Similar to Marvel’s Werewolf by Night, the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will tell its own, one-off Disney+ adventure. But unlike Werewolf by Night, the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is set to help bridge the gap for viewers between the events of Avengers: Endgame and next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It doesn’t, in other words, promise to be quite as inconsequential to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Werewolf by Night.
Aside from the ramifications it may or may not have on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, though, the upcoming Disney+ special is already shaping up to be one of the more interesting Marvel titles of the year. It does, after all, promise to shine a light on two characters who have previously been relegated to the margins of the MCU.
A Drax and Mantis Adventure — The early promotional materials for the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, including its official poster, have all sold it as a one-off adventure that isn’t centered around Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) or even Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), but Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Indeed, the Disney+ special promises to follow Drax and Mantis as they journey to Earth in order to acquire the perfect Christmas gift for Star-Lord.
The gift in question is, in typically zany fashion, none other than Kevin Bacon himself. However, while Bacon’s meta role in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is certainly exciting, it’s not the most appealing thing about the Disney+ original. That honor, instead, goes to its increased focus on Drax and Mantis, two of the funniest and most charming characters in the entire MCU.
What’s even more exciting is that, assuming the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is received well by fans, it could very well mark the start of a fun new MCU trend.
More Side Adventures, Please — Critics have long bemoaned the fact that the MCU is too big for Marvel to truly give all of its characters their due. That fact has led to some frustration not only among MCU fans, but also among some of the franchise’s stars. Even Dave Bautista himself has noted in the past that he feels like Drax hasn’t ultimately been explored as deeply as he should have been by Marvel. Bautista isn’t the only one who feels that way, either.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will, hopefully, make up for some of the MCU’s past Drax mistakes. If the special works as well as it could, though, it also has the potential to inspire Marvel Studios to start producing more one-off Disney+ specials that, at the very least, give some of the MCU’s supporting heroes the chance to lead their own adventures on-screen.
The Inverse Analysis — Whether or not Marvel has any intention of producing more one-off Disney+ adventures like Werewolf by Night and the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special remains to be seen. The latter project does, however, prove that Marvel’s Disney+ specials don’t just have to bring new heroes and villains into the MCU. They can also be used to further explore some of the MCU’s already established characters, including those who haven’t been given the time in the sun that they truly deserve.
To put that another way: It’s the Disney+ originals like the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special that could help Marvel Studios actually manage the ever-increasing size of the MCU in a more active way than it has so far.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special premieres Friday, November 25 on Disney+.