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Most of “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” follows Mantis and Drax, who hear Kraglin tell how Yondu ruined Christmas for Peter as a child (told through rotoscope animation). This heartbreaking story, paired with Mantis’ secret she’s been keeping that she’s Peter’s sister, is all that she needs to take Drax to Earth to get Peter the perfect Christmas Present: his childhood hero, Kevin Bacon. Peter is seemingly busy with getting Knowhere in shape, as it’s revealed in the special that the Guardians bought the location from the Collector. “The Holiday Special” is a massive lore dump in its first ten minutes, but it’s excusable and executed naturally enough to help get Drax and Mantis where they need to go in the story. Their journey to Earth is successful, and they return to Knowhere with Kevin Bacon in tow.
The ending of “The Holiday Special” initially seems dour, with Peter upset given that Drax and Mantis essentially took part in human trafficking. Kevin Bacon is at first horrified, but after Kraglin explains what the actor meant to Peter and how he inspired Star-Lord, Bacon has a change of heart, bringing some holiday cheer to Knowhere. A massive Christmas celebration soon takes place, with the Guardians exchanging presents and Mantis tearfully revealing to Peter that she’s his sister, all while Bacon is singing a holiday tune. In the grand scheme of the MCU, this is a concise and self-contained story. However, the ending could speak volumes about Peter Quill’s mindset going into James Gunn’s final story about this iteration of the Guardians in Volume 3.