It was last year about this time when Anthony Daniels (C3PO in the Star Wars trilogies), talking at the 30th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration, let slip that he had recorded some tracks for a new version of Star Tours. Needless to say, that generated a lot of excitement and speculation. Now another small ‘slip’ has Disney and Star Wars fans jumping again.
CNet interviewed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull special effects computer graphics artist Hayden Landis about his work on the much anticipated sequel. At the very end of the article they drop one more little nugget. Landis has now moved onto “another nostalgia-oriented project –a redo of the Star Tours ride at Disneyland.”
Alright! It’s about time. Remember Star Tours was initially touted as a new attraction with a unique film and ride system that would allow them to switch out the ‘destination’ frequently, perhaps even randomly based on which ride vehicle you stepped into. That was 1987.
This is 2008. It’s a whole new ball game when it comes to the technology in Star Tours. There’s the film (it’s now all digital), projection (plasma and HD have removed the need for that), and even audio-animatronics. About the only technology that hasn’t changed too much is the motion-simulator base, but even there advancements have been made in the industry.
Any new version of Star Tours will be expected to do more than just change the motion and destination of the current attraction. There will have to be randomness so that each ride is a bit different, multiple screens of interaction with crazy good graphics, and they should even consider adding in some of the Living Character Initiative elements as well.
I’ve even heard rumors that they’ll do the ‘new’ vogue thing with motion simulators and remove the roof for a finale that expands the mind and vision. (It’s not that new; Star Trek the Experience has done it for a dozen years now.) I don’t think the attraction needs that sort of finale. But I’d love to see something that really wows me at the end.
The thing is, if they’re this far in to the redo (voice tracks and computer graphics) then the ideas for the attraction must be pretty fixed. You have to wonder if there is some announcement coming up soon. Perhaps at the Star Wars Weekends coming up next month at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I think we’ve waited long enough.