Last month, Marvel Studios, Disney+, and James Gunn dropped a holiday gift for millions of fans in the form of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. And based on the reviews from critics and viewers alike, it was a gift well-received. And as much as we were all about having Kevin Bacon officially a member of the MCU, another aspect of the "Special Presentation" that impressed us was those old-school-style, hand-drawn animated sequences that bookended the adventure. Well, we're learning who the animation studio that was responsible for the magic is, and it's one we're sure you're pretty familiar with. Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (Robot Chicken, Marvel's M.O.D.O.K.) took its particular set of skills over to the MCU, setting aside its stunning stop-motion animation work to hand-draw the moments using live-action footage- and they pulled it off in just over two months.
"Right from the start, James Gunn said he hoped to emulate the Ralph Bakshi style that was popular in the 1960s and '70s, and there was no way to cheat it – it had to be hand-drawn rotoscoping," explains Mac Whiting, lead animation supervisor on The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. "After seeing the animation test, Marvel arranged for us to be involved with the live-action shoot in Georgia. James and the Marvel team made the experience a real bucket-list item for any animator and fueled our desire to make the animation in this project as special as it deserved to be." To ensure that the process ran smoothly, Stoopid Buddy produced the animation for the special in association with Australia-based Studio Moshi.
"James entrusted us with a tremendous vision," Stoopid Buddy co-founder Matt Senreich shared. "When we produced an initial eight seconds of test footage with Michael Rooker as Yondu, we knew we could match that vision and, through animation, bring something entirely new to Guardians of the Galaxy. Stoopid Buddy is incredibly proud to be associated with it." Whiting added, "This has been one of the most exciting and creatively challenging projects I've ever been a part of, especially due to the demanding nature and high volume of hand-drawn animation, but the results are more than worth it. Fans are going to be watching this holiday special for many years to come, like so many of the specials we grew up with."