It’s been a roller coaster ride of a holiday season! Rogue One opened and quickly became the number two box office movie of 2016 domestically and fifth worldwide (so far). And the passing of Carrie Fisher shattered us. Let’s jump into 2017 with a look at what’s happening this week in Star Wars Land.

Season Of The Force Returns

The Tomorrowland sign on the former Peoplemover track surprisingly changed back to the Season Of The Force this week. It had been “Tomorrowland” since September when Hyperspace Mountain changed to Ghost Galaxy for Halloweentime. That sign and the addition of Rogue One banners along the PM track that bisects Tomorrowland are the only new items that are making this now the Season Of The Force (again). Seems like Disney is looking for a new rotating park promotion now that the holidays are over and there is no anniversary to celebrate.

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Star Tours 30th Birthday

I remember being…ahem…five…at the park with my friend when we came upon a new attraction at the Adventures Through Inner Space location. Star Tours?!?! A George Lucas Adventure?!?!?! Holy smoke!!! (That’s how I swore at five). The ride hadn’t had it’s grand opening yet and I had heard nothing about this fantastic attraction. But they let some people on for a short time that day. And we got to ride it. Amazeballs!!!

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Star Tours went under a major update in 2011 that gave it a 3D upgrade and traded in the central character, Captain Rex (voiced by Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens) for C-3P0. New scenes were added in 2015 in conjunction with the release of “The Force Awakens”. Today the attraction is not only the cornerstone of Tomorrowland (in California), but one of the two major features of Temporary Star Wars Land.

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There was no special event to commemorate the anniversary, but (of course) there were merchandise opportunities.

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Princess Leia In Episode IX

 Leia

Carrie Fisher’s tragic death on December 27 has not only devastated the world, but has also left Star Wars producers in a quandary. She had finished filming Episode VIII and had two key scenes: a reunion with Luke Skywalker and a confrontation with Kylo Ren. She is rumored to have a larger role in Episode IX, which begins filming in 2018. Lucasfilm execs and director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) are meeting this week to discuss options for Leia’s role

It would seem there are three options: 1) Write Leia out of Episode IX. 2) Recast her with another actress. Or 3) CGI her.

The third option became a lot more viable after the success of digitally recreating Peter Cushing in Rogue One.

Peter Cushing

This situation raises the question, “We can do it, but should we?” CGI Peter Cushing is raising a load of ethical and legal questions. Is it wrong to keep Leia going like this? Is it too soon to discuss? What do you think?

Lucas’ Museum Coming To L.A.

George Lucas has been working on building a Narrative Arts Museum. He’s been in negotiations with several cities and decided on Los Angeles this week. The museum will feature items from his personal collection that include works from Norman Rockwell, Robert Crumb as well as props and art from Star Wars. The museum will be at Exposition Park next to USC, Lucas’ alma mater. The L.A. Times did a short video that shows the concept for the building.

Lucas Museum

Star Wars Land Construction

The usual Tatooine-like landscape of Star Wars Land looked more like Kamino this week. Am I right?

FYI...Kamino is the very rainy planet in Attack Of The Clones.
FYI…Kamino is the very rainy planet in Attack Of The Clones.

 

After spending the first part of 2016 demolishing the backstage area and part of the Rivers Of America, the site looked like this in September.

Nearmap’s photo from September.
Nearmap’s photo from September.

MiceChat created a graphic that shows what the area was like before, and what we expect the layout to look like when complete.

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[ View Map Large ]
I’ll refer to the areas in the photos by the geographic location in the aerial photo and the future development in the interactive graphic.  As the walls are going up around the perimeter of Star Wars Land, I may refer to the “inner wall”, which will separate the Disneyland Railroad and SWL in contrast to the “outer wall”, which will separate the DLRR from Rivers Of America and Fantasyland. We’ll start in the north and go clockwise through the development.

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The northern area of Star Wars Land will be the home of the Millennium Falcon attraction. For most of 2016, it was the home of a four-story tall dirt mountain that has since been dispersed into the new berm or hauled away.

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The northeast area is where the new berm separates SWL from Fantasyland. The Disneyland Railroad will go into a tunnel between this berm and the Fantasyland Theater after is crosses over the tunnel where guests will enter SWL.

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Are those holes to replant the trees removed last year?
Are those holes to replant the trees removed last year?

 

The southeastern section is where the tunnel will access SWL from Frontierland.  The DLRR will cross over this entrance and will feature the Fantasmic Backstage area off of the Rivers Of America.

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Fantasmic’s Backstage
Fantasmic’s Backstage

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The south section of SWL is where the DLRR will pass in front of a waterfall into the Rivers Of America and a walkway will go from Critter Country around the Hungry Bear Restaurant and into SWL.

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Look! The backside of rocks.
Look! The backside of rocks.

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This is where Critter Country will connect to SWL.
This is where Critter Country will connect to SWL.
And this is where the train will come out from behind the Hungry Bear Restarant.
And this is where the train will come out from behind the Hungry Bear Restarant.

 

Looking over the fence and through the knotholes from Critter Country, we get a different angle on this area.

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In the western portion of SWL, which is where the Battle Escape attraction is burrowing into the ground, the new backstage access road is now open and no longer crosses the middle of the construction area.

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That’s our wet and wild adventure through Star Wars Land for this week. If you want to catch up on how far the construction has come so far, you can check out the archives of Star Wars Land News here.

As Always…

Leia With The Force

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