C-3P0 to Pilot the Starspeeder 1000, Captain Rex will Return!

From Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald on the Disney Parks Blog:

It was great to read your comments about the pilots of Star Tours on my last post. Some people really want to see Rex again in the new show. Others are excited about the introduction of the new character “Ace.” And then there are those who are speculating about a bigger role for Threepio. So, I thought it was time we set the story straight about just who will be in the cockpit in the new show. And guess what? You’re all right!

C-3PO and ACE

As explained earlier, all Star Tours Starspeeder 1000s are flown using the latest AC-series Tour Droids. And in fact, our initial plans were for our flight to be piloted by AC-38 better known as “Ace.” However, in discussions with George Lucas during the course of our production, we decided to take the story in a very different direction.

So…while AC-38 is supposed to be our pilot, by the time we actually take off, the droid sitting in the pilot’s seat will be none other than…C-3PO!

It’s one of the biggest changes and surprises in the new show. “Professional grit stopped me from yelling the glorious new storyline from the rooftops,” said Anthony Daniels recently. “It’s fun having secrets like this, waiting to share them at the right time.”

You’ll see just how Threepio becomes our pilot when the adventures continue next year.

This week, our Imagineering team begins installation of the Audio-Animatronics figures into the Starspeeder cabins at Disneyland park, and next month at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Oh, and for all you Rex fans, don’t worry – we have a spot for him in the new show!

Video of “Last Tour to Endor” Hyperspace Hoopla (Hoopla!)

WDWNT Reporter Matt Paul brings us the last of his videos from “Last Tour to Endor” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from back on August 14th. Time for some super-sized Hoopla!:

We hope you enjoyed our coverage of Celebration V and Last Tour to Endor over the last few weeks, many thanks to WDWNT’s Matt Paul and Adam Roth for the coverage.

Video of “Raiders of the Lost Jedi Temple of Doom” Show

WDWNT Reporter Matt Paul brings us to yet another special event as part of “Last Tour to Endor” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, here is the fan film of epic proportions known as “Raiders of the Lost Jedi Temple of Doom”:

Video of “Hyperspace Hoopla” and photo reports from “Last Tour to Endor” & the final 2 days of Celebration V still on the way, so stay tuned!!!

“Symphony in the Stars” Fireworks Video

WDWNT Reporter Matt Paul brings us to the one-time-only showing of the Star Wars fireworks spectacular “Symphony in the Stars” during “Last Tour to Endor” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Video of the extra-large “Hyperspace Hoopla” and “Raiders of the Lost Jedi Temple of Doom” coming shortly, so stay tuned!

What Disney Fans Shouldn’t Miss at Celebration V

In case you have been living under a rock, Star Wars Celebration V is coming to Orlando, and as expected, the event has quite a few seminars, presentations, exhibits, and events for Disney/Star Wars fans to drool over. Here’s an overview:

Last Tour to Endor

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

-Official description:

When Darth Vader moonwalks and Donald Duck sports Imperial stormtrooper armor, something special must be happening.

With a heaping helping of Disney magic, the Star Wars galaxy will descend upon Walt Disney World Resort from 8pm – 1am on Aug. 14, 2010 for an exclusive party to let fans of the sci-fi saga provide a special send-off to Star Tours before the popular attraction “powers down” in preparation for a new, 3-D Star Wars adventure that will open in 2011 at Disneyland park in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

But before the blaster doors on the attraction close temporarily, Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park will host “Last Tour to Endor,” an after-hours, private event that will feature live entertainment, Disney characters in their favorite Star Wars attire, a special Star Wars-themed fireworks spectacular, the “Death Star Disco,” Jedi Training Academy, Star Wars trivia challenges and more.

And yes, Darth Vader may even moonwalk.

The Dark Lord of the Sith and his stormtroopers, known to many Disney guests for their Michael Jackson-like dance moves to songs like “Thriller” and “Beat It” during the popular “Hyperspace Hoopla” at the park’s annual Star Wars Weekends event, will take the stage during the “Last Tour to Endor” for a special edition of “Hyperspace Hoopla.” They will be joined by a cast of Star Warscharacters moving and shaking to their favorite 1970s and 1980s dance tunes in the “Dance-Off with the Star Wars Stars.”

“Dance-Off with the Star Wars Stars” premiered several years ago and has since become a hit not only for Star Wars Weekends guests each year, but also for millions more on YouTube. (See more detail about the “Dance-Off” at the “Last Tour to Endor” party below, including the scheduled cast of characters and tune selections.)

And while the Star Tours attraction serves as the galactic centerpiece of the celebration, “Last Tour to Endor” guests also will be able to enjoy other Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions during the evening, including The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, “The American Idol Experience,” Toy Story Mania, the Great Movie Ride and more.

“Last Tour to Endor” tickets are $75 in advance, and will be $89 at the gate (if available). Advance tickets may be purchased online at starwarscelebration.com.

StarWars.com interview with Jason Surrell about the event:

StarWars.com chats with one of show directors for the Last Tour to Endor event — Jason Surrell (Senior Show Writer and Show Director for Walt Disney Creative Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering) about what fans can expect from this special Last Tour to Endor event.

Why is the Last Tour to Endor such a special event for a Star Wars fan to attend? What are some of the key benefits that you think fans will enjoy most from this event?

As any Star Wars fan knows, Star Wars Celebration V — like the four before it — is the ultimate Star Wars fan experience, but this time it’s taking place in Walt Disney World’s backyard. Since Star Tours is the ultimate Star Wars thrill ride, we wanted to give fans the chance to “be among the first to be the last” to experience the attraction one last time before it “powers down” to make way for the new and “reimagineered” version of Star Tours, which is set to make its debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2011.

We’re going to send Star Tours off in classic Disney style — with a little help from some favorite Star Wars characters — so fans aren’t going to want to miss that. That’s reason enough for a lot of fans to attend the party, but we’ve created an entire evening of live shows and events around this historic moment. On behalf of the entire creative team, I can tell you that Last Tour to Endor truly is an experience that has been created “by the fans, for the fans.”

Disney is known for incredible fireworks spectaculars. Tell us about this one!

Needless to say, a Star Wars fireworks spectacular is an idea whose time has come — in fact, it’s long overdue! We gave our guests a little taste of what we could do with Star Wars in “Sorcery in the Sky” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and “Remember…Dreams Come True,” Disneyland’s 50th anniversary fireworks spectacular. But we have been waiting our entire careers to design an entire Star Warsfireworks spectacular, and “Symphony in the Stars” is just that.

John Williams gave us some of the most memorable music in film history with his scores for the six Star Wars films, and we’ll be using the best of the best to transport our guests to a galaxy far, far away. But it’s more than just amazing music. We’ve also jam-packed the show with memorable dialogue and sound effects from all six Star Wars films, so odds are that if you love it, then it’s in there.

It was quite a challenge to try and tell the entire Star Wars story in 12 minutes, but I think we’ve done that through all the beloved John Williams music, classic lines from George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, and Ben Burtt’s sound effects that we’ve selected for the show. Everyone who has listened to our soundtrack has had a strong emotional reaction to it based on their love for the Star Wars films, so I can only imagine how fans are going to react when they see this show unfold before them in the skies above Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My only regret is that we’re only going to do this once!

Can you tell us a little about the Death Star Disco?

I know we’re all celebrating Empire’s 30th anniversary, but the Death Star Disco takes us straight back to the summer of 1977, at least musically! It’s no secret that Star Wars fans like to have fun — I’ve seen it at shows and cons all over the country — so we wanted to create a dance party just for them. We’re taking our design cues from the signature look of the Death Star, and the music will be all Meco, all the time. Just kidding! We’ll probably throw a little Bee-Gees and Village People in there, too! And remember, it’s the Death Star Disco Dance Party, so I’ll let you try and figure out what our mirror ball is going to look like.

Why do you think Star Wars – Disney fans such a special group of people?

I think the reason there is such a crossover between Disney fans and Star Wars fans is that the Disney “kingdom” and the Star Wars “galaxy” are built upon the imaginations of two of the most impactful and influential creative visionaries of all time, Walt Disney and George Lucas, so it’s only natural that fans have such a strong emotional connection to both of those worlds. In both cases, we’re not talking about “just” characters, stories or films; we’re talking about people’s memories and childhoods — we’re talking about their lives.

Walt Disney and George Lucas have helped shape who I am personally and professionally — they’re among the main reasons I got into the entertainment industry — and I know that I’m far from alone in terms of their inspiration. It’s only fitting that George chose Disney as the permanent home for his characters and stories — and that Lucasfilm chose Orlando as the site for Celebration V — and we’re going to honor those choices with an evening of amazing entertainment for Star Wars fans.

Star Wars Celebration V is obviously a “must-attend” event for anyStar Wars fan, and the Star Wars fans among us here at Disney have pulled out all the stops to make the Last Tour to Endor a “must attend” part of Celebration V. We know that there are going to be all kinds of demands for their attention throughout those four days in August, and I can tell you as a hardcore fan myself that they will not want to miss the event we’re putting together for them. If I wasn’t working on the Last Tour to Endor, then I’d be attending it, I can tell you that!

-Indiana Jones and Star Wars collide for one night at “Last Tour to Endor”:

Celebration V
-There are two exciting events taking place at Celebration V that are directly Disney related:

Thursday, August 12th
The Creative Force at Disney: From Star Tours to Indiana Jones Adventure
Join author, screenwriter and Walt Disney Imagineer Jason Surrell for a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the classic Disney attractions. Jason will recount the history of the blockbuster attraction through rare Disney concept art, and offer an exclusive sneak peek at the “reimagineered” Star Tours – featuring the first film footage from the new attraction – as well as Last Tour to Endor on Saturday, August 14th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the ultimate Star Wars party at the ultimate Star Warsevent! 3 – 4 pm, Behind-the-Scenes Stage

Friday, August 13th
Disney Collectibles — What’s Cool and What’s Coming
An inside look at how Disney creates exclusive Disney Parks’ Star Wars merchandise, with insights from Disney’s creative development team. Hear an overview of Disney Parks Star Wars exclusives for 2010, and see sneak peeks into the 2011 line. With Brad Schoeneberg, Cody Hampton, Quynh Kimball. 12 – 1 pm, Behind-the-Scenes Stage

-Disney Theme Park Merchandise will have a booth in the Celebration Experience exhibit hall (#441) where they’ll have new merchandise created especially for the event. For an updated look at some (this is not all of it) of that merchandise, click here.

Be sure to stay tuned to WDW News Today as we will be attending all of these events and providing full coverage of “Last Tour to Endor and “Star Wars Celebration V” as soon as they begin!!!