James Gunn set off Nerds on Earth’s speculometer when he dropped this tasty morsel:
So, who might this most greatest of all Marvel characters be, if it isn’t Santa himself, an Omega-level mutant, or Adam Warlock, who is already cast and confirmed to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3? Well, below are 7 guesses.
#7 Pip the Troll
Maybe Gunn wasn’t aware that Pip the Troll would be introduced in a 2021 post-credits scene. If so, maybe Pip the Troll was the character that Gunn was referring to. A troll isn’t exactly an elf, but it’s
pretty not at all close to one of Santa’s helpers and would be perfect for a zany holiday special.
Pip the Troll, of course, is a Marvel character that goes way back and has strong ties to Adam Warlock, who is already confirmed to appear in GotG 3, so maybe Gunn’s thinking is the special will give Pip some more screen in anticipation of the movie.
#6 Howard the Duck
Maybe Gunn as a different interpretation of the word “introducing,” as Howard the Duck has already had a cameo in GotG. But maybe Gunn simply meant he would be receiving more screen time in the Holiday Special. It’s not implausible.
Howard the Duck has already had an ill-fated 80s movie made about him. Maybe Gunn wants start with that cameo and rehabilitate the character with the upcoming special. Lea Thompson was not available for comment.
Cosmo the Spacedog is Marvel’s finest work and I’ll defend that opinion to the death. Cosmo is a telepathic Soviet dog who became the chief of security at Knowhere, the space station created inside the severed head of a decapitated Celestial, before he eventually became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Read that above sentence again and try to tell me James Gunn wouldn’t get excited about that.
Cosmo has also appeared in a cameo in GotG, but just like Pip the Troll and Howard the Duck, maybe Gunn simply meant that the Holiday Special would be a place where the character got significant screen time.
#4 Impossible Man
OK, this is a character that hasn’t appeared in a MCU cameo, nor have there even been rumors about his possible inclusion in the MCU. I just wanted to prove to you that I can pull wild guesses out of thin air like proper Internet commentary is contractually obligated to do.
Impossible Man goes back to Fantastic Four #11, then made occasional appearances during what would have been James Gunn’s formative comic book reading years. Impossible Man is a Poppupian from the planet Poppup and has shapeshifting abilities and that description alone is evidence that Impossible Man is a bit of a farcical character.
But James Gunn has a penchant for farcical characters, so the madcap nature of Impossible Man might be exactly what Gunn has in mind for a holiday special. Besides, Impossible Man has ties to Adam Warlock, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, so his inclusion could be a case of laying down some stepping stones for the introduction of those characters.
Darkhawk gets his powers from a cosmic amulet with an entire Null Space mythos surrounding it. Does the MCU need more mythos-type worldbuilding after Eternals. Definitely not. And it would seem weird that James Gunn would introduce a whole new mythos in GotG 3 when Adam Warlock and all his backstory will already chew up screen time in that movie.
But Darkhawk has a lot of street-level history as well, and it makes perfect sense that Darkhawk could be introduced with a very streamlined story that doesn’t try to go into anything beyond “a magic amulet gives him his powers.”
The problem with Bug is the lawyers.
Bug was first introduced in 1979 in the vastly underrated Micronauts comic. The problem is the comic was licensed from the Japanese toy line Takara that has now shifted ownership so many times that it’s not worth it to try and even summarize it here.
But the character Marvel created didn’t look much like the toy, so Marvel was able to keep ownership of the character even though they lost ownership to all other Micronauts decades ago. So, that’s why Bug was able to appear in the Annihilation comics, whereas there is no way in heck any other Micronauts characters could be used by Marvel now.
So, even though Bug is a cool character, do you think Marvel wants to risk even a whiff of a legal ownership challenge?
Of all the characters on this list, only Nova could plausibly make a claim to be one of the greatest MCU characters of all time, as Gunn’s Tweet indicated.
The Nova Corps were already introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 1, so why wouldn’t Gunn want to introduce the most famous Nova Corpsman, Richard Rider? Nova was also a huge part of that Annihilation run that clearly has influenced Gunn and Kevin Fiege has hinted at Nova’s inclusion in the MCU, so let’s get this thing done!
I, for one, would be positively giddy at the inclusion of Nova in the MCU. If it comes in a holiday special, even better.