The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special comes as one of the MCU’s most unique outings, even setting a new standard from a villain perspective as well.
Throughout the MCU’s Phase 4 slate, fans have gotten another round of top-notch villains with countless ties to Marvel’s past and present.
Spider-Man: No Way Home brought back five iconic antagonists, most notably Willem Dafoe’s take on the Green Goblin as he brought another round of chaos for a new Spider-Man to deal with. Before that, Phase 4’s first two projects tied back to the MCU’s earliest days with the real Mandarin arriving in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Dreykov coming into the light in Black Widow.
Disney+ has also had its fair share of iconic big bads, from the powerful witch Agatha Harkness in WandaVision to Vincent D’Onofrio’s iconic Kingpin in Hawkeye, with more of those antagonists on the way in Phase 5 as well.
However, as Phase 4 ends with the Guardians’ Holiday Special, this new Disney+ entry becomes the first MCU project in history to make the call it makes with regard to a villain.
Disney+ Sets New MCU Mark With No Villain
MCU director James Gunn confirmed that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special doesn’t have a villain, making it the first MCU project in history to go without an antagonist.
Gunn revealed that he wrote the special “in three days” as he worked on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, noting how easy it was due to the stakes being so low. Gunn then confirmed that “there’s no bad guy in this one,” reminiscing on how every other MCU project has featured at least one nemesis.
Gunn also explained that he “wrote a treatment” with another bigger threat for the Guardians to face, which even included Kevin Bacon “(jumping around and…performing action stunts.” But in the end, there was no interest for Gunn in that bigger threat, leading him to make something much more personal.
Guardians Special Marks Unique MCU Occurrence
Considering the Holiday Special is largely focused on celebrating the holiday season, it’s not too much of a shock to see that there is no villain for the Guardians to face.
The special’s first trailer teased how the team was looking to give Peter Quill a special Christmas with his thoughts lingering on Gamora after her disappearance. Combine that with the project’s nature as a light-hearted story, and it became clear to Gunn that there wasn’t a need for a bad guy that the Guardians would have to battle in order to save Christmas.
Thankfully, the team will have no shortage of antagonists moving forward, as Chukwudi Iwuji is set to play arguably their most challenging foe yet, the High Evolutionary, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
That movie will debut in theaters on May 5, 2023.