Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is MCU Phase 4 “epilogue”

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is set to be part of Phase 5 of the MCU, but it was unclear where the Holiday Special belonged in the line-up

With Phase 4 of the MCU wrapping up in the near future, James Gunn has clarified where the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special fits into the wider scheme of Marvel movies and TV series.

During San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel announced its full slate of Phase 5 and Phase 6 Marvel series and adventure movies. From the announcement, we know that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is designed to be part of Phase 5, but there was no mention of where the Holiday Special, which is set to be released in December on Disney Plus, fit into this line-up. This led to a fan asking Gunn, director of the Guardians movies and Holiday Special, to clarify.

“I’m confused,” the Twitter user wrote. “If Guardians of the Galaxy: the Holiday Special is releasing after Black Panther Wakanda Forever which is said to end phase 4, and before Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania which is said to start phase 5, then which phase does it belong in? Phase 4.5?”

Responding to the fan on Twitter, Gunn wrote, “The Guardians Holiday Special is the epilogue of Phase 4.” He also confirmed that the events in the Holiday Special were canon to the wider MCU, although he admitted he didn’t realise Guardians 3 was set to be part of Phase 5 until it was announced at San Diego Comic Con.

Although Gunn previously said that the Holiday Special won’t have “every character,” it seems likely that the one-off special will at least see the return of those seen travelling with Thor at the start of Love and Thunder, which includes Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Nebula, (Karen Gillan) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

If you can’t wait until the holiday special for more space adventures, check out our guide to the best sci-fi series!