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Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is set before Vol 3

James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, has set the record straight on when the two upcoming MCU projects happen in the timeline

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, and Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy

Putting the Marvel movies in order is not an easy task. Half of them only indirectly reference the other, leading to some guesswork about what happens and when. Mercifully, James Gunn has already cleared up the timeline on his upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy projects.

Responding to a fan on Twitter, as Gunn is often want to do, he answered a query on the other of his science fiction movies. The Guardians appear in Thor: Love and Thunder, so between that, Vol 3, and the Holiday Special, what’s the running order? “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special comes between Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3,” Gunn states, adding there’ll be “new stories and characters connected to the Guardians universe.”

There, nice and simple! The upcoming Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi, will carry on from Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, with Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder still travelling with the Guardians. However, as yet Hemsworth hasn’t been tied to either the Holiday Special or Vol 3, so their paths are likely to diverge again sooner rather than later.

That leaves James Gunn’s action movies to go their own way with our merry band of space Avengers. Will Poulter is confirmed to be a part of Vol 3, as Adam Warlock, a cosmic entity that’s sent after the Guardians.

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper star are all reprising their roles in both films. We don’t know a huge amount about the Holiday Special yet, other than it’s expected on Disney Plus December 2022.

This also means the timeline matches the release order, which makes it all the more convenient. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will bow into theatres May 5, 2023.