Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
With the release of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney Plus today, the MCU’s Phase Four has officially come to an end. And, in wrapping up this chunk of the never-ending franchise, the festive standalone may have just confirmed that the last Marvel outing to hit streaming has left an indelible mark on the MCU that will continue to be felt going forward. Spoilers incoming…
If you stuck around until the end of the credits — and, considering this is a Marvel Studios production, you really should’ve done — you’ll have witnessed a short but fun tag scene in which Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Cosmo (Maria Bakalova) decorate Groot (Vin Diesel) like a Christmas tree… until he ruins it by shaking the tinsel and baubles off him. “Now we gotta have another special,” Rocket responds, before looking right at the camera.
Naturally, the first thought this sequence leaves us with is that we might be getting another Holiday Special next festive season too. On reflection, though, Rocket’s wink at the audience is much more significant than it at first appears. Why is that? Because this is the first time outside of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law that the MCU has directly broken the fourth wall in this way. So it seems that Jen Walters’ meta antics in her recent series may have changed the rules of the franchise going forward.
With Deadpool 3 around the corner, it’s very likely that the fourth wall is about to get even thinner as we head into Phase Five. While Tatiana Maslany’s lawyer and Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson will most probably remain the two primary characters to talk to the audience, the Holiday Special‘s post-credits scene makes clear that anyone in the MCU is now capable of crossing that line as well. We’ll leave that up to the fans to decide if that’s a good thing or not.