James Gunn's Return To Disney Goes Beyond Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout

When big news hits, as you might imagine, things at CinemaBlend go a little bonkers. Everybody goes slightly crazy as we all try to make sure we have all our bases covered. Things went crazy like that last summer when the word came down that Disney had dropped James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and they went that way again just now as the news came out that he's back. While this news is huge for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fact is that Gunn's involvement with these characters went beyond two, and now one day, three movies. James Gunn's return is going to be very good news for Disney's theme park business as well, because the Guardians of the Galaxy are a big part of that.

James Gunn was directly involved in the development of Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout, the first marvel themed attraction at a Disney theme park. In fact, he directed the video sequences of the ride while he was in production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Right now, a major new E-ticket attraction is under construction at Epcot at Walt Disney World. It's a Guardians of the Galaxy themed roller coaster. While most of the details of the experience itself have yet to be confirmed, beyond some cool technical stuff, we fully expect the MCU versions of these characters to feature prominently. The initial indication was that James Gunn and the Guardians actors would film whatever sequences were required for the attraction while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was in production. When Gunn left the job and the movie was put on indefinite hold, it was far from clear what that meant for the theme park attraction.

The ride has something of a hard deadline. While no official opening date has been given, the ride has been promised to be open in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, which will be in 2021.

While we have no idea at this point when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be going into production, we do know that it will happen sometime after The Suicide Squad aka Suicide Squad 2 is completed. With that film looking at a summer 2021 release date, Gunn might not even get around to Guardians 3 until the end of 2021 or so.

Still, I would fully expect James Gunn to spearhead whatever production is necessary for the new Epcot attraction. This means that Gunn's first work back with Disney might not actually be Guardians of the Galaxy 3, it could actually be whatever theme park work is required. It likely can't wait until the movie goes into full production and will probably be handled separately.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are an important part of Disney's plans for Marvel, as the team is one of the few parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Disney can use freely due to old agreements Marvel made with Universal theme parks before the company was purchased by Disney. At the same time, no part of the MCU is as closely tied to a single creator as the Guardians are to James Gunn.

One of the nice things about Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout is that the structure of the experience allows for new content to be filmed and added to the ride over time. This is now that much more likely happen now that Guardians 3 is back on and Gunn is back involved. This will give the attraction the ability to stay relevant for a longer period of time, and keep guests going back.

What the future holds for the Guardians of the Galaxy at Disney Parks is far from clear, but there is now a brighter future to be sure.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.