Since everything we do at Imagineering starts with the story, it probably comes as no surprise that one of the first things we set out to do with the new Star Tours show was to figure out when our story should take place within the Star Wars timeline.
The existing Star Tours show we internally refer to as “6.5,” since it takes place time-wise after Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Story development for the new show began “a long time ago,” back in 1998, and a story treatment from that year carries the title “Episode 7 – A Star Tours Classic” – referring to the Boonta Classic race that was to be the main feature of the show.
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.”
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 Starspeeder 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.
We also created a new “spokesbot” for Star Tours, modeled after the WA-7 “Waitress Droid” from the Attack of the Clones. George Lucas suggested the name “Aly San San,” in reference to Allison Janney, the wonderful actress who provides the voice for this new character. We had a terrific time with Allison in the recording sessions for the show – she brought a lot of warmth and humor to the part.
These are just two of the droids you can expect to see in Star Tours “The Adventures Continue” next year. And in our next blog, I’ll tell you about a droid who really steals the show in the new attraction!