More Behind the Scenes Stories

On the Set of Star Tours with C-3PO

Tom Fitzgerald

by , Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Things are very busy in the world of Star Tours, both here in California and in Florida as well!

A few weeks ago I shared a first look at two new characters joining Star Tours, and today, I want to take you behind the scenes and show you what we were working on back in April 2009. We occupied a large soundstage in Hollywood to film a key sequence of the new show. Anthony Daniels flew in from London to bring C-3PO to life on the stage, as well as workshop the script with our writer Steve Spiegel.

I spoke with Anthony Daniels the other day about what it felt like to be back working on Star Tours.

“Wow! Back in the gold suit for the first time since ‘Revenge of the Sith,’” was Anthony’s reply. “But on this occasion in front of a beloved Starspeeder, a bit like the one R2 and I’d repaired every day since Disneyland first opened the Star Tours Spaceport all those years ago. I’d enjoyed being a part of the original Star Tours, one of the most wonderful jobs I ever had. I’d been alerted that amazing things were in store for passengers on the new Starspeeder – and for me too – and so here I was again, working with many of the same creative teams, with even more spin and excitement than the first time.”

On the immense soundstage, our production team re-created – full size – a portion of the Starspeeder 1000, so we could film it from multiple angles. Later, the effects wizards at ILM, under the direction of Bill George, completed the scene, adding in a whole range of droids and characters, and expanding the scale and scope of the scene.

Here, for the first time, are some photos from that soundstage shoot. More on Threepio in our next post.

Starspeeder 1000

C-3PO Next to the Starspeeder 1000

Anthony Daniels Bringing C-3PO to Life



  • Well, I guess I spoke too soon. According to Tom’s newest blog post, C3P-O will in fact end up being the pilot.

  • I was there when the “Last Flight From Endor” occured in FL and I can’t wait to jump on the new ride when it opens!

  • Michelle–I’m sure that there will still be audio-animatronics in the queue. There were film segments in the original Star Tours as well.

  • I hope there will be audio-animatronics, which Walt used for storytelling to great effect, vs. cheap-looking films. Films are nice for some things, but what would Pirates or Mansion be if they ripped out the AA figures and put a bunch of videos in, instead? AAs are the heart of Disney theme park storytelling.

  • I tranlate your blog for the french Star Wars fan.

    Thanks you for all this informations.

  • Woot! I’m really looking forward to this new attraction! Now, I heard that there may be 54 variations (Start, middle, and end) and you never know what happens (For example, once you might start out in one terminal, fly and have to make a pit-stop on a asteroid, then land on Hoth, and then get on the ride again and you might take off out of the mantinence bay, then get stuck in an asteroid belt, then land on Endor)… any input on this rumor?

  • Anthony Daniels seems like an amazing guy. In every interview or anything Star Wars related I see him in he always seems so excited to be doing what he’s doing. I honestly don’t know if I have the capacity to wait until Star Tours reopens. I might just hop the wall outside the ride…we’ll see.

  • My former wife and I were lucky enough, being premium pass hlders for 25 years to get into soft oppennings for the orig ST four times< we went each week. At that time there were to be several destinations. In 1987 we spent the entire three day event at the park, sleeping anywhere, just to reride…over and over…Nice to see A. Daniels out of the mask after so long, glad he is new pilot…this is going to be very very special for both parks. I will buy an annual pass once again. Jazzed, and love all the new droids too, great concept.

  • Mark–
    Yes, the 3000’s were blue. But this is the Star Speeder 1000, as the new Star Tours will be set in-between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
    The original Star Tours ride was set after Return of the Jedi.

  • That’s awesome! I can’t wait to ride it next year!

  • Sooooooo cool! I was terribly sad to see the old Star Tours go though 🙁

  • Weren’t the 300’s blue? At least in Disneyland?

  • I am so excited about the new Star Wars Show.I’ve been a Star Wars Fan since 1977 when the first one came out. I love everyone in the movie. Can’t wait to see the 3-D version in our area. I’ll have to buy it for sure. Fantastic job to everyone who put Star Wars together from the begining!

  • this is so awesome!

  • Hello I am not James which is weird and Are they having C3PO there forever like a job or just for like a few months?

  • Loved all the pictures in this post, as well as the subject matter! Keep up the great job!

  • This looks great! Thank you for creating new experiences with these beloved characters. I can’t wait!

  • I cannot wait to experience the new attraction!!

  • Tim–
    No, that is not correct. The pilot of the Star Speeder will be AC-38, or Ace for short. You can see what he looks like by clicking on the “two new characters” link in this blog post.

  • finnaly! Star Tours has a new video! I was waiting for this!

  • I have a question. why does the nose look almost exactly like the 3000 in terms of color???

  • So last month there was an event at the Disneyland hotel on 9/17 called the Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom Event. The event featured several veteran imagineers, and one of them mentioned that C3PO will be the new pilot in the Star Speeder. There were about 300 people in attendance, and none of the other imagineers corrected him. Is this correct?

  • I echo “Thanks for these updates”! It will great to be on Star Tours again. 🙂 I have a trip booked arriving in WDW May 19th & staying 4 nights to hopefully give ST2 it a spin & attend SWW for our first time- fingers crossed both happen that weekend…

  • Um…. Dur?

  • That is so cool! 🙂

    Thank you so much for this great blog series Tom!

  • AMAZING!!!!!

  • Cool! I can’t wait to ride it!

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