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James Gunn reveals when ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ takes place (sort of)

What year does 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special' take place?

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special writer-director James Gunn is revealing what year the TV movie takes place…well, kind of.

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The Disney Plus Marvel Special Presentation revolves around Pom Klementieff’s Mantis and David Bautista’s Drax teaming up to kidnap Kevin Bacon from Earth in order to present him as a Christmas gift for Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord in order to cheer him up.

Other than taking place around Christmas time, we don’t necessarily know for sure when in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline the 40-minute special takes place. When one fan asked if it takes place in either 2024 or 2025, Gunn replied on Twitter, “In my mind it’s 2022, so who knows.”

This is an interesting response because it likely isn’t canon to the MCU. We know this because the Snap brought on by Josh Brolin’s Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War caused half the population of the universe to turn into dust in 2018. All of those lost souls were then resurrected five years later, in 2023, thanks to the actions of the Avengers’ during the events of Avengers: Endgame.

So if the Holiday Special took place in 2022, some of the Guardians would have been deceased from the Thanos Snap, such as Mantis, Drax, and Vin Diesel’s Groot. But all of those aforementioned characters do appear in the special. This could mean that Gunn is being tongue-in-cheek with his response because he doesn’t want to give away any spoilers that the real timeline reveal could cause. Either that or Gunn simply hasn’t kept track because it’s someone else’s job at Marvel Studios to pinpoint the finer details of the MCU timeline.

We know that the Disney Plus Marvel show Hawkeye takes place in 2024 as does the recent film Thor: Love and Thunder, the latter of which actually featured the Guardians. In fact, Groot has made a considerable change to his physique since crossing paths with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. While he appeared to have a medium build in Love and Thunder, the tree-like creature now boasts a more muscular physique that has garnered him the nickname Swole Groot. It seems like all of this evidence is pointing to The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special taking place during the holiday season of 2024, at the earliest, if not sometime after that.

That being said, more information could come out that changes our estimate of when the special takes place. After all, the Guardians’ new cosmic headquarters in the special, Knowhere, is set in outer space. And traveling to and fro large distances in space is known to do wonky things with time. So even if the special was set during a certain year on Earth, it could be a totally different year for the portion of the story that takes place in a different galaxy entirely.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is now available to stream on Disney Plus.

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Danny Peterson
Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'