Today on the Disney Parks Blog,Tom Fitzgerald, Executive VP & Senior Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, posted a sneak preview of two new droids which will debut in the revised Star Tours attraction in 2011. The first new droid models to be revealed — more will follow — are the StarSpeeder pilot Ace and a new spokesbot Aly San San. Click below to view high-resolution images of both droids at FilmEdge.net:
Fitzgerald explained that Disney Imagineers and George Lucas first had to set the time period in the STAR WARS saga when this updated version of Star Tours takes place in relation to the Prequel Trilogy of films and the ride’s own history:
But by the time EPISODE I hit the screens, we were all anxious to know what would surface in EPISODE III that we might build on for the show. Naturally, we were then curious how Episode III would complete the series. In the end, after numerous discussions, we decided to place our storyline between the two sets of Star Wars trilogies, giving the project the working title ‘Star Tours 3.5.’
Of course this decision now makes the revised Star Tours attraction a prequel to Disney’s previous incarnation which got its first landing rights in Anaheim’s Disneyland park in 1987. This approximated Episode 3.5-era in Star Wars mythology also opens up many storytelling opportunities which can borrow characters, events and technology from both trilogies with the potential of creating an entirely new look at the Star Wars universe fans have never seen before. A prime example of this opportunity is the design of Ace, the new Star Tours pilot:
This time period gave our show team the ability to tap into the very best of the Star Wars characters and adventures. But turning the clock back also required some interesting changes for the Star Tours show. The StarSpeeder 3000 would need to be an earlier model, the Stars pee der 1000, with a new pilot (especially since Rex, the original pilot, opens the original show saying it’s his first flight!).
Our design team created a new Tour Droid for the show, an AC Series pilot we dubbed “Ace,” with a personality as different from Rex as you can imagine.
Ace looks and is built like a hybrid form of Rex, especially in its similar head design and facial features, and C-3PO’s more humanoid body casing. Aly San San, voiced by actress Allison Janney, bears a striking resemblance to the waitress droid seen in ATTACK OF THE CLONES to carryover the Prequel-era design aesthetic.
Tom Fitzpatrick promises more droid revelations to come soon, including “a droid who really steals the show in the new attraction!” Stay tuned to FilmEdge for more Star Tours updates as they happen.