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Disney Parks Chairman Hints at More Marvel Attractions to Come

Variety logo Variety 5/26/2017 Lawrence Yee
© Provided by Variety

Guardians of the Galaxy” Mission Breakout! may be the first of many Marvel-themed attractions to find a home at Disney’s California Adventures.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek made the announcement during the opening of the attraction — which replaces the old Tower of Terror ride — Thursday night. In place of a haunted elevator, guests will join Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) as he tries to liberate the Guardians from the clutches of The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) on the vertical thrill ride.

“This is a momentous occasion, but it’s just the beginning of what will become a bigger superhero presence at Disney California Adventures,” Chapek said opening night. “And with the strong partnership at Walt Disney Imagineering, we’re very excited with what’s to come.”

While its unclear exactly what’s next, potential attractions are likely to be on the scale of the blockbuster films they’re inspired by.

James Gunn, the director behind “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the newly released “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” worked with stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Cooper on Mission Breakout! Filming for the attraction was done during production on “Vol. 2.” Gunn continued to consult on the project, from editing the scenes to handpicking the six different tracks played on the ride.

“These directors and writers are experts at the film property they work on. When they come and experience a brand new medium like this — that isn’t something really traditional or expected — they get to express the physical manifestation of what otherwise they only could’ve shown on film,” Chapek explained. “That is very liberating to them.”

Gunn agreed, adding, “It’s different. When you’re speaking to an audience in a movie theater, they’re sitting down, they’re listening. Here, people are in a ride. They’re afraid, they’re amped up, they’re excited. So the language you have to use as a storyteller is much bigger and more intense and faster than it is when you’re in a movie theater.”

When the Walt Disney Imagineers took the reins on the project, they had Marvel’s full backing. “We take these stories from the comics, we put them in another medium of feature films — which is primarily what I do — Walt Disney Imagineering comes and asks to work with us on an attraction. We share ideas and we share stories, but WDI knows what they’re doing,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Variety.

While critics may fear the Disney-fication of the comics, Chapek explained each brand would remain intact. “Everything we do when it comes to Marvel will be within the personality of Marvel,” the Disney Parks head assured. “We will not vanilla-ize Marvel.”

Given that it took just seven months to transform the former Tower — an existing attraction — into the Collector’s Fortress, the new attractions may come quickly.

Marvel has “Spider-Man: Homecoming” out this July, while “Avengers: Infinity War” — it’s massive crossover — is out in May 2018. These upcoming films may be the templates which new attractions could be based.

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