Christmas has come early for Marvel fans. The most naughty band of heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy, is back with its Happy Holidays Special on Disney+.

The special is a Christmas adventure for the duo of Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who are finally getting the spotlight they deserve. In the little more than 40 minutes that the content lasts, the characters travel to Earth to kidnap Kevin Bacon as a Christmas present for Peter Quill (Chris Pratt).

However, this Happy Holidays Special also anticipates some important changes for the team ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 , one of the most anticipated Marvel movie and series releases of 2023. If you’ve already seen the Guardians trailer 3 , you won’t want to miss the clues this special leaves behind about the third and final installment in the saga.

To go over how Guardians of the Galaxy: Happy Holidays Special paves the way for the new movie, we’re going to need to get into spoiler territory , so read on at your own risk.

The clues about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 that the Happy Holidays Special gives

The supergroup Christmas special takes place after we last saw the Guardians as one of the many cameos in Thor: Love & Thunder . Since then, the group has gone through some changes.

Not that anyone has left the formation, but the Guardians do have a brand new ship, nicknamed Bowie; a new member of the team, the talking dog Cosmo, with powers of telekinesis, and a new place to drop dead: the planet Wisdom.

In Thor 4, the Guardians were still flying Peter Quill’s old ship, so clearly there has been an upgrade between that movie and the special. James Gunn, the director, confirmed to a fan on Twitter that that other ship still exists, so we know it hasn’t been destroyed. The team has changed vehicles for another reason.

As for Cosmo, it’s unclear when the dog made the team. The Guardians could have already been living in Wisdom when they appeared in Love & Thunder , but no concrete time reference is given, other than Nebula (Karen Gillan) confirming that they bought the place from the Collector.

(If you’re wondering why the planet is so turned upside down, check out what Thanos did to it in Avengers: Infinity War .)

 It’s not very likely that we’ll get much more explanation on any of these issues in the third movie. Gunn himself has said that he used the special as a Trojan horse in order to include new plot elements, which will be important for Vol. 3 , without the need to explain them in the film.

Because it may seem to you that the transfer of the group to Wisdom and the additions of Cosmo and the character of Kraglin (Sean Gunn) to the Guardians will not be so important for the third film, but the special hides one more revelation that could. play a key role.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Happy Holidays Special confirms that Mantis and Peter are brothers, since the former’s father is also Ego (Kurt Russell). This is how she tells Drax and, finally, Peter at the conclusion of the special.

This reveal was originally going to be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 , but the scene was cut from the final cut. In that sequel, they told us that Ego had found Mantis when she was just a larva and had raised her on her planet. However, the scene that revealed one of Ego’s love interests to be Mantis’s mother was left out of the theatrically released footage, so the familial connection between her and Peter was lost on us.

 Now that this consanguinity has returned to the MCU canon, the overall theme of Gunn’s trilogy is strengthened. Vol. 1 of the Guardians was about finding one’s family, something that was further explored in Vol. 2 , where Peter chose his chosen family over his biological father.

If those two films were, in one way or another, about Peter Quill’s mother and father, it stands to reason that a key theme of Vol. 3 would be Quill’s relationship with his newfound sister, Mantis, who is both part of his biological and adoptive family.

With that being said, we are somewhat concerned about the fate of Mantis in the third Guardians movie.

Karen Gillan, who gives life to Nebula, said months ago that she had read the script for the third film in the saga with Pom Klementieff, who plays Mantis, and she may have missed a slight spoiler. “We read it together and we laughed, but there were also tears…” she said. “He’s brilliant, emotional, funny… everything you could ask for.”

Does that emphasis on tears mean Mantis will end up sacrificing herself in Guardians 3 to save her brother? We see it, although it could also happen the other way around. Ideally, no one would die, but since this is the final Guardians of the Galaxy movie , it’s time to bet.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Happy Holidays Special is now available to watch on Disney+, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens in theaters on May 5, 2023.