Christmas Spirit

How the Guardians Holiday Special honors the art of hand-drawn animation

Travel back to the ‘70s with the magic of rotoscoping.

Originally Published: 

One of the shining stars of the season has been Marvel’s The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. This heartfelt one-off directed by James Gunn, and featuring Star-Lord and his rag-tag crew of cosmic crusaders, debuted in the wake of October’s first entry for this new MCU format, Werewolf By Night.

Bookending a charming Christmas adventure about Drax and Mantis visiting Earth to kidnap Kevin Bacon and deliver him as a gift for a heartbroken Peter Quill are animated flashback scenes created by Robot Chicken’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

Strap in and check out these key animation stills from The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special!

These clever cartoon sequences reveal a memorable Christmas past aboard Yondu’s Ravager flagship, The Eclector.


Young Peter Quill is trying to teach Kraglin about the Earth holiday when Yondu, wanting no part of this sentimental nonsense, arrives to play the part of Scrooge.


James Gunn hoped to resurrect a Ralph Bakshi-esque animation style from the 1960s and ‘70s by using old-school methods for the flashback segments that open and close the special.


To accomplish that hand-drawn magic, Stoopid Buddy employed a filmmaking technique known as rotoscoping, which is done by animating over live-action footage.


The result is a nostalgic feel that perfectly complements the true spirit of the Christmas season, no matter what galaxy you call home.


Marvel Studios’ The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is currently airing on Disney+.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!