New rumor for 'Star Tours'
http://www.jimhillmedia.com/mb/artic...le.php?ID=1397Originally Posted by Jim HillMark January 9, 2007 on your calendar.
Why for? Because that's the 20th anniversary of the grand opening of Disneyland's "Star Tours." And -- in honor of this very auspicious occasion -- rumors are now flying that StarSpeeder 3000 may begin flying to a brand new destination on that very same date.
Mind you, nothing's carved in carbonite yet. But "Star Wars" creator George Lucas has been dropping some Rancor-sized hints lately. Take -- for example -- last month, when George was speaking at the "3D: New Dimensions in Digital Cinema" event at ShoWest. When one of the reporters there attempted to pin Lucas down about "Star Tours" 's future, the noted director supposedly used some Jedi mind tricks to try & cloud that journalist's mind. Saying only that -- when this Disneyland attraction was finally updated -- it would be done digitally.
("Alright, Jim. Enough with the stupid 'Star Wars' references already," you say. "Just get on with telling us about what's reportedly going on with 'Star Tours'." Okay. Will do. )
Well, it is true that -- last month in Vegas -- Lucas did reveal that the next generation of "Star Tours" would be done digitally. But what George didn't mention is where exactly an update for this Disney theme park favorite would fit into his upcoming work schedule.
According to my sources at Skywalker Ranch, Lucas is actually quite anxious to get a new version of "Star Tours" installed at the Disney theme parks. Which is kind of understandable. Given that over six years ago, George allegedly approached Mouse House management about possibly putting a new ride film into this simulator. Only to have Disney's Big Cheese supposedly say "No."
Strange but true, folks. But the story (as I heard it a number of times from WDI insiders) goes something like this:
Back in late 1998/early 1999, as the dedicated craftsmen at Industrial Light & Magic are dropping finished FX shots into the work print for "The Phantom Menace," these grizzled effect guys can't help but notice how well that movie's pod race sequence was coming together. How the camera POV shots in that section of the movie particularly gave you a sense of speed and movement of Annakin's vehicle.
Which was why -- given how effective this part of "Star Wars: Episode I" was on a non-moving screen -- the crew at ILM then began to wonder: How well would "Phantom Menace" 's pod race play inside a moving theater? Like one of those simulators that Disney uses for "Star Tours"?
And quicker than than the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run (Okay. I know. I promised. No more obscure "Star Wars" references ...), the guys at ILM were calling their buddies at WDI. Saying things like "We just did Disney a huge favor. We made your new 'Star Tours' film for you. Do you wanna see what this stuff looks like when it plays inside a simulator?"
And -- of course -- the Imagineers did want to see what these effects guys were talking about. So arrangements were made to screen this section of "Phantom Menace" on board a moving StarSpeeder 3000. And it quickly became obvious that "Star Wars: Episode I" 's pod race sequence really would make one hell of a "Star Tours" ride film.
The only problem was that this was the Spring of 1999. And Disney CEO Michael Eisner had just spent tens of millions of dollars on the redo of Disneyland's Tomorrowland area. Only to have the public greet this radically revamped portion of that theme park with a collective shrug.