appreciate what's coming next

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is available now on Disney+, giving people their first major holiday special to watch in the 2022 holiday season. Writer/director James Gunn does an excellent send-up to holiday specials of yore, complete with some misty eyes, family revelations, merchandise, and even some animation.

As you settle down to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special - or just want to cut to the chase and find out what it's all about - Popverse has answered the big questions you might have for the one-off special.

Spoilers ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

What is up with that Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special ending?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special had two endings - a group ending with Kevin Bacon performing a song with the alien band (played by the real-life band the Old 97s) to a crowd made up of the Guardians of the Galaxy and various inhabitants/visitors to Knowhere. Along the way, there was gift-giving among the various members of the Guardians.

A second, more personal ending had Mantis meekly reveal to Peter Quill that they are related - that Ego was her father (by a different mother), making Peter her half-brother. While she was initially concerned he would be disappointed by the news, Peter called it the best gift they could have and then they embraced in a hug.

Are Peter Quill/Starlord and Mantis related?

In Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, it's revealed that Mantis and Peter Quill (AKA) Star-Lord are siblings - sharing a biological father in Ego.

Ego and Mantis were introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and while Ego's parentage of Starlord was announced even before the movie's release, Mantis' bloodline wasn't announced (or even teased) prior to Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

The familial relationship between Star-Lord and Mantis is new territory, even for comics. In comics, Peter Quill has a half-siter named Victoria, but different parents; Peter Quill's biological father in comics is an alien emperor named J'son, and his mother is Meredith Quill (as seen in the MCU). Mantis' lineage in comics is quite different - besides the fact that she's human there, she has no known siblings.

It's easy to forget however that in the MCU, the fact that Peter Quill has siblings was widely known - it was a key point in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that Ego sired many children with various people across the universe - however they weren't ever identified.

This revelation should be a major factor in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, especially when you consider since the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 he's lost his father Yondu, his biological father Ego, and his romantic partner/friend Gamora. And for Mantis, she now has someone she can be close with after her world was upended following the defeat of Ego.

>How many post-credits scenes does Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special have?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special has one end-credits scene

Can you explain the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special end-credits?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special ended with a short scene of Rocket and Cosmo decorating the Young Adult Groot with holiday lights, as if he was a Christmas tree. While Groot stood stoicly for the decorations for a time, he ultimately lowered his hands - ruining all of Rocket and Cosmo's work.

After that, Rocket broke the fourth wall and lamented this would be a good reason to do another holiday special.

Who is thanked in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special credits?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Like all Marvel Studios projects, various comic creators are thanked for their creation/development of some characters that originated from comics. Here's who is credited in Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special:

  • Drax created by Jim Starlin
  • Groot created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby
  • Mantis created by Steve Englehart and Don Heck
  • Nebula created yb Roger Stern, John Buscea, and Sal Buscea
  • Rocket Raccoon created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen
  • Star-Lord created by Steve ENglehart and Steve Gan
  • With Special Thanks to Dan Abnett, Wellinton Alves, Gene Colan, Marko Djurdjevic, Arnold Drake, Mike Friedrich, Timothy Green II, Andy Lanning, Paul Pellejer

First off, we should note the glaring error: Paul Pellejer should actually be Paul Pelletier, famed comic creator who drew the modern-day version of the Guardians team for the first time.

How do I watch Guardians of the Galaxy in order?

While Guardians of the Galaxy are interwoven in the fabric of the MCU, if you're looking for a watch order of just this team we have that for you.

  1. Thor: The Dark World (post-credits scene)
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  4. Avengers: Infinity War
  5. Avengers: Endgame
  6. Thor: Love and Thunder
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

What is the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special release date?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special debuted on Disney+ the morning of November 25, 2022. Marvel Studios hasn't announced any plans to air it outside of the subscription service, leaving some such as in territories without Disney+ like Russia, Asia, and most of Africa, in the dark.

How to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is exclusive to Disney+ and its partner services such as Hotstar.

Who is the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special cast?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Who is in Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special? Most all of your favorites from the first two films - but with one notable exception. Zoe Saldaña, who plays Gamora, doesn't make an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special - although she was on set, as they filmed this during filming for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (which she is confirmed to be in).

One surprise that Marvel spoiled before Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special came out was that Michael Rooker would be reprising his role as Yondu, despite dying in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Kevin Bacon appears as a fictionalized version of himself, with his real-life wife Kyra Sedgwick making a true surprise cameo (by phone) as his wife.

Other MCU debuts in Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special are Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Space Dog (after previously appearing but without speaking lines in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Flula Borg as a bartender on Earth, Rusty Schwimmer as a tourst shop owner named Sara, and lastly - Mar Hamill as a drunk on Guardians of the Galaxy's new base, Knowhere.

How can I get the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Funko Pop?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Funko

Funko announced Pops for Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special months before its release, but in early November they revealed a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Funko Pop 5-pack that includes one new, exclusive figure.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Funko Pop 5-Pack includes the individually available Funko Pops for Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, and Groot in Holiday-themed atire, but also is a new one for Rocket Raccoon.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Funko Pop 5-Pack is a Amazon.com exclusive, and is available now for $59.99

Is Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?

Of course Groot is in Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

And you'll also see a more-grown version of the tree-like lifeform, as he's a young adult now - beyond the toddler we saw him as in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the teenager in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

We expect this YA Groot to carry over into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

And not for nothing, the new YA Groot seems designed in such a way he could easily be adapted to be a character at the Disney Parks.

What is the length of the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The runtime of the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is 44 minutes - that includes the credits, and one post-credits scene.

It is noticably shorter than the first Marvel Studios Special Presentation (Werewolf by Night), but you can't help but notice that a 44-minute runtime would make it an easy fit should Disney want to broadcast the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (and sell commercials) on its TV channels such as ABC, Freeform, and FX.

Will there be a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special sequel?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image credit: Marvel Studios

While nothing has been officially announced, the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special did in a way tease the idea of them wanting to do a new one. Not necessarily 'them' as in Marvel Studios and James Gunn, but at least Rocket wants to do another one.

That could be hampered by the fact that Gunn says his DC Studios co-CEO job will formally begin in May once Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 comes out, and he might be a little busy.


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About the Author
Chris Arrant avatar

Chris Arrant

Editor-in-Chief

Chris Arrant is the Popverse's Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel, Newsarama, CBR, and more. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)

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