Chris Pratt as Star-Lord and Dave Bautista as Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Spaceman's Best Friend

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special reintroduces an unexpected comic book hero

Cosmo is finally getting a chance to shine in the MCU.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special revolves around an adventure led by Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most underrated characters. That doesn’t mean other characters don’t get their own moments to shine. Kraglin (Sean Gunn) gets several chances to flex his paternal muscles, and Nebula (Karen Gillan) delivers what might be the funniest moment of the entire show.

The Holiday Special also spends several scenes with Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Cosmo (Maria Bakalova). The latter is given her first chance to speak, and the show implies that Cosmo has already become a new member of the Guardians by the time the special begins.

Here’s how that likely came to be, and why Marvel fans should expect to see a lot more of Cosmo moving forward.

Cosmo the Spacedog (voiced by Maria Bakalova) in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.Marvel Studios

(Re)introducing Cosmo — Cosmo the Spacedog made her first MCU appearance in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which briefly revealed that Cosmo was being kept as part of The Collector’s (Benicio del Toro) stash on Knowhere.

At the start of the Holiday Special, Nebula says the Guardians bought Knowhere from The Collector sometime after the events of Thor: Love and Thunder. It seems safe to assume that Cosmo was freed from the collection and, unlike some of The Collector’s other prisoners, Cosmo apparently chose to stay on Knowhere with the Guardians.

The Holiday Special also establishes a fun relationship between Cosmo and Rocket, and fans can likely expect to see the two characters share more scenes in next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Cosmo made her MCU debut in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy.Marvel Studios

Cosmo and The Guardians — In the comics, Cosmo is sent into space by the Soviet Union. After drifting too far from Earth’s orbit, Cosmo was affected by cosmic rays that gave him psionic powers. Like in the MCU, he eventually ended up on Knowhere and later became a Guardian of the Galaxy.

James Gunn seems to have stuck close to Cosmo’s comic book origins. Gunn also previously confirmed that Cosmo will return in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so fans may learn more about the character when that film hits theaters next year. It also seems safe to assume that Vol. 3 will make Cosmo’s current, loose affiliation with the Guardians official.

Pom Klementieff as Mantis and Dave Bautista as Drax in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — There’s been a lot of talk about the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy after Vol. 3. That film will not only feature the departure of Gunn as the franchise’s director and writer, but several of the cast members are also expected to leave the MCU after its release. The consensus among fans is that Vol. 3 will start to build a new version of the Guardians for future MCU films and shows.

If that’s the direction Vol. 3 ends up taking, it seems more likely than not that Cosmo will emerge as one of the franchise’s new core members. After all, the Holiday Special has already made it clear just how nicely Bakalova’s Cosmo fits in with the franchise’s tone.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special premieres November 25 on Disney+.