James Gunn Clears Up GOTG Holiday Special Phase 4/5 Confusion

If you're like us then you were excited by the waves of film and streaming series news that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige had to roll out during last month's San Diego Comic-Con. From new "Avengers" films to release windows for a number of highly-anticipated series (Loki Season 2, Secret Invasion, Ironheart, etc.), the next few years are going to be a busy time in and around the MCU. But one project that was missing that we were hoping to hear more about was James Gunn's upcoming The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special for Disney+. Granted, by the title alone, we have a pretty good idea of what the release window for it will be (we're thinking November). But since the project wasn't included in Marvel's rundown of "phases" that was discussed at SDCC, a fan was curious where the in-canon special will fall with regards to Phases 4 & 5.

james gunn
Image: Marvel Studios

Well, Gunn kept his answer short & sweet, not wasting words to clear up any confusion: "The Guardians Holiday Special is the epilogue of Phase 4" (with Santa and thumbs-up emoji). Here's a look at a screencap of the questions and Gunn's response, followed by a rundown of what we know about the special so far:

james gunn
Image: Screencap

Previously, Gunn emphasized that this will be a "TV special" and not a short film- and for those of you thinking "Star Wars Holiday Special," you should know that Gunn loved it when he was a kid (so did we). The concept behind the special is something that Gunn had written up as a treatment "years ago" but finished the script in April 2021. As for when the in-canon special will take place on the GotG timeline, it will be set between Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. And then in an interview with Collider in support of The Suicide Squad, Gunn explained further why when it airs (and where it sits on the timeline) matters as well as first revealing his plan to film it during GotG3 filming.

"It's in-canon, it's about the Guardians, you're gonna learn stuff that you need to learn before Volume 3, and it's great I'm really happy with it," he explained. Gunn is also going to double-up on production, with the special filmed at the same time as the film. "I'm gonna film it at the same time as the movie. I'm using a lot of the same sets, the same actors obviously, so we're filming simultaneously with the film but it's gonna have to be edited and finished sooner," Gunn revealed.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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