Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) Ending Explained – What is Peter’s “greatest” Christmas gift?

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Ending Explained

In the animated opening of the Guardians holiday special, we get a flashback to the young Peter Quill who is trying to introduce Yondu and Kraglin to the joy of Christmas. Yondu isn’t having any of it, however, as for some reason, he claims to hate Christmas and doesn’t want trees or gifts on his ship. Why is he such a scrooge?

We don’t know but when Mantis and Drax hear this story years later from Kraglin when they are spending time on Knowhere, they assume this is the reason why Peter no longer seems to have the Christmas spirit.

Mantis believes a wonderful Christmas gift will make Peter feel happier and when she speaks to Drax about this, he suggests an idea. As he has heard Peter talk a lot about a legendary Earth hero who has saved many lives, Drax comes to the conclusion that this person will make the ideal Christmas present for their captain. Who is this legendary hero? Footloose actor Kevin Bacon!

The search is then on for the celebrated actor but as we later find out in the movie, the greatest gift for Peter is somebody else besides!

Who is this person? Let’s take a closer look at the movie.

How do Drax and Mantis find Kevin Bacon?

Drax and Mantis take the Guardian’s spaceship down to Earth and land it somewhere in LA. They then begin their search for Kevin Bacon with a walk along Hollywood Boulevard where various people are cosplaying as Ant-Man, Captain America, Jack Sparrow, and a GoBot, among other characters.

This leads to a comical sequence wherein Mantis jumps on the guy in the Captain America suit thinking he is the real hero. Drax is more interested in the guy in the GoBot costume and he beats him up, presumably because he thinks he’s an invading robot!

After causing a little bit of chaos on the streets of LA, the two go to a bar and get more than a little intoxicated. We then see them sitting on the curbside outside lamenting that they haven’t come close to finding Kevin Bacon. A woman from a nearby souvenir shop overhears their conversation and gives them something that will help their search: a tourist map that marks the homes of famous Hollywood celebs. Using the map, they then track down the actor’s home.

Is Kevin Bacon happy to be a Christmas gift?

Kevin is relaxing at home and enjoying the infamously bad Christmas movie Santa Claus And the Martians so is less than happy when Drax and Mantis turn up at his security gate demanding to be let in. He refuses to allow access but this doesn’t deter the two Guardians as Drax throws Mantis over the gate and then leaps over it himself.

After helping themselves to Kevin’s lawn decorations – Mantis takes a giant candy cane, Drax takes an inflatable elf – they literally barge their way into the actor’s home and demand that he comes with them. Understandably Kevin does not want to be taken to their leader but after a chase scene through the house and onto the streets of his neighbourhood, he is put into a trance by Mantis who convinces him that he wants to come along for the ride.

Back in the spaceship, Drax and Mantis realise that Kevin isn’t the hero that Peter claimed him to be. They discover he is just an actor and that he didn’t save a small town by “dancing like an idiot” (Drax’s reference to Footloose) or save a campsite from Jason Vorhees (one of Bacon’s first movie roles was the original Friday the 13th). This is devastating for them both, especially as they have no tolerance for actors. But as they still need to save Christmas for Peter, Mantis tells Kevin that he needs to act like a hero for the sake of their captain.

Does Peter like his Christmas gift?

No! After being presented with his wrapped-up gift, he is appalled when Kevin Bacon emerges from within. It’s not that he doesn’t like the actor but he is unhappy that two members of his crew have essentially committed an act of human trafficking. He tells Mantis to take Kevin out of the trance, which she does. As expected, Kevin then freaks out when he realises what has happened to him and he is even more alarmed when he comes face to face with Rocket, a “talking raccoon.”

While Peter comes to terms with what his crewmates have done, Kraglin and Nebula pursue Kevin. When Kraglin catches up with the terrified actor, he explains why Drax and Mantis did what they did and tells Kevin that his actions in Footloose influenced Peter’s actions when he saved the galaxy.

This causes Kevin to calm down and he decides to help the Guardians save Christmas for Peter.

What does Peter consider to be his “greatest” Christmas gift?

The Guardians surprise Peter by decorating Knowhere with Christmas lights. To make the mood even more festive, Kevin sings a Christmas song. This does much to cheer Peter up and he is touched by what his crewmates have done for him.

It’s then time for everybody to give one another gifts. Peter gives Groot a new Gameboy to replace the one that had been broken during the events of Endgame. Nebula has somehow gotten hold of Bucky’s prosthetic arm and she gifts this to Rocket. Cosmo gives Kraglin a dead alien rodent. Mantis gives Drax an inflatable elf (he previously lost the one he had taken from Kevin’s garden). And Groot gives everybody wooden figurines that recap the events of the Holiday Special.

These gifts are all joyfully received but for Peter, the best gift is yet to come. After Kevin Bacon leaves for home, with the promise that he will return at Easter, Mantis and Peter sit down together. Peter asks Mantis why she went to such great lengths to make his Christmas special and she recounts the story of how Yondu ruined his Christmas years before.

Peter explains that Yondu didn’t ruin his Christmas and tells Mantis the conclusion of the story that Kraglin missed out. In an animated flashback, we see Yondu return to the pile of gifts that he had ordered to be trashed and he opens the one that Peter had given to him. The gift is a Yoda-like doll and this makes Yondu happy. We then see Peter open a gift that Yondu has given him – his signature dual blasters. But these aren’t what Peter considers to be his “greatest” gift.

Back in the present, Mantis reveals to Peter that Ego, his late father, was also her father too. We actually discovered this in the second Guardians Of The Galaxy movie when we learned Ego found Mantis in her larva state. As such, she is more of an adopted daughter rather than a birth daughter but it still makes her Peter’s sister nevertheless.

Peter is thrilled when he realises that Mantis is his sister and he tells her that this is the “greatest Christmas gift” he could ever get. They then share a heartfelt hug.

Is Christmas saved?

It is for Peter, assuming that he was down about the festive season in the first place. But during the post-credits scene, Rocket announces that Christmas has been ruined again. Why? Because Groot, who had been standing with arms outstretched while being decorated by Rocket with Christmas lights, decides to put his arms down and this destroys Rocket’s festive display.

“Now we have to have another special,” says the raccoon after declaring that Groot has ruined Christmas.


Read More: Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Review

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