Fans of Marvel's hit Guardians of the Galaxy franchise are receiving a pleasant surprise this week, with the unveiling of the Disneyland ride Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout. As the first Marvel-inspired ride to make its way to the United States, many wondered what it would reveal about the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while earlier reports revealed that the ride contains a slew of Easter eggs to past MCU films, one question remained - what could it tell us about the future of the shared universe?
According to Disney executives, not much. But the references it could contain are essentially limitless.
"It is distinctly meant to be its own universe," said Joe Rohde, a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. "The universe will grow and expand and there are elements in there that will link to a dimensional universe. We really tried to not simply reflect on an existing narrative but to extend narrative and expand it."
This was echoed by Dave Bushore, Marvel Studios' Vice President of franchise creative and marketing. He explained that the ride is a sort of amalgamation between the two Guardians films, with the possibility to include any number of elements from the larger MCU.
"It’s a whole new story. The idea that you have the Collector and you have all these other characters that showed up in Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and other portions of other films, and other things that go on across the Marvel Universe, it’s a whole story unto itself."
Nevertheless, Disney execs reassured that the ride is very much in line with the essence of the MCU - thanks, in part, to developmental help from James Gunn.
"In order to really believe they are the Guardians," Rohde explained, "you really do have to have the same directorial attitude about body movement, vocal performance, everything. That’s hard to substitute. It’s almost like an artist’s hand in a painting. You’ve got to have these people in there so that it really has that hand. So the action you see, the performance you see, all of that goes back to Gunn and his way of working with the cast to get the Guardians to be the Guardians."
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is written and directed by James Gunn (Slither). The film marks the return of the original Guardians, including Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) as Peter Quill/Star-Lord; Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Gamora; Dave Bautista (Spectre) as Drax; Vin Diesel (Furious 7) as the voice of Groot; Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) as the voice of Rocket; Michael Rooker (Jumper) as Yondu; Karen Gillan (The Big Short) as Nebula; and Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls) as Kraglin. New cast members include Pom Klementieff (Oldboy), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, Everest), Chris Sullivan (The Knick, The Drop) and Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight, The Thing).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in theaters now. Spider-Man: Homecoming lands on July 7, 2017, followed by Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017. After that Black Panther debuts on February 16, 2018, while Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018. Ant-Man and the Wasp is slated for July 6, 2018, followed by Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019.