Pom Klementieff Offers 6 Holiday Party Essentials and a Preview of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

How to upgrade your holiday gathering, according to the Guardians of the Galaxy's Mantis. Your checklist, naturally, starts with an ugly holiday sweater.

by | November 23, 2022 | Comments

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Holiday specials are a nearly timeless television tradition. The one most cited as a warm memory is, of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas with Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town all as close runners-up and all emerging from one company: Rankin/Bass Productions. There are those who go for the more obscure: Rankin/Bass’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (based on an L. Frank Baum novel of the same name), bizarre films like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and The Night They Saved Christmas. Or, for those devoted to true oddities, the Star Wars Holiday Special.

But with the turn to the 21st century and the reliance on the established specials, new productions gave way to Hallmark Channel movies, variety shows, and elaborate episodes of regular series. At least, it seemed that way for a time. But that changed with Disney+ producing specials like last year’s The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special and this November’s The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

Chris Pratt in The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Taking fewer cues from the holiday specials of old and setting itself firmly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it sees Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Bave Bautista) making their way to Earth to cheer up Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) by bringing him the legendary Kevin Bacon (himself).

If you’ve seen the trailer or the various photos Guardians series director James Gunn has been posting on his various social media accounts, you may have some idea of what to expect — something both epic and as cozy as an ugly Christmas sweater. And when Rotten Tomatoes caught up with Klementieff ahead of the special’s debut, she gave us a few more hints about what to expect and offered tips on some holiday essentials for a festive gathering — starting with those sweaters.

Holiday Essentials 1: An Ugly Sweater

Dave Bautista in The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Prior to shooting the special she “saw a few people wearing crazy ugly sweaters,” but when she saw the one worn by Drax (which appears in the trailer and is featured in one of Gunn’s recent posts), she recalled exclaiming, “Oh my God, this is so good!” She also added a good ugly sweater is “a plus” for a holiday party. “It’s nice to find a really cool and unique one and very ugly one.”

“I don’t own one. Maybe I should own one,” she continued after a moment’s thought.

Holiday Essentials 2: Uplifting Accessories

Pom Klementieff in The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

(Photo by Jessica Miglio/Marvel Studios)

Upon learning they were making a holiday special for Disney+, Klementieff made a key request: “Can I have Christmas lights around my antennas? Please, please, please?” she asked Gunn. “We found these little headbands with the little Christmas tree. So that was kind of like a mix of having the little lights.”

Although shot concurrently with next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Klementieff was aware of the special “years ago.” Indeed, the film itself was originally meant to be an early part of the MCU’s Phase 4 before studio politics saw Gunn depart from the third film, make The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker for the Distinguished Competition, and return to wrap up the tale he began in the first Guardians film. But according to Klementieff, the idea was always to focus on “Mantis and Drax teaming up.”

Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista inThe Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

(Photo by Jessica Miglio/Marvel Studios)

Some may still find it surprising, though, to see Mantis driving the pair’s quest. Klementieff was happy to be featured as the special includes an idea meant for her character’s debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but which was ultimately dropped from that film.

“[It’s] a secret that I had to hold for a long time,” she teased.

And as seen in the trailer for the special, Mantis’ adventure on Earth leads both her and Drax to Hollywood Boulevard — a place that is surreal even on any normal day.

“That was a once-in-a-lifetime situation, getting to wear antennas on the Walk of Fame,” she said of shooting the sequence in the actual location, known for its glorious old movie palace, the Chinese Theater, and the various people dressed up as Iron Man, Captain Jack Sparrow, and other recognizable movie characters. For Klementieff and Bautista, this meant joining the crowds while in full make-up and in character.

“It was so much fun to get to interact with people and to be just like, ‘Oh, what’s going on?'” she said.”[And then to play] aliens seeing these things for their first time … because yeah, for a normal human being, it’s already weird. So, for an alien, it’s even weirder.”

Holiday Essentials 3: Festive Tipples

The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special key art with Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Returning to the holiday party suggestions, Klementieff revealed that her preferred drink is a dirty martini, but added, “I don’t think it’s very holiday-spirited. Right?” With the right garnish and a cheerful disposition, of course, any drink can become festive.

Holiday Essentials 4: Seasonal Entertainment

For tunes, Klementieff turns to The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” and Jon Favreau’s Elf is her choice for holiday movie.

Back on the set of the Guardians special, she noted a certain infamous piece of holiday television was on the screen during certain scenes: “When we shot in Atlanta, there was the Star Wars movie Christmas special that was playing in the background but with no sound. And we were staring at the show and be like, ‘Oh, this is so strange. This is so funny.'”

Aired just once in November of 1978, the Star Wars Holiday Special featured TV stalwarts like Art Carney and Beatrice Arthur, the entire main cast of the original Star Wars, various musical acts, and an animated segment introducing Boba Fett. Reviled by Star Wars creator George Lucas and the butt of jokes for decades, it has garnered a following of its own across the decades — despite never receiving an official home video release — and inspired things like the Life Day merchandise at the Disney parks and, in some small way, the Guardians special itself.

Sadly, though, Klementieff has never seen the Star Wars special all the way through. “We didn’t sit down and watch,” she reported. Additionally, the final version of the Guardians special will feature an equally strange Christmas movie instead of the Star Wars clips. Well, maybe not as strange as it lacks for an extended sequence of Wookies screeching at each other, but it features one of the most terrible side characters ever featured in a film meant for families.

Holiday Essentials 5: People You Care About, Comedy, and — Fight Scenes?

Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and James Gunn behind the scenes of The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

(Photo by Jessica Miglio/Marvel Studios)

Getting just a few glimpses of the Star Wars special only served to confirm Klementieff ‘s appraisal of Gunn (pictured above right with Pratt and Bautista): “It’s his talent to be able to do comedy and to go very weird and very crazy, but still rooted in something emotional and heartfelt and beautiful. And that means something special for everyone. It’s like universal feelings. I think the story is so emotional and so special. You really feel for the characters.”

But as this is a Gunn tale, it also means Mantis gets to bust loose in terms of action and emotions.

“I think it’s really funny when the character goes from something cute to something [intense]. It’s nice to have the contrast to more layers,” she said. “And it was really fun to get to do some action, too, and some fights. I’ve been training for years and I really wanted to fight. So, it was really fun to get to fight with a candy cane, too.”

Holiday Essentials 6: A Spirited Setting

Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff in The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special

(Photo by Jessica Miglio/Marvel Studios)

One final addition to Klementieff’s hypothetical party is her favorite of holiday decorations.

“I love Christmas lights around the tree,” she explained. “It’s beautiful.”

Something similar is teased in the special’s trailer with one of the sets strewn in Christmas lights. “To read in the script and then see it in real life — it’s even better than what you imagined,” she said. “The set was so beautiful and so detailed. It was really cute.”

94% The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) debuts Friday on Disney+.

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