As MCU fans prepare for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, one of its stars shared how it's tied back to The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+.
The Guardians' Holiday Special served as a unique bridge between the team's last adventures in Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder before they return in their own solo sequel. This even included a couple of key plot developments for the intergalactic team of misfits, furthering their status as power players in the universe.
One of those revelations was the confirmation that Star-Lord and Mantis are half-siblings, which had been theorized since their first appearance together in 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
This connection had only previously been seen in deleted footage from the 2017 sequel, although it became a key subplot on Disney+ to close off Phase 4.
Mantis Star on Guardians 3 Disney+ Ties
Speaking in the Spring 2023 issue of Disney Twenty Three Magazine, Pom Klementieff discussed how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 connects directly with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
When asked how Mantis' dynamic with Peter Quill changes now that they're confirmed to be half-brother and half-sister, Klementieff enthusiastically noted how the bond between them is stronger than ever:
"Of course it creates a stronger bond between them. And it also brings bigger stakes. If anything happens to one of them, it’s going to be even more emotional."
She looked back on shooting Guardians 3, reminiscing on how she and the cast made every scene as special as possible with it potentially being the last time they work together as a unit:
“It was a long shoot, but it was such a beautiful shoot. What I remember Is, each time we were shooting a scene, we thought, ’Oh, this could be the last time we’re shooting this as a group! So it made every scene very special, and very emotional as well. Even it the scene was funny, it was rooted in that feeling like the end to a chapter. So it really was special.”
Additionally, executive producer Sara Smith described the film as "the culmination of everything we love" about the team, looking back to how fans have grown up with the Guardians for nearly a decade:
“I feel like we’ve really grown up with the Guardians. We’ve seen them struggle, evolve, fall in love, become heroes, fail, make good choices and bad choices. All of that leading to this film, where we ultimately see them each individually come into their own. It’s really the culmination of everything we love about the Guardians: family, adventure, love, loss, and finding one’s place in the universe.”
Star of the Guardians films Sean Gunn also spoke with the outlet, explaining how Kraglin will find himself becoming closer to the team after Yondu's death.
He noted how this team is "a place where people can find a family" that they didn't have previously:
"When Yondu died, Kraglin felt as adrift as Quill did – or maybe even in some ways more so, without a family. And it’s something that we havent quite explored yet. I think that the whole idea of the Guardians being a place where people can find a family who dont necessarily have one is a very important part of Kraglin’s story."
When asked if this means Kraglin sees himself as a true Guardian now, Gunn coyly replied, "You’ll have to watch the movie to see!"
Holiday Special Sets up Guardians 3's Emotional Journey
With this being the last chapter for the current iteration of the Guardians, the connection to the Holiday Special's reveal will only bring the emotion to a new level with Star-Lord and Mantis being siblings.
How much the plot will touch on this detail with so many other story details being in place is a mystery, although the fact that fans know about the connection will only make them more invested in what happens.
This will also be the first time that the MCU has moved from the theaters to Disney+ back to theaters again, with the Holiday Special being essential viewing in order to be caught up for what's coming in Guardians 3.
The reveal for Star-Lord and Mantis will also only enforce the family themes that will be prevalent in this new sequel, especially with many expecting that not all of the team will make it out alive.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will arrive in theaters on May 5. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is now streaming on Disney+.