For just about two years, Disney+ has become an integral part of the Marvel Studios formula, with streaming series expanding upon the super-powered universe alongside the studio's big-screen blockbusters, the latest of which will be The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
The upcoming festive Special Presentation will ring in the holiday season as the Guardians look to make Chris Pratt's Star-Lord feel a little more at home by kidnapping actor Kevin Bacon for Christmas.
The special received plenty of praise from critics who saw it early, with some calling the "feel good tale" something that will "melt every 'No Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving' purists' heart."
But as it turns out, the Guardians' Christmas outing marks not only a fun Holiday-themed jaunt for MCU fans but the release of Marvel Studios' earliest pitched Disney+ project.
A Big Occasion With the Guardians MCU Holiday Special
In a new featurette promoting the The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed that the James Gunn-directed special presentation was the first piece of MCU content pitched for Disney+.
In the brief teaser, Feige said that "[the Special] is the very first thing ever conceived from Marvel Studios for Disney+," noting that Gunn pitched it to him back "on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2" in 2016, over three years before Disney+ launched:
"On the set of 'Vol.2' James Gunn said, 'We should do a Holiday Special.' We all had a laugh. We thought that would be great. And then they wrote it in like three days."
James Gunn followed this up by saying work on the special was very "joyful," as he "[got] to work with a lot of people [he] really [loves]."
Gunn also took to Twitter to corroborate Feige's claims, telling fans he "casually pitched the special" to Marvel Studios rather than the movie-making giant coming to him about the idea:
"I casually pitched the special to Kevin while shooting Vol 2"
How the Guardians Special Has Been a Long Time Coming
It is wild to think that of all the universe-shifting Marvel Studios content, it was James Gunn's The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special that kicked it all off. It wasn't the Multiverse-shattering Loki or a hero debut like Ms. Marvel or Moon Knight, no, it was a tale of the Guardians kidnapping the star of Footloose.
But if one thinks about it on a deeper level, this actually makes a bit of sense. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige noted that Gunn came to him with this idea back during the production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That means the Holiday Special has been in the works since at least Summer 2016.
That was long before Disney+ was even close to launch, meaning this was likely pitched without any real idea of where it would land. Feige and crew had/have such confidence in Gunn that they gave it the green light and probably thought they would figure out the logistics later.
If Disney+ hadn't popped up and been the success it is, maybe this would have landed on a network like ABC.
While it is the earliest piece of Disney+ MCU content to be conceived, it may not have been dreamt up with Disney+ initially in mind.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special hits Disney+ on Friday, November 25.