Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy': How Did Nebula Get Bucky's Arm?

The Winter Soldier's vibranium arm made an interesting appearance in the holiday special. Director James Gunn provides an answer to why.

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Expertise Film and TV Credentials
  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
2 min read
Nebula and Mantis standing in a large area with Xmas lights and people in the background

Karen Gillan as Nebula and Pom Klementieff as Mantis in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, streaming on Disney Plus.

Photo by Jessica Miglio/Marvel

With its abundance of Christmas jams, a Mantis and Drax double act and the real Kevin Bacon, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special delivered a jolly -- if supremely silly -- festive romp.

Yet it didn't fully hit the mark. One of the Marvel special's jokes raised a few eyebrows for toying with another beloved character. Spoiler: At the end of the special, streaming on Disney Plus, Rocket Racoon receives a Christmas present from Nebula. It's one he's always longed for, ever since 2018's Avengers: Infinity War: Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier's, vibranium arm.

He did indeed "get that arm." How? Guardians director James Gunn hopped on Twitter to answer the perplexing question.

"I'm so sorry, but it already happened," Gunn wrote in response to a now-deleted tweet from another user. "Nebula thinks of Bucky as wet crepe paper. That said, she couldn't help tearing off the arm because she was just feeling so freaking Christmasy! PS No one forced me to include alien cyborgs."

There you have it. Nebula simply wrestled the arm off Bucky in the name of Christmas.

Gunn also confirmed that the Guardians of the Galaxy purchased Knowhere, the planet where part of the special is set.

"Although the Guardians are sometimes heroes, they work as mercenaries & it brings in a fair amount of money. So after Thanos attacked Knowhere they bought it from the Collector. It was a burnt out husk & they've been rebuilding it," Gunn wrote.

You can stream The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney Plus now, with The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 scheduled to hit theaters May 5, 2023.

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