"There's a lot of big information in there."

Director James Gunn has stressed the importance of watching The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, calling it an “epilogue” to Phase 4 of the MCU and a “must watch” before Guardians 3.

A fan reached out to Gunn on Twitter to ask whether the upcoming Holiday Special belongs to Phase 4 or Phase 5 of the MCU. In response, Gunn confirmed that it serves as a concluding act for the MCU's Phase 4 despite being set between the events of Thor: Love and Thunder and the third Guardians movie, which is slated to debut as part of Phase 5 of the MCU next year.

The Guardians Holiday Special is the epilogue of Phase 4. 🎅👍 https://t.co/9mDfmn25tH

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 1, 2022

In threaded tweets, Gunn confirmed that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is canon to the MCU and a “must watch” before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 releases because “there's a lot of big information” to be unwrapped in the seasonal special, including the introduction of what he considers to be “one of the greatest MCU characters of all time.”

The Holiday Special will be released on Disney+ this December prior to Guardians Vol. 3 next year. The third movie will see Peter Quill, who is still reeling from the loss of Gamora, “rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.”

The trailer for the third Guardians movie hasn't been released online yet because Gunn isn't completely satisfied with the VFX in its current state. However, Marvel gave the Hall H crowd at SDCC a sneak peek of what's to come, and that footage revealed some big changes taking place with the cosmic crew, including the debut of Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Spacedog.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be part of Phase 5 of the MCU, and is set to be released on May 5, 2023. The trailer was screened during a deluge of news at SDCC, where we learned tons about Marvel's plans for the finale of Phase 4, as well as both Phases 5 and 6, now dubbed the Multiverse Saga, alongside tons of other announcements, trailers, and teasers at the annual pop culture event.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Every Upcoming Movie and TV Show

guardians of the galaxy holiday special is the 'epilogue' of mcu's phase 4, says james gunn
guardians of the galaxy holiday special is the 'epilogue' of mcu's phase 4, says james gunn
guardians of the galaxy holiday special is the 'epilogue' of mcu's phase 4, says james gunn
guardians of the galaxy holiday special is the 'epilogue' of mcu's phase 4, says james gunn
guardians of the galaxy holiday special is the 'epilogue' of mcu's phase 4, says james gunn
guardians of the galaxy holiday special is the 'epilogue' of mcu's phase 4, says james gunn

Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.

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