'Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special' Features '90s Band in Surprising Role

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special dropped on Disney+ this weekend, and one cameo may have gone over the younger viewers' heads. Near the beginning of the special, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is approached by a band of space aliens playing musical instruments from earth. You could feasibly watch this entire special without realizing that this is a real 1990s indie band all dressed up.

Fair warning: there are spoilers for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special ahead! The people under the prosthetics in this intergalactic band are none other than the members of The Old 97s – a beloved alt-country band that broke out in the 1990s. They are Rhett Miller, Murray Hammond, Ken Bethea and Philip Peeples, but they are fully immersed in their characters here. The credits reveal that they're playing Bzermikitokolok , Kortobookalia, Sliyavastajoo and Phloko respectively, and together they are "Bzermikitokolok and the Knowheremen."

Bzermikitokolok and the Knowheremen may be fictional, but that doesn't mean they have no hit songs. The Old 97s recorded two original songs for this special: "I Don't Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here)," and "Here It Is Christmastime." Both were performed in character, of course, and co-written with filmmaker James Gunn. Gunn explained on Twitter how The Old 97s ended up in the special through his personal friendship with Miller.

"When I wrote a song for the [Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special], I asked my pal [Rhett Miller] to write with me [and] then said, 'What the heck, why don't you and the [Old 97's] play the band?!' Some of the most fun days on set ever," he tweeted.

In real life, The Old 97s hit the scene in 1994 with their first national tour of the U.S. They have released 12 studio records to date, all without changing their lineup. The group is likely best known for songs like "Too Far to Care," "Big Brown Eyes," "Barrier Reef" and "Question." They have been called pioneers in the development of "folk pop," "power pop" and "loud folk" as subgenres.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special brings all the film series' main heroes together for a heartwarming 42-minute adventure, including A-listers Pratt, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn and Michael Rooker. It is technically the final installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe "Phase Four," which started with WandaVision last year. Marvel's next big release will be Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on Feb. 17, 2023.