James Gunn Gets Top Billing on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

It's the most Gunn-derful time of the year! The festive Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which unwrapped its first trailer and poster on Tuesday, isn't just the second Marvel Studios Special Presentation after the Halloween-themed Werewolf by Night. It's also the first to be billed as a "James Gunn Special," highlighting the filmmaker who wrote and directed Marvel's first Disney+ holiday special and the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy that will conclude with the upcoming Vol. 3 in May 2023. (It's a nice parting gift for Gunn, who on Tuesday was appointed co-chairman and chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Discovery's DC Studios.)

Gunn also executive produces the special with Marvel Studios executives Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Brad Winderbaum, serving alongside executive producers Sara Smith (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) and Simon Hatt (DC's The Suicide Squad).

(Photo: Marvel Studios)

What Is the Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special About?

In Marvel Studios' Special Presentation: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, the Guardians, who are on a mission to make Christmas unforgettable for Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), head to Earth in search of the perfect present. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame but before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the GOTG Holiday Special sees Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) make their way through ho-ho-Hollywood to find the perfect gift: Footloose star Kevin Bacon (playing himself). 

Also appearing in the special are fellow Guardians Nebula (Karen Gillan), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper).

Guardians of the Galaxy's Kevin Bacon References

The new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer reunites Gunn with Bacon, who appeared in Gunn's 2010 superhero comedy Super

In 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, the Earth-born Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, tells the Zehoberei assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) about the legendary Footloose. "In it, a great hero named Kevin Bacon teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that dancing... it's the greatest thing there is," Quill explains. 

Footloose and Kevin Bacon are referenced again in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tells the Guardians he's one of the Avengers — a team of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. 

"Like Kevin Bacon?" the alien Mantis asks.
"He may be on the team," the Asgardian Thor answers. "I don't know. I haven't been there in a while."

Later, when Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) land on Titan with the Guardians, Drax mentions "the dance-off to save the universe." 

"Like in Footloose, the movie?" a puzzled Peter Parker asks.
"Exactly like Footloose," Quill responds. "Is it still the greatest movie in history?"
Parker fires back: "It never was."

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Release Date

Marvel's The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is streaming November 25th only on Disney+. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — which introduces Marvel Cinematic Universe newcomers Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary and Will Poulter as the cosmic Adam Warlock — opens only in theaters on May 5th, 2023.