Kevin Bacon lifts the trunk of his car, revealing multiple Christmas presents. He is wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, and sunglasses, and he holds two bags in his hands. Behind him is a nicely manicured lawn and dozens of lit-up Christmas trees. An inflatable Santa Claus coming down the chimney—along with a penguin and a reindeer—is on display in the yard.

Kevin Bacon Unwraps The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

By Zach Johnson

The Guardians of the Galaxy are now one degree of separation away from Kevin Bacon! The holly, jolly Marvel Studios’ Special Presentation The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special premieres Friday, November 25, exclusively on Disney+, and not only does it feature our favorite ragtag group of heroes—Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Groot (Vin Diesel), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Kraglin (Sean Gunn)—but it introduces Bacon—the actor himself!—to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

In The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, the Guardians are on a mission to make Christmas unforgettable for Quill, so they head to Earth in search of the perfect present. They find it in Bacon, “the great hero” from Footloose who taught “an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that dancing is the greatest thing there is.” (Those are Quill’s words, not ours... although who are we to disagree with Star-Lord?!) So, before The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special premieres on Disney+, Bacon joined D23: The Official Disney Fan Club to open up about playing himself in the MCU.

D23: How did you first discover you were name-dropped in Guardians of the Galaxy?
Kevin Bacon (KB): I went to see the first Guardians—I believe it was opening weekend by myself in the afternoon—having no idea that I was mentioned. So, can you imagine what that feels like, sitting in a theater all alone when all of a sudden they’re talking about you! I’d been swept up in the movie, so it was really a mind-blowing, out of body experience. I called my wife and I said, ‘I’m going to take you to this Guardians of the Galaxy movie. First off, it’s hilarious. It’s great. Second off, I got a little surprise for you!

D23: When were you approached about appearing in the holiday special?
KB: After quite a few years—I think it might have even been after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—[writer and director] James Gunn reached out and said he had an idea for a Christmas special and that I was in it. So, I said yes! I didn’t need any convincing to do it, believe me, because I know him. I know his sense of humor, obviously; I’ve seen his films and he’s directed me before. And then it took a few years for it to get off the ground, for various reasons. But when it came back around to me, I was so thrilled.

D23: You have a pretty physical role, too! How much running did you do?
KB: There was a lot of running—a lot of running! And it was funny, when we were shooting outside, there was a really strong attempt to keep it under wraps that I was actually in [the special]. We were in a neighborhood and we had to clear the street, basically, so that people wouldn’t see me and take a picture or tweet about it. They were able to keep it quiet for a long time. But yeah, I did a lot of running, I can tell you that! I’ve been asked about the challenges about filming, and I’ve done a lot of things that are very, very challenging. But this Christmas special was all fun—just nonstop fun!

D23: Your wife, Kyra Sedgwick, makes a voice cameo in the holiday special, too. How did that come about—and how does it feel to be bringing her into the MCU with you?KB: It was awesome. When we were filming the phone call, I told James, “I’m sure Kyra would love to do this.” Sure enough, he circled back about three weeks ago. I heard her in the other room doing her part, so it’s cool. It gives it a little taste of authenticity.