Disney+ Reveals New MCU Timeline Order With Guardians Holiday Special

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Star Lord, Disney Plus

Marvel Studios has released its latest MCU project on Disney+, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, but where does it land in the grand MCU timeline?

To close out the MCU’s wild Phase 4 story, Marvel has pulled back the curtain on its second-ever Special Presentation, following up on the efforts of October’s Werewolf by Night. This time, the galaxy’s most famous band of misfits is front and center as they star in a Christmas-themed adventure filled with laughs, heart, and love.

And as is the case with every new MCU project, one of the first questions surrounding this Holiday Special is where exactly it fits in the MCU’s expansive timeline.

Well, upon its release, Disney+ confirmed that this question isn’t a difficult one to answer in the slightest.

When Does the Guardians’ Holiday Special Take Place?

Guardians Holiday Special, Gamora, Yondu, Star-Lord
The Direct

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is the latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, along with the final project in Phase 4. As part of its debut, Disney also confirmed when exactly It takes place in comparison to the rest of its MCU counterparts.

Disney+ has placed the Guardians’ Holiday Special as the 43rd and final entry in the current MCU timeline, directly after Gael Garcia Bernal’s Werewolf by Night.

The full list of MCU projects in timeline order can be seen below: 

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. Captain Marvel
  3. Iron Man
  4. Iron Man 2
  5. The Incredible Hulk 
  6. Thor
  7. The Avengers
  8. Thor: The Dark World
  9. Iron Man 3
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy
  12. I Am Groot: Groot’s First Steps
  13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  14. I Am Groot: The Little Guy
  15. I Am Groot: Groot’s Pursuit
  16. I Am Groot: Groot Takes a Bath
  17. I Am Groot: Magnum Opus
  18. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  19. Ant-Man
  20. Captain America: Civil War
  21. Black Widow
  22. Black Panther
  23. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  24. Doctor Strange
  25. Thor: Ragnarok 
  26. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  27. Avengers: Infinity War
  28. Avengers: Endgame
  29. Loki
  30. What If...?
  31. WandaVision
  32. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  33. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  34. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  35. Eternals
  36. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  37. Hawkeye
  38. Moon Knight
  39. She-Hulk
  40. Ms. Marvel
  41. Thor: Love and Thunder
  42. Werewolf By Night
  43. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

The full graphic of that timeline can be seen here:

MCU timeline
Marvel Studios

The Guardians’ MCU Journey Continues in Phase 5

Phase 4 of the MCU has largely been told in a pretty linear fashion timeline-wise, with only a couple of exceptions. 2021’s Black Widow falls alongside the earliest Phase 3 projects while Phase 3’s final entry, Spider-Man: Far From Home, actually happens a few months after the first stories from Phase 4 on Disney+.

Thankfully, the Guardians’ Holiday Special is an easy one to place, catching fans up on their adventures only a few months after their last big screen appearance. The team showed up for the opening sequence of July 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder before jetting off on their own mission, defending the cosmos before settling down for their own Christmas-centric story.

Now, this becomes the second of three entries for the team in under a year, as they’ll star in Phase 5’s second big-screen movie, May 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. And while that story will pit them against some of the most dangerous challenges they’ve ever faced, they at least have a moment first to take things relatively easy with some holiday hijinks to close out 2022.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.