If you’ve never been to a Secret Cinema event, now is the time to rectify that. Started by a guy who had a dream as a kid to live inside a movie, Secret Cinema offers movie fans the possibility to immerse themselves in an interactive theatrical experience that allows them a taste of what it could be like to inhabit their favourite movie.
Set at a secret location, a detailed surrounding is created for you to hang out in – you know, eat, drink, be merry, speak to movie characters as if they’re real individuals — ahead of a screening of the movie the experience is themed around. Previous Secret Worlds have included adventures based on Alien, 28 Days Later, The Empire Strikes Back, Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, Blade Runner, Casino Royale, and Stranger Things.
Ahead of your arrival, you establish your character online and obtain tips on what to wear – for the full experience, cosplay is a must – before being met at a secret spot and escorted to your destination. Once inside, actors continue in character from the get-go and a narrative unfolds.
You can influence your experience by interacting with the characters and unlocking extra secret encounters within the setting. We went along to check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Live Immersive Experience currently running in London and were overwhelmed by the scale and attention to detail. Here are the five coolest and most immersive matters Fandom encountered on our visit.
1. Intergalactic Pole-Dancing Under ‘Real’ Snow
The first stop on our Guardians of the Galaxy experience is Contraxia, the snowy pleasure planet we see in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 where the Iron Lotus is located. It’s populated by Ravagers: a proper hive of scum and villainy.
As members of the Cosmic Seekers, one of several Ravager clans on the adventure, we feel right at home – and are rewarded with a near-recreation of the movie brothel, here called the Neon Lotus. There are no prostitutes, thankfully, but there is a bar, plus a DJ and dancers encouraging us all to join in.
Outside the Lotus, we witness one of the Ravagers impressing everyone on Contraxia with his pole-dancing moves – to the mixtape sounds of Hooked on a Feeling as authentic-feeling snow fell from above. Yes, it’s cold; yes, it’s wet; yes, it settles in our hair and on the ground. So cool.
2. Dispatch on Knowhere
Knowhere. The severed head of a Celestial, and home to the mining colony of Exitar. You’ll also know it as the location of the Collector’s Museum, curator of which is one Taneleer Tivan – aka The Collector, head of the Tivan Group. We’ve made the jump to the giant skull, and we’re subsequently hustled through the Dispatch door by our guide Knuckles.
The room, which is a kind of control room for the Tivan Dispatch Center, is manned by Patrick. He sits in front of a big console with several monitors. He’s nervous under intense questioning by Knuckles – the back and forth goes on for a few minutes and it’s wild (and funny, and superbly acted).
We learn a lot that moves the adventure on, but when one amongst our party swipes a prized possession of Patrick’s, we know we’re in trouble.
“It was just there, so I took it,” Sara Manzanilla tells us when we catch her clutching it.
“You can’t take that! Take it back,” I say says Switchblade.
Knuckles catches us rowing and stops mid-flow. We’re really in problem now. We catch sight of the Collector and since he’s in charge — and into collecting matters — we direct Manzanilla to take the object to him. He’ll understand. So off she goes. The Collector takes it, promising to return it to Patrick but actually swipes it himself. We see him clutching it later – a waving gold fortunate cat — when addressing the throng.
3. Arrested by the Nova Corps
I’m standing there in line waiting for provisions to be served at the food stall on Contraxia. A Nova Corps officer walks past in front of me and eyes me suspiciously. I laugh.
“What are you laughing at?” he bellows.
“Nothing!” I say, genuinely caught off-guard.
“Oh, so I’m nothing am I?” he barks. Come with me, I’m arresting you, he says and marches me — and fellow clan member, Fluoride — off. I protest – We’re waiting for food! He relents, and tells us this will be our last meal. He’s watching us, he says. He lets us go. For now.
I see him later. “I remember you,” he spits. I kind of want to obtain carted off tbh but I’m also a bit scared.
4. Yondu’s Sing-Off
Throughout the adventure, you can win points, or units, for your clan by trading matters like old CDs that you bring along with the Ravagers, or in our case, one of our delicious rosemary fries in exchange for a tiny troll in this instance. But you can also win units by taking part in challenges.
There are dance battles, and rap battles kept in the Ravager Ring but it’s when Yondu appears outside the Neon Lotus on Contraxia and engages everyone assembled in a sing-off that we’re really primed to take part. He leads everyone in a sing-along to mixtape hits and gets the room completely pumped. He’s promising units left, right, and centre, and I’ve no idea who wins but we have a good time taking part. Plus, it’s lovely to see Yondu Udonta let loose.
5. The Final Battle
They’re about to announce the winning clan, and we’re transported to Knowhere for the reveal. It’s here that the Guardians of the Galaxy, who we’ve seen here and there milling around (we even had exchanges with a super-friendly Star-Lord and a super-irritable Gamora earlier in the evening and were left a little bit starstruck), take centre stage.
As the original storyline that’s been unfolding since we obtain here comes to a head, the last battle breaks out with Drax, Star-Lord, and Gamora all engaging in wonderfully choreographed fight and action sequences that take place on raised platforms (a bridge, the Ravager Ring) and at ground level through the crowd — which at one point I’m even involved in. We obtain Yondu firing his Yaka Arrow alongside a heartrending (and very cute) cameo from a caged Baby Groot.
We won’t spoil the plot or the outcome, but suffice it to say we obtain some groovy mixtape tunes, the possibility to participate, and a stunning slo-mo sequence for the finale.
As the adventure concludes and we’re ushered through to the screening room, our only remorse is that the whole experience doesn’t last longer. Like, how about for the rest of our lives?
Tickets for Secret Cinema: Guardians of the Galaxy are on sale now until December.
Check out our post-finale interview with the director of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, who dives into Daredevil and that extraordinary last episode below.