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How Disney Brought James Gunn's 'Swagger' to Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy Coaster

Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster James Gunn
By Savannah Sanders

This summer, the Guardians of the Galaxy are back in more ways than one! In addition to appearing in Thor: Love and Thunder this July, Marvel Studios' favorite misfits are also the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Opening on May 27 at Walt Disney World's EPCOT, Cosmic Rewind is a groundbreaking "story coaster," allowing fans the experience of saving the galaxy alongside the Star-Lord, Rocket, and the rest of the crew.

The adventure begins when EPCOT guests step inside the Wonders of Xandar pavilion to learn more about Xandarian culture and their advanced technology. During a presentation, the Celestial Eson seizes Xandar's Cosmic Generator with the goal of rewinding time; and it's up to the visiting Terrans - and the Guardians - to save the galaxy. Again.  

Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster Poster
Marvel

While Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind was a challenge in terms of its revolutionary rotating ride vehicles and reverse launch, bringing Guardians director James Gunn's vision from the big screen into reality was another; and according to Disney Imagineering, it was one they were determined to get right. 

How Disney Incorporated James Gunn's Style Into Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

When Disney invited The Direct to experience Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ahead of its May 27 debut, Imagineering explained that translating the Guardians of the Galaxy's signature style - which they referred to as "swagger" - was incredibly important as it's so recognizable and inherent to the property. 

In addition to joining James Gunn on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to film the ride's live-action footage, Disney Imagineering claimed they "checked in with Gunn" while creating the attraction and that the director also participated in the ride's "script reviews." Surprisingly, Cosmic Rewind features an impressive 75 minutes of new original Guardians content. 

Imagineering also shared that they "watched the original Guardians a lot" in order to replicate the look and design of Xandar. In fact, they included Xandarian shapes and its physical language in pretty much everything, including the ride's safety signs; and the design elements of the Kyln from the 2014 film can be seen in the ride building as well. ​​​​​​

A New Way to Experience Gunn's Guardians

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
Marvel

Even though Disney's Marvel attractions are not considered canon and exist in their own timeline, EPCOT's Cosmic Rewind is pure Guardians of the Galaxy fun and one hundred percent on-brand with what fans have seen on screen. 

Disney has long been known for its authenticity and attention to detail in its theme parks, and Marvel fans are sure to appreciate Imagineering's commitment to bringing James Gunn's cosmic world into our own. 

Still, this isn't the first Guardians of the Galaxy theme park attraction that Imagineering has created or that James Gunn and the cast have been part of.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! opened at Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort back in 2017, paving the way for the park's Avengers Campus, which officially debuted in 2021. 

But even so, it was important that Disney got Cosmic Rewind right. Not only is it the first MCU attraction constructed at Walt Disney World, but contractual issues mean it could be the last. Also, while Mission: Breakout! takes place entirely inside The Collector's Fortress, Cosmic Rewind was tasked with recreating elements of Xandar, portraying a massive Celestial, and taking guests through the reaches of outer space.

Despite such challenges, Disney appears to have succeeded, offering fans a whole new way to experience a Marvel adventure and one that stays true to James Gunn's cosmic corner of the MCU.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is set to open at Walt Disney World's EPCOT on May 27.