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The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Confirms The Collector's Fate After Avengers: Infinity War

Contains spoilers for "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special"

"The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" follows in the footsteps of "Werewolf by Night" and proves Special Presentations are the way to go for Marvel Studios on Disney+. Just under 42 minutes long, the program follows mostly Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) as they travel to Earth to find Kevin Bacon so Quill (Chris Pratt) can be happy at Christmas. All of the Guardians — sans Gamora (Zoe Saldana) — are present in the holiday special, though, but prominent in its beginning and end.

The special starts with a flashback told beautifully via animation, where a young Quill teaches Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) about Christmas. Kraglin then tells Drax, Mantis, and Nebula (Karen Gillan) that story back in real life, where the team is standing on a balcony overlooking Knowhere. Kraglin seems sentimental about the holiday, but Nebula feels the opposite and says they don't have the time to think about something so trivial. She comments about the Collector (Benicio del Toro), which confirms the character's fate after the events of "Avengers: Infinity War."

Tanaleer Tivan appears to be alive and well

The last we saw the Collector, it wasn't really the Collector at all. Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the Reality Stone to convince the Guardians that Knowhere was still intact, and appeared to be questioning Taneleer about said stone's whereabouts. It was all a ruse, as Knowhere was already burning to the ground, and a holographic Collector waved goodbye to the Guardians as the background faded away. Anyone's best guess would be that Thanos killed the Collector prior to the Guardians' arrival, as he is revealed to already have the Reality Stone, but we never hear about Taneleer again.

Flashforward to "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," and Nebula says, "Ever since buying Knowhere from the Collector, we don't have time for trivialities like Christmas." Purchasing the Celestial head has to have come after "Avengers: Infinity War" and likely "Avengers: Endgame," as no one has ever mentioned the purchase until now. This would mean the Collector is alive and well if he's giving up real estate in space. But where is he? No one can know that for sure until Benecio del Toro pops up in another MCU project.

Benicio del Toro always thought the Collector was still alive

Benicio del Toro was never coy about the Collector's death. After "Avengers: Infinity War," the actor was promoting "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" when the topic of his MCU character came up. CinemaBlend asked del Toro about his character's fate, and he responded, "I think he's alive. Yeah... I think that, you know, I think he's alive. You're talking to him!" Of course, this was all open to del Toro's interpretation and didn't mean it was necessarily true.

Something shaky must have happened on Knowhere after Thanos arrived in "Avengers: Infinity War," however. Was the Collector even present to hand over the Reality Stone? Did he give it willingly for fear of death? It looked like Knowhere was burning to the ground, but what we see in "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," the locale seems better than ever. It would have had to have undergone a lot of reconstruction, but perhaps the Collector was ready to cash out when his entire collection of universal trinkets was destroyed. Knowing that he's gone from Knowhere, we might not see the Collector again in the MCU.

There's a possibility, though. Fans once hoped to see the Collector and the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) together onscreen, and maybe the former has headed to Sakaar to be with his fellow Elder of the Universe. Now that is a Disney+ series we can get behind.