MCU Villain Returning for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Photo)

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Rocket Raccoon

After their pivotal roles in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Phase 4 of the MCU has been largely Guardians-less with the exception of their animated roles in Disney+'s What If...? Thankfully, that's all about to change. In addition to their anticipated return in Thor: Love and Thunder, the I Am Groot spin-off could debut this summer, while the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is confirmed for later this year.

Then, the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - which happens to be filming now - will finally make its theatrical debut on May 5, 2023. 

Even so, neither the big screen nor Disney+ is where audiences can experience the crew's next adventure. To do that, fans will have to visit EPCOT at Walt Disney World for the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind roller coaster where the rag-tag team of misfits will have to save the galaxy (again) from a certain Celestial. 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Villain Revealed

Set to open on May 27, the story behind Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is that park guests visiting the EPCOT's Wonders of Xandar pavilion will be recruited to help Star-Lord and the gang save the galaxy.

The attraction's 15-second trailer, featuring Rocket, Groot, and Starlord, has already shown Nova Corps officers sending distress calls from the theme park as certain members disappear due to "space and time rewinding."

Guardians Cosmic Rewind Rocket

But now, Marvel has officially confirmed that a familiar villain is behind this event, and it happens to be the Celestial Eson.

The first look at this attraction's antagonist can be seen below:

Eson Guardians

Eson first appeared in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, where he was shown having once possessed the Power Stone.

However, in that film, he wasn't quite as massive as he's shown to be in the image from Cosmic Rewind. He also possessed two more eyes in the film than what's shown now. 

Eson Guardians

According to Marvel, in this Guardians story, which is set within its own universe, Eson has been watching Earth for eons and is looking "to right a wrong in a big way." That's where Star-Lord, Groot, Rocket, Gamora, and Drax come in; and apparently, tourists too. 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has been described as both a "family-thrill coaster" and a "story coaster" that rotates 360 degrees to highlight story elements. In addition to being one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world, it's also the first Disney Parks ride to feature a reverse launch; and since it is themed after the Guardians movies, guests can naturally expect some Star-Lord-approved tunes while onboard too. 

I Am Eson?

While 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy was the first MCU film to touch on the existence of Celestials, and Peter Quill's father, Ego, claimed to be Celestial himself in 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 2021's Eternals took the conversation to a new level in expanding the lore and introducing audiences to Arishem

Considering how Eternals ended, it's safe to say that MCU fans will be seeing more of Arishem and the Celestials in the future and possibly in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Still, fans shouldn't look to Cosmic Rewind or its use of Eson as a hint of what's to come. 

While James Gunn directed footage that will be used in the ride while also filming Vol. 3, the director has also stated that Cosmic Rewind exists in "its own universe."

This is also true of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission - BREAKOUT! and Avengers Campus at Disney's California Adventure, which are both inspired by MCU-canon events but exist within their own non-canon timeline. 

Still, the fact that Marvel chose a pre-existing Celestial as the attraction's antagonist is a bold one considering their size and scale. Also, since Disney is legally barred from utilizing most Marvel characters in its East Coast parks, this attraction may be the only MCU ride Walt Disney World will ever have. 

Either the decision to use a Celestial as the ride's villain was an intentional effort to further familiarize audiences ahead of their continued use in the MCU, or it was simply the result of having too few options to work with. 

Regardless, Marvel fans will be able to see how Disney pulled off this Celestial-level threat when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens at EPCOT on May 27. 

- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.