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Published November 25, 2022

Introducing the Greatest Marvel Hero: Kevin Bacon

See Kevin Bacon in action in ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.’

kevin bacon

Stories have long been told about him and his heroic deeds, and now for the first time ever we’re finally meeting this revered champion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: say hello to Actor Kevin Bacon.

The long-time, legendary actor makes his MCU debut — as himself — in the latest Marvel Studios’ Special Presentation, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. In the special, Mantis decides that she wants to get Peter Quill the best present ever, and what’s better than getting Peter his favorite person in the galaxy? A plan is hatched to fly to Earth, find Kevin Bacon in Hollywood, and bring him back to Knowhere to celebrate the festive season. Peace of fruitcake, right?

For MCU fans, Peter’s admiration of the one and only Kevin Bacon is nothing new, as he’s been referenced before, most notably in the first Guardian of the Galaxy movie, where Peter calls Kevin Bacon, “a great hero” for saving the day through dance (something Peter than does to stop Ronan ten Accuser). Back in 2014 when the movie first came out, Bacon himself had no idea he was going to be name-dropped by Star-Lord.

“I went to Guardians opening weekend in the afternoon alone and had no idea what was coming,” Bacon recalls to Marvel.com. “If you can imagine sitting there and hearing Peter start to talk about you when you're already deeply entrenched in this movie — and not only that, it's one thing if it was a regular romantic comedy and somebody had made a passing reference, but when it's an actual other universe, it's a pretty out of body experience.”

Exiting the movie, Bacon called his wife and told her that she needed to see it herself. “I said, ‘There’s a little surprise in it, but I'm not going to tell you what it is.’ It's just one of those times when you go, boy, my life is pretty strange sometimes.”

@marvel Imagine walking into an MCU movie to find out YOU’RE the hero’s hero. #Marvel Studios’ Special Presentation: The #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Holiday Special, starring @Kevin Bacon as #KevinBacon, is now streaming on @disneyplus ♬ original sound - Marvel Entertainment

And now, Bacon himself is part of the larger MCU, too, having now appeared in The Holiday Special as himself, Actor Kevin Bacon.

Returning Guardians writer and director James Gunn calls Kevin Bacon his “favorite MCU character,” joking that if Kevin Bacon doesn’t end up an Avenger in the future, he’s “going to be really disappointed because he should be.”

“When I started writing this and I knew that they were going to go try to get one of Peter Quill's heroes as a gift, of course, Kevin Bacon was the first person I thought of and the one that's been mentioned the most,” Gunn tells Marvel.com with a laugh. “That was something that was a benefit of [the special] from the beginning. I called up Kevin and was like, do you want to do this ridiculous thing? And he just laughs his butt off and agrees was great.”

Bacon didn’t even see a script before he agreed to do it, having worked with Gunn before on another movie and knew whatever it was, it was going to be “fun and cool.”

“When James reached out to me about the Holiday Special, I don't even remember when he first spoke to me if he said I was actually playing myself or not, but I didn't even need to see the script. I said yes right away, I'm in, no questions asked.”

Talking to Pom Klementieff, who reprises her role as Mantis, he jokes that it was “fun to kidnap” Kevin Bacon in the Guardians world.

“To have Kevin Bacon as Kevin Bacon is the most hilarious thing because what does it mean in Drax and Mantis' world— it just doesn't mean much. They don't really know [who he is on earth]. Kevin told us he had a lot of fun working on this project because he hasn't done a lot of comedies in his life. It was something different for him as well and he's great to work with.”

Mantis is also the first to realize that Kevin Bacon is not actually the real hero that Peter has talked about so much, but rather an actor, something that actually disgusts all the Guardians. “I loved filming the scenes so much and I thought it was so funny because also in real life, I think that sometimes actors take themselves so seriously that it's funny to just kind of make fun of that.”

Thankfully, all’s well that ends well for the Guardians and Kevin Bacon, and he ends up spending a wonderful little holiday with them — before heading back to Earth, of course. And his parting message to the galaxy-saving heroes, “See you at Easter,” only solidifies that he’s part of the larger Guardians family now, too, and is game for more upcoming celebrations.

“I can do any holidays they want.  Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, anything, I'm ready.”

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is now streaming on Disney+.

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