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Film / The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

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Spoilers for all Marvel Cinematic Universe works preceding this one, particularly Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
Out on the third planet closest to the sun,
There's a special celebration and it sounds quite fun!
A jolly old fellow brings toys to everyone,
On a holiday they call Christmas!
Now I'm not gonna lie, it makes no sense to me,
But here's what Earthlings told me about this Christmas mystery...

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a superhero Christmas Special set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — the second "Special Presentation" and 40th overall installment in the franchise, as well as the 17th and final installment of Phase 4. It also happens to be the third installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and is once again written and directed by James Gunn. Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel all reprise their roles, with Maria Bakalova also joining the cast as the voice of Cosmo the Dog.

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter "Star-Lord" Quill continues to mourn the loss of Gamora. With Christmas fast approaching, his teammate Mantis comes up with a plan to raise his spirits: travel with Drax to Earth to get him an extra special Christmas gift in the form of the legendary Kevin Bacon.

The special premiered on Disney+ on November 25, 2022. It also serves to set up some plot elements for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which it was filmed simultaneously with.

Previews: Trailer

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to C 
  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: The alien that sings the Christmas song in the opening can spin his forearms 360 degrees to play guitar, which Peter admits is pretty awesome.
  • Aborted Arc: In Thor: Love and Thunder, the Guardians had exited the film early on to investigate some of the areas where Gorr the God Butcher had slaughtered some gods. None of that is brought up or referenced here.
  • Accidental Tickle Torture: Drax is Immune to Bullets, so when police officers open fire on him, he bursts into hysterics, as the bullets merely tickle him.
  • Actor/Role Confusion: Mantis and Drax think that Kevin Bacon is an actual legendary Earth hero who has gone on many adventures and saved a small town by dancing. They're absolutely disgusted to learn that Kevin is actually just an actor, because they hate actors. Hilariously, they assume that Peter's long time away from Earth spoiled his memory, and Mantis uses her powers to compel Kevin Bacon into acting like a more heroic version of himself; Peter, who is perfectly aware that Kevin Bacon is just an actor, makes her undo it as soon as they present him with his present.
  • Alien Abduction: Played for laughs with the aliens Drax and Mantis kidnapping the Earther Kevin Bacon as a Christmas gift for Peter Quill.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: The inhabitants of Knowhere and especially the Guardians of the Galaxy, namely Drax and Mantis, are not only able to enjoy an Earth festival but also understand its significance thanks to stories that Peter told Kraglin who told Rocket who told the others.
  • And Introducing: Kevin Bacon is credited this way as a joke.
  • And Starring: Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper get their standard "featuring" spots. In addition, we have "With Michael Rooker / and introducing Kevin Bacon".
  • The Anti-Grinch: Worried about Christmas potentially being ruined for Peter by Yondu, Drax and Mantis go to Earth to get Kevin Bacon, believing him to be somebody Peter would want more than anything. This act almost completely ruins the holiday with Peter shouting they committed human trafficking. Fortunately, Kevin was nice enough to stick around and fix everything.
  • Ascended Extra: Cosmo, previously a cameo in the original film, appears among the main cast.
  • As Himself: Kevin Bacon appears as himself, the famous Hollywood actor. His wife Kyra Sedgwick makes a voice-over cameo on a couple of phone calls to her husband.
  • As You Know: Nebula has an exposition dump at the beginning where she explains that Peter has been stressed out ever since they bought Knowhere, which Kraglin knows already but the audience doesn't.
  • Beard of Sorrow: To better reflect Peter's depressed state, his facial hair is at the most haggard it's ever been.
  • Berserk Button: After assuring Kevin Bacon that the denizens of Knowhere aren't going to hurt him, Rocket lunges at Bacon for calling him a raccoon.
  • Big Brother Instinct: It's Kraglin who points out that Christmas is an Earth holiday, which might be why Peter is feeling down. It's shown that Peter often talked about Earth culture whilst among the Ravagers. Yondu shot down any chance of celebrating Christmas, but changes his mind upon discovering what Peter gave him.
  • Binge Montage: A brief one when Drax and Mantis start spending all their newly earned Earth money at a bar.
  • Black Comedy:
    • A woman on the street starts weeping in terror at the sight of the Bowie, clearly recalling past alien invasions, which is Played for Laughs.
    • The main plot is Mantis and Drax kidnapping Kevin Bacon as a present for Peter, all while he's understandably terrified out of his wits.
    • The Guardians present Kevin Bacon to Peter in a large, lovely box... that doesn't have airholes. Peter is clearly horrified when the box starts moving and Bacon talks about running out of air.
    • When Kevin Bacon (understandably) flees from the Guardians after his trance is lifted, Peter has the other Guardians go after him. Nebula draws a gun before she does.
      Nebula: You can't outrun me, Bacon!
  • Blatant Lies: Upon seeing people on Earth gaping at them, Mantis asks if Drax turned on the cloaking device. He says yes... and then inches towards the button to turn on the cloaking device.
  • Bookends: Kraglin is the one who explains how Yondu was a Grinch towards Christmas to the Guardians, and is the one to explain to Kevin Bacon how Peter saw him as a hero.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After Groot ruins all the decorations he was covered with in The Stinger, Rocket looks directly at the camera and says they're gonna have to have another Christmas special now.
  • Breaking Old Trends: This marks the first MCU project without a real antagonist, as the focus of the plot is simply trying to lift a despondent Peter Quill's spirits.
  • Breather Episode: Serves as one for the Guardians installments, as it takes place between the epic Crisis Crossover Avengers films and the darker, emotionally intense Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, being a light-hearted, irreverent Christmas-y romp.
  • Brick Joke: Rocket's gift from Nebula is Bucky's arm.
  • The Bus Came Back: Cosmo was last seen escaping her captivity of the Collector in The Stinger of the first Guardians movie and makes her return here — speaking for the first time in the MCU and revealing her telekinetic powers.
  • Call-Back:
    • Drax and Mantis travel to Earth to get Kevin Bacon to surprise Peter Quill. This is a reference to the first movie where Peter described Bacon as a mighty warrior who fought against a town that outlawed dancing.
    • Nebula gifts Rocket Bucky's vibranium arm, something he expressed a desire for when the two met in Avengers: Infinity War.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Drax and Mantis act like this towards Kevin Bacon... to begin with. They do know what actors are, they just didn't realize that he was one. When they learn the truth, they are not amused.
  • Casting Gag: In the Japanese dub, this is not the first time Aoi Yūki (Cosmo) had dubbed a female dog before.
  • Casual High Drop: Downplayed. Mantis and Drax casually jump from the first floor of Kevin Bacon's mansion and land on their feet with no problem. When Kevin Bacon attempts the same thing moments earlier, he lands on his back and hurts himself.
  • Cheer Up Episode: The entire reason why this whole special even happens? To lift Peter's spirits up, as he is still saddened over Gamora's death.
  • Christmas Episode: The third Christmas episode in the MCU and the first to primarily focus on the holiday, following Iron Man 3, which was set around Christmastime purely incidentally, and Hawkeye, which took place during the holiday season for atmospheric purposes.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The police officers who try to stop Drax and Mantis from kidnapping Kevin Bacon are subdued with ridiculous ease; Drax is Immune to Bullets, Mantis physically and empathically puts them to sleep, and Drax upends a police car (the two officers inside wisely not pressing the issue when Mantis apologizes).

    Tropes D to I 
  • Dark Secret: Mantis' motivation in giving Peter a Christmas to cheer him up is because she knows something he doesn't: her father was also Ego, making her Peter's half-sister. Ego only kept her alive because of her abilities. Subverted in the end: When Peter finds out about their relationship, he tells Mantis that getting a sister for Christmas is the best present he could get.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The special mostly focuses on Drax and Mantis heading to Earth for Peter Quill's Christmas gift, with Mantis the one leading the charge since she wants to gift Kevin Bacon to Peter as a way to cheer him up (while hiding the fact that she's secretly his sister).
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: No one except Quill finds anything wrong with kidnapping someone as a gift.
  • Demoted to Extra: All of The Guardians not named Drax and Mantis only appear in the beginning and end of the special.
  • The Dreaded Toilet Duty: Yondu threatens Peter and Kraglin with this in order to get them to remove the Christmas decorations they've set up. Kraglin complains that latrine duty is Gef's favorite job.
  • Droste Image: Groot gifts the other Guardians with dioramas from the events of the special. One is Kraglin holding a diorama of himself holding a diorama of himself holding a diorama of himself, which he finds to be hilarious.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Peter is seen dejectedly drinking in an empty bar, mourning the loss of Gamora and having no one to spend Christmas with, not to mention trying to explain Christmas to everyone didn't go through very well.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: After hearing Kraglin tell the story of how Yondu cruelly shot down Peter's Christmas spirit, Drax bursts out laughing. Mantis and even Nebula give him a look that his reaction is inappropriate.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: After hearing the story of Christmas from Kraglin, Mantis brings up the suggestion that a Christmas gift will be the thing to cheer Peter up. Then Drax decides not something, but someone.
  • Eye Take: Peter has a horrified one when the band's song suggests Mrs. Claus is a pole dancer.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Despite her aloofness and distaste for the holiday, even Nebula thinks that Drax laughing at Kraglin's sad story about Yondu wrecking Christmas was very tasteless, and she shakes her head at him with disgust.
    • While they're kidnapping Kevin Bacon, Mantis tries not to hurt the police officers who intervene, simply putting them to sleep with her powers. When Drax upends a car, Mantis calls him out for it, checks to make sure the officers are all right, and gives them the decorative candy cane she stole from Bacon's house to apologize.
    • While Peter is awestruck at how Knowhere has been decorated for Christmas all for him, he's utterly horrified when he realizes that not only did Mantis and Drax "gift" him Kevin Bacon, but that Mantis used her powers on him to manipulate his emotions. Peter rightfully calls them out for this and tells them what they did was human trafficking.
  • Fantastic Racism: Drax harasses and later assaults a man dressed up as Cy-Kill because "GoBots killed his cousin". Mantis even tells him to not be so prejudiced.
  • First-Name Basis: After saving the universe together, it seems the Guardians are this now with the Avengers. Mantis joyfully screams "STEVE!" while mistakenly hugging a Captain America cosplayer, and Rocket refers to his present as "Bucky's arm".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • During Drax and Mantis' travel in Hollywood, there's a sign showing Kingo in the background.
    • After being gifted with Bucky's arm, you can see a Single Tear streaming down Rocket's face right before the camera cuts away.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: Played for Laughs. Drax accidentally loses the inflatable elf he stole from Kevin Bacon's front lawn. He has to choose between retrieving the elf and getting the escaping Kevin for Peter. He chooses the elf, until Mantis snaps at him.
  • Furry Reminder: Cosmo is an intelligent being, but she's still a dog; she works for dog treats, and her Christmas gift to Kraglin is a dead Orloni.
  • Gender Flip: Cosmo the Space-Dog is revealed to be a female in the special.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: During the Christmas present exchange, Cosmo gives Kraglin a dead Orloni with a bow around its neck and is clearly pleased with herself. Kraglin is disgusted, but gives Cosmo some head-pets and ear-scratches anyway.
  • The Glomp: Mistaking a Captain America cosplayer for the real deal, Mantis squeals a joyful "STEVE!" and leaps onto him with a giant hug.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Mantis admonishes Drax for trying to take one of Kevin Bacon's stuffed inflatables despite having already stolen cash and a tour map from a lady moments earlier. She joins in stealing a large candy cane immediately afterward.
    • Rocket wants to be reassuring toward Kevin Bacon, telling him that nobody is going to hurt him. A couple seconds later, after being called a "raccoon", Rocket lunges at Kevin while screaming he'll kill him. (Luckily, Groot catches him.)
  • I Got Bigger: Groot has gone through a massive growth spurt in between Thor: Love and Thunder and this special, having gotten bigger and burlier like a football player.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction:
    • Drax grabs a lawn elf from Kevin Bacon's yard, and Mantis reprimands him for stealing...only to take a giant candy cane for herself immediately after.
    • After Peter tells Mantis to remove the brainwashing on a (justifiably panicking) Kevin Bacon, Rocket states that they won't hurt him. After Kevin calls him a talking raccoon, Rocket reacts indignantly (Groot has to stop him from clawing Kevin's eyes out)...while talking to him.
      Rocket: Dude, calm down. We're not gonna hurt you.
      Kevin Bacon: ...that's a talking raccoon.
  • Immune to Bullets: When police officers shoot at Drax, he starts laughing at each and every bullet that hits him as if they're tickling him.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Par for the course regarding the traditional ugly Christmas sweater, with the one Drax sports having a cat with laser eyes.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Mantis uses a candy cane front yard decoration as a weapon against the cops.
  • In a Single Bound: Drax is able to leap over Kevin Bacon's front gate after flinging Mantis over the top. Later, both Drax and Mantis leap over the walls of backyards to keep pace with Bacon as he flees from them.
  • Inferred Survival: Nebula casually mentions that the Guardians bought Knowhere from the Collector, implying that he did not die in Thanos's raid on the station in Infinity War.
  • Instant Expert: The band whom Peter hires for the Christmas party somehow knows how to play Earth instruments despite finding them recently. Peter himself lampshades this.
  • Internal Homage: Various cosplayers as MCU heroes appear, including an Ant-Man, a Black Widow, a (hapless) Captain America, and a Captain Marvel.
  • Internal Reveal: At the beginning of the special, the audience is given The Reveal of a secret which Mantis has always known and has at some point (perhaps canonizing a deleted scene in Guardians 2) confided in Drax — that Peter Quill's father, Ego the Living Planet, is also her own father. She has kept it from him all these years due to fearing it would cause him to resent her, but at the end of the special, with visible emotional pain, she works up the courage to reveal it to him.
  • Irony: The song that plays as Kevin Bacon flees from Mantis is "I Want an Alien for Christmas" by Fountains of Wayne. Something Kevin does not want at all.

    Tropes L to R 
  • Let's See YOU Do Better!: Cosmo's answer to Rocket when he derides her for her limited telekinesis.
  • Lighter and Softer: While definitely as emotional as the previous films, the stakes are lowered from "save the universe" to "help a sad friend", and there is no deadly villain this time around. Humorously, the previous Marvel special, released around six weeks prior, can somewhat also be described as helping a friend who's in trouble, though the stakes are higher there.
  • Logo Joke: This time around, the comic book pages at the start of the Marvel Studios logo are of Christmas issues, snow is superimposed over every thing, and the logo itself is wrapped in Christmas lights.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Mantis is revealed to be another one of Ego's children and is thus Peter's half-sister.
  • Medium Blending: The flashbacks use hand-drawn animation.
  • Mistaken Identity: A family takes selfies with Drax and Mantis, mistaking Drax as Kratos. Prior to that, Mantis hugs a cosplayer who is dressed as Captain America and calls them "Steve". Drax also assumes a cosplayer as a GoBot is real.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: During previous movies, Mantis could only read and alter emotions, which was only really used to lull Ego and later Drax and Thanos into a Forced Sleep. Here, she displays full-on Emotion Control, which lets her compel a store owner into giving her a map and all her money, and puts Kevin Bacon into a trance that makes him totally calm and compliant.
  • Nice Guy: Kevin Bacon, though understandably freaked out by an alien environment and being kidnapped, decides to stick around when Kraglin tells him just how much his movies meant to Peter. By the end of the night, Bacon is cheerfully expecting to see the Guardians again at Easter.
  • No Antagonist: In an MCU first, there is no villain to defeat. The Guardians are simply trying to give Peter Quill a merry Christmas. The closest things to villains are Drax and Mantis abducting Kevin Bacon and casually stealing his lawn decorations, and even then they have no idea that anything they are doing is at all wrong.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • According to Drax, Mantis once ate an entire bag of Zargnuts when she wasn't supposed to. She's not happy to be reminded about it.
    • According to Mantis, Drax's cousin was killed by, of all things, a GoBot.
    • Later on in the special, Nebula gifts Rocket with Bucky's Vibranium arm without so much as an explanation as to how she managed to get it from him. Rocket himself is visibly confused.
  • Obliviously Evil: Mantis and Drax just thought they were giving Peter a special gift by kidnapping Kevin Bacon. Peter has to spell it out for Mantis that what she and Drax did is considered human trafficking.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Nebula comments that the Guardians bought Knowhere from the Collector. This also means that the Collector somehow survived Thanos' attack.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Kevin Bacon is clearly scared out of his wits the entire time Mantis and Drax are chasing him. When his trance is lifted on Knowhere, he again freaks out.
    • Peter is visibly horrified to realize that the "gift" he's getting from the other Guardians is a person.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Apparently Mantis ate an entire stash of Zargnuts, and she gets really testy when Drax reminds her.
    Drax: Maybe we can gift him [Quill] the zargnuts... but you ate them all!
  • Once More, with Clarity: Kraglin explains the tale of how Peter once tried to celebrate Christmas with the Ravagers, only for Yondu to barge in and tell him to tear down the tree and presents. Peter later tells Mantis what happened after, realising Kraglin didn't know the full story. Yondu found a gift in the trash, a figurine. In return, Yondu would gift Peter his dual blasters.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: Only Groot is happily dancing to the opening number.
  • Only Sane Man: Peter is the only one out of the Guardians to point out that kidnapping Kevin Bacon, even as a well-meaning gift, was a bad thing.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: A minor case, but it says something that Drax really wants to make Peter happy if he's wearing a Christmas sweater.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Kraglin's perfectly happy to help the young Peter celebrate Christmas, until Yondu orders they stop.
    • Once Kraglin explains why Drax and Mantis abducted him, and the significance his movies held for Peter growing up, Kevin Bacon is happy to help the Guardians celebrate Christmas.
    • As Peter explains to Mantis, Yondu would ease up on Peter upon opening his present, gifting the future Star-Lord his dual blasters in return.
    • Done literally when Cosmo brings Kraglin a dead Orloni as a present, with a bow and everything. Despite being disgusted, Kraglin gives her some scratches.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Mantis is revealed to be Ego's biological daughter and Peter's half-sister.
  • The Reveal: A small, but important tidbit is given to us in this episode: Mantis is actually one of Ego's children, thus making her Peter's half-sister. When Mantis tells him this at the end of the special, Peter's absolutely overjoyed.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It is never revealed how Nebula got Bucky's mechanical arm in the first place.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Upon realizing that Kevin Bacon is merely an actor and didn't actually go on any of the adventures Peter frequently talked about while with the Guardians, Mantis becomes terrified that Peter is going to hate her gift for him due to Kevin not acting like how he perceives him to be in the movies. When he does receive his gift, Peter indeed expresses dissatisfaction with it... because said "gift" is a victim of human trafficking across time and space, not because he's an actor.
  • Rotoscoping: The animated sequences detailing Peter's Christmas with the Ravagers emulate this style, with the works of Ralph Bakshi cited as an influence.
  • Rule of Funny: Mantis needs to be tossed over Kevin Bacon's front gate by Drax because it's funny. Only a scene later, she's shown leaping over equally high walls along with Drax to keep pace with the fleeing Bacon because that's funny.
  • Rule of Symbolism: After Peter is pissed off at Mantis and Drax kidnapping Kevin Bacon, we cut to a inflatable Santa drooping. Peter's spirits have been deflated.

    Tropes S to W 
  • Sadly Mythtaken: In-universe. The alien band completely mangles Earth's Christmas traditions and stories.
  • Santa Clausmas: The version of Christmas Peter Quill told his friends doesn't seem to include Jesus's birth at all, and it's not referenced aside from Mantis and Drax glancing at a Nativity scene. Justified, because Peter left Earth as a young child and probably wasn't from a super religious family, so secular Santa Claus stuff would have stuck out more.
  • Saving Christmas: Subverted; Christmas isn't in danger, but Mantis sees it in this light when she sees Peter depressed and will do all she can to make him happy again. At the end of the special however, Kevin Bacon does just that, at least for Peter and many of the denizens of Knowhere. Whether he wanted to or not.
  • Secret-Keeper: Drax is the only one who knows that Mantis is Peter's sister and that she ate all of the Guardians' zargnuts.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Mantis wants to avoid the elephant in the room about admitting that she's Peter's sister because it's a reminder of what Ego did. But by kidnapping Kevin Bacon, she's doing just that, as Peter is quick to tell her that she's not gifting him a famous childhood hero, but committing human trafficking.
  • Serious Business:
    • Mantis will get Kevin Bacon for Quill so she can save Christmas, and nothing will stop her!
    • Mantis eating all the Zargnuts is this for Drax, who thinks it's the secret she's extremely anxious about and constantly brings it up. Mantis implies that he's the only one who actually cares about it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The animation starting the show resembles a certain short from that other Holiday Special. Not to mention the inserted musical performances...
    • The opening credits are done in the style of the The Santa Clause.
    • The first song from the alien band features a mention of an elf who wants to be a dentist instead of doing Santa's bidding. (Apparently, Santa killed him in this Entertainingly Wrong recounting of those events. This itself may be a reference to a parody of Rudolph from Robot Chicken.)
    • The cosplayers in Hollywood are dressed up like Captain Jack Sparrow, Cy-Kill, and Zorro.
    • One of the tourists who takes photos with Drax and Mantis assumes Drax is cosplaying Kratos from God of War.
    • One scene features Kevin Bacon watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
    • The leitmotif during the scene when Mantis and Drax are chasing Kevin Bacon through the streets of LA sounds a lot like Danny Elfman's "Christmas Eve Montage" from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
    • Several characters ask Kevin Bacon questions about pop culture, including events from several films he appeared in (believing that he actually did them himself).
      • Mantis and Drax ask Bacon if he's friends with the Fonz; Bacon corrects them by saying that he is friends with the Fonz's actor Henry Winkler.
      • Drax and Kraglin separately talk about the time Bacon saved a small town through dancing, referencing Footloose; Bacon corrects Drax by attributing that to his character Ren McCormack.
      • Mantis mentions a story about Bacon killing Jason Voorhees; Bacon corrects her by saying his character was actually stabbed in the neck with an arrow (which Drax finds hilarious). Going unmentioned is the fact that the Friday film Kevin Bacon was in didn't have Jason as the killer; assuming that Peter told the story, he likely got the first and fourth movies confused.
    • When Mantis compels Kevin Bacon to act like a hero, his first impulse is to assume the identity of a British soldier in World War II; his second is to be Batman.
    • A new Guardians ship is used by Mantis and Drax. In keeping with the Theme Naming of '80s pop culture figures (previous ships are the Milano and Benatar), this one is called the Bowie.
  • Skewed Priorities: During the chase of Kevin Bacon, Drax complains that he dropped his lawn elf ornament and wants to go back for it. Mantis questions if that's more important than Peter's happiness. After a long pause, Drax answers "Yes".
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Kraglin gets the plot rolling by explaining what Christmas is to the Guardians and convincing Kevin Bacon to cheer Peter up.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The scene of Kevin Bacon fleeing for his life from Mantis and Drax is accompanied by the cheery song "I Want an Alien for Christmas" by Fountains of Wayne.
  • The Stinger: Groot, covered in Christmas decorations, drop his arms, to which Cosmo and Rocket complain that they need another special.
  • Sucks at Dancing: During Kevin Bacon's musical number, Nebula is shown attempting to dance, but can't summon the energy to do more than jerk around to the music.
  • Suddenly Shouting: After Drax brings up one too many times the entire bowl of zargnuts that Mantis ate, she screams to forget about those nuts at the top of her lungs and in a markedly hoarser voice than the one she usually uses.
  • Super Cell Reception: Lampshaded and justified. Kevin Bacon expresses shock that he's somehow able to receive a phone call from his wife despite being light-years away from Earth. Kraglin explains to him that there are satellite dishes that bounce signals to places throughout the universe (including Earth), hence how he's able to get a signal out on Knowhere.
  • Take That Us: Upon learning that Kevin Bacon is an actor instead of a mighty hero, Mantis and Drax (who are, of course, played by professional actors) are disgusted, as they are repulsed at the idea of people pretending to be someone else. Later, as Bacon leaves, having endeared himself to the Guardians, Nebula remarks with mild surprise that not all actors are "pieces of shit".
  • There Was a Door: When Kevin Bacon refuses to let them in, Drax casually shatters a window next to the door like it is nothing.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The entire story is to do this for Peter Quill, giving him a happy moment after going through two movies as the team's Butt-Monkey. The film shows him actually being a decent leader, and the other characters actually take his depression seriously and show care and concern for him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the past, despite occasionally assuming an insectile fighting stance, Mantis has shown no combat ability outside of touching someone's head to make them fall asleep. In this special, we see that she's been developing her skills: touching someone's hand, previously only shown to allow her to feel their feelings, can now force people to obey her commands without question; she shows some impressive and downright frightening parkour skills while chasing after Kevin Bacon; and she shows off some impressive martial arts while subduing the cops, combining them with her powers to nonlethally subdue four of them in under a minute, without Drax's help and armed only with a giant ornamental candy cane.
  • Tough Love: When Yondu first learns about Christmas, he's enraged, telling Peter that in space, such soft and sentimental practices will get him killed. He later softens his approach, however, and joins in the gift-giving.
  • Trauma Button: Because Drax forgot to turn on the ship's cloaking device, a handful of onlookers see him and Mantis land in Hollywood in broad daylight. In a darkly humorous moment, one lady starts to sob with fear at the sight of the ship, clearly traumatized from all the other times aliens had invaded Earth.
  • Under New Management: At some point following Endgame, the Guardians purchased Knowhere from the Collector and have been working to make it inhabitable again after it was nearly destroyed by Thanos in Infinity War.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The sight of Drax and Mantis having fun on Earth is barely given a second thought, as expected of a world that have seen weirder things like a Celestial showing up in orbit; the corpse of another in the Indian Ocean; the whole bunch of Asgardians and other aliens (like the bug-like Miek) living in Norway; a Hulk acting as a lawyer for and against magic users, superheroes and villains, and aliens; etc. There's also the fact that the Guardians have been recognized as one of the groups who helped save the universe, and there's even merchandise and cosplays of them. The only time someone panics is when Kevin Bacon sees them, which is justified since the two are kidnapping him. That said, nobody on Earth in the special seems to actually know who they are, with Drax believed to be a Kratos cosplayer. Even then, Bacon, after having seen the clearly alien Mantis on the video doorbell display, dismisses her and Drax with a largely irritated "not cool" when they persist at knocking on his door, only panicking when Drax breaks through the glass.
  • Wham Line: Mantis is afraid of telling Peter her secret, to which Drax points out:
    Drax: That you're Quill's sister?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mantis and Drax fly all the way to Hollywood to kidnap Kevin Bacon for Peter. The first thing Peter asks to Mantis is "What did you do?!" in shock and anger because the two just committed human trafficking.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, of all things. Extraterrestrials abduct semi-mythical Earthling in order to instill some Yuletide cheer on their home planet. Kevin Bacon is even seen watching the film in an explicit Shout-Out.
  • Written-In Absence: Gamora is the only Guardian absent from the special following her death at the hands of Thanos and her variant disappearing after the final battle against him. Mantis explicitly notes that Peter is still mourning her.

What the heck's a turtledove? And who lit up that deer?
I don't know what Christmas is but Christmastime is here!
I don't know what Christmas is but Christmastime is here!
(Or maybe it's there! But it's somewhere! I dunno... I dunno...)


Video Example(s):


Guardians Christmas Song

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special opens with an alien band singing about they understand it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChristmasSongs

Media sources: