Warning: this article contains full spoilers for The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out ‘s review of the special.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever may have been the final movie in the MCU’s Phase 4, but those lovable A-holes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy just had to get the last word in. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special catches up with Star-Lord and his team and adds Kevin Bacon to the list of the MCU’s mightiest heroes.
While hardly the most plot-heavy MCU project to come along in Phase 4, the Guardians Holiday Special does reveal some important details about the team’s status quo and what’s coming next as they return to the big screen in 2023. Even James Gunn himself insists this special is required viewing before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Let’s break down the five most important reveals.
Star-Lord Has a Sister
Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord is a pretty tragic guy beneath that goofy exterior. He lost his mother at an early age and was raised by space pirates. No sooner did he meet his long-lost father than he discovered Ego was a Celestial hellbent on remaking the universe in his own image. The only family Star-Lord has left is the one he’s built for himself. So it seems only fitting that we learn Peter, like Luke Skywalker before him, had a sister who’s been hiding in plain sight all along.
The reveal that Mantis is also Ego’s child may be a major departure from the comics, but it helps fill in some of the major gaps in her MCU back-story. It explains how she ended up as Ego’s servant, and why he felt compelled to keep her around in the first place. We can infer that, while Mantis wasn’t quite the perfect child Ego had been seeking for all those years, she was powerful enough that Ego didn’t simply want to kill her like all his other abandoned children.
It remains to be seen how much this revelation will factor into the plot of Guardians Vol. 3. But whatever’s coming next, it’s nice to know two of our favorite Guardians have an extra reason to be thankful this holiday season.
Groot Is Almost Grown Up (Again)
It goes without saying that no MCU character has changed more physically over these last 14 years than Groot. He was a full-grown adult in the first Guardians movie, then resurrected as a sapling, then became Baby Groot, then evolved into a moody teenager. Groot isn’t quite back to his full, adult size in the Holiday Special, but he’s getting close.
Does this mean Groot will be back in adult form in Guardians Vol. 3? It’s certainly looking that way. We’ll have to see if he picked up any new abilities along the way. For all we know, Groot will follow the example of his comic book counterpart and finally start speaking in full, intelligible sentences.
The Guardians Have Taken Over Knowhere
MCU fans were first introduced to the space station Knowhere back in the first Guardians movie. This decapitated Celestial head has become a major intergalactic hub, and at one point also served as the home of The Collector’s massive stash. But thanks to Thanos’ attack in Avengers: Infinity War, Knowhere has definitely seen better days.
The Holiday Special reveals two important details about Knowhere in this post-Blip landscape. One, we now have confirmation that The Collector is still alive and wasn’t killed by Thanos (something actor Benicio Del Toro always insisted but was never overtly confirmed). Two, it seems Tivan sold Knowhere to the Guardians rather than try to rebuild his prized collection room. Where the Guardians got the money for such a massive real estate purchase is anyone’s guess. Apparently being three-time galaxy savers is good for the old bank account.
We can definitely expect Knowhere to appear again in the next movie, which hopefully also means a lot more scenes featuring Maria Bakalova’s Cosmo.
The GoBots May Exist in the MCU
Apparently, Drax is carrying a lot of grudges regarding murdered family members. Not only did Thanos slaughter Drax’s wife and child, now we’ve learned that his cousin was killed by a GoBot. This is a random plot point with some potentially major ramifications for the MCU.
Drax’s violent run-in with the cosplayer in the GoBot costume suggests that these Transformers-esque alien robots actually exist in the MCU. That’s an unexpected twist, given that the GoBots don’t even exist in Marvel’s comic book universe. Marvel may have once published Transformers comics, but they’ve never held the GoBots license at all.
This cameo may just be a case of James Gunn paying nostalgic tribute to a beloved ’80s franchise. But we can’t help but wonder if there’s more going on here. Is this a tease for a larger collaboration between Marvel and Hasbro? Given all the trouble Hasbro has faced in trying to build a cinematic universe around their toy properties, will they turn to Marvel for assistance instead? With any luck, maybe we’ll see the GoBots and ROM the Space Knight joining the MCU in Phase 7.
Gamora Is Still Missing
The Holiday Special doesn’t address the loose end from Avengers: Endgame regarding Gamora, but her absence does confirm that Star-Lord and the gang have yet to track her down. The Gamora we know died at her father’s hand in Infinity War, but the time-displaced 2014 version is still out there somewhere. Her absence is a major reason why Peter Quill is looking so glum.
We can safely assume that the search for Gamora will be a major part of the plot in Guardians Vol. 3, especially since that sequel is shaping up to be the last to feature this current lineup. Even as the team meets Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock and clashes with Chukwudi Iwuji’s High Evolutionary, they’ll also work to bring Gamora home and help her realize she still has a family that cares for her. Like the 2012 version of Loki, Gamora will have to undergo a crash course to catch up on all those years she missed. Along the way, we’ll hopefully learn what she’s been up to since her disappearance in Endgame.
What did you think about these latest MCU plot twists? Are the GoBots really joining the MCU? Let us know what you think in the comments below. And for more on the future of the MCU, brush up on the history of Jonathan Majors’ villain Kang the Conqueror and why Secret Wars could easily dwarf even Avengers: Endgame in sheer scope.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for . Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.