How Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Ride Ties Into the Movies

The Disney Parks have made substantial changes over the last couple of years to start incorporating some of Disney's biggest franchises into the guest experience. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, while the latter transformed its Tower of Terror attraction into Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, based on the popular films from Marvel Studios. These are just the first of many changes featuring Star Wars and Marvel characters. An entire Avengers-themed land is on its way in the future, and Disney World's Epcot is preparing to introduce Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a roller coaster set to arrive in 2021.

Like Mission Breakout, Cosmic Rewind will be directly inspired by Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The characters, worlds, and stories of the films have all helped lay the groundwork for the new attraction. ComicBook.com recently visited Epcot to learn about the upcoming transformation of the park, and we spoke with Walt Disney Imagineering executive producer Michael Hundgen about what Marvel fans can expect from Cosmic Rewind when it arrives.

"The Guardians characters are awesome," says Hundgen. "They're fun, they're irreverent, they've got great music. And so it felt like: If we can take advantage of bringing them to Walt Disney World, Epcot was a great home for them. We've talked about that this is the first Intergalactic Pavilion at Epcot. We've got lots of International Pavilions, but we're going galactic with this addition. And we're introducing guests to the planet Xandar and telling them how it was formed, telling them about their people, their traditions; and getting to see some of the great artifacts from their treasures; and then Rocket, Groot, Star-Lord and Gamora, they all show up."

Cosmic Rewind takes place on Xandar, the home of the Nova Corps that was introduced in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. The main characters from the movies, including Rocket and Star-Lord, take part in the adventure that unfolds on the planet during the ride itself. The addition of those characters, as well as the overall feel of Xandar, will be its main connection to the MCU movies.

However, it isn't likely that Cosmic Rewind will take place within the canon of the MCU, the way that Galaxy's Edge is a part of the official story of the Star Wars franchise. Xandar was destroyed by Thanos ahead of the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Still, even if the ride isn't canon, its entire design is taken straight from the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

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"Anytime we bring our franchises to the park, we steep them in the stories, the real stories that they've developed onscreen," adds Hungen. "And so this is just another step in that evolution of how we bring these characters and franchises to Walt Disney World."

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is set to open in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 2021.