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When does ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ take place in the MCU timeline?

Pinpointing its place is no piece of cake.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Photo via Marvel Studios

When we say that the current MCU timeline is massively chaotic, we are barely skimming the surface of how out-of-whack it is. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, all series and films have debuted with their own specific space in the timeline, ditching the need for a chronological sequence. This puts a big question mark on when exactly the upcoming The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special takes place in the MCU timeline.

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The Thor: Love and Thunder dilemma

thor love and thunder deleted scene
Image via Marvel Studios

It has been already confirmed that the Holiday Special takes place after Thor: Love and Thunder and before the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Pinpointing the exact year—or even the tentative timeline it takes place in—is a whole other story. 

You see, by its own design, Love and Thunder‘s place in the MCU timeline is still a mystery. Thor’s admission of the years and months that have gone by since he and Jane Foster broke up, how it is placed in Disney Plus’ placement of films and shows, as well as She-Hulk’s finale, makes it really hard to deduce when exactly the events of the film happen in the grand scheme of the MCU order. 

Where does that leave The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special?

Star-Lord, Mantis, Groot and Drax in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Image via Marvel Studios

So far, fan theories and deductions have placed Love and Thunder anywhere between 2024 and early 2026. Whatever year it happens in, the Holiday Special takes place after that. It is expected to fill in details about what the Guardians have been up to since the events of Endgame. We already know that they had been responding to calls for help across the universe and even joined forces with Thor, but what have they doing since they parted ways with the God of Thunder? Whether their intergalactic journeys included an ongoing search for Gamora or whether they were already aware of her whereabouts hopefully will be answered soon. 

While it will probably be too much to hope for, it could straighten up the wildly twisted MCU timeline a bit as well by spewing actual dates instead of vague clues. Maybe by the time its end credits start rolling, the timeline will regain its past orderly setup, thus allowing fans to have a better sense of how to navigate the MCU.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is set to be released on Disney Plus on Nov. 25. Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will open in theaters on May 5, 2023.