Following up last week’s initial report that an expanded Star Wars area at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios is in the works, Comic Book Movie is claiming to have some details… And they’re a bit underwhelming, though certainly happy news to those of you with kids. CBM’s source says that they’ll be moving the Jedi Training Academy indoors and adding a ride for younger children.
No restaurant, no museum, no older-skewing ride aside from the existing Star Tours… At least not yet. Maybe these are simply the only plans that have been approved so far? It’s early yet, and this is only a rumor, so I wouldn’t put much stock in it just yet. Hopefully we will see more of a spread if/when any of this is ever announced officially.
Well, here’s a shocker: Robert Niles of Theme Park Insider reports that plans for the nigh-inevitable Star Wars Land is in the works at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.
Niles says it looks like a five-year project, which means we could see an actual Star Wars area alongside Star Tours by 2018 or maybe even 2017.
(Don’t let the image above get you too excited – it’s an old concept.)
Since this is perhaps the least shocking (possible) development in the whole Disney-is-our-master-now saga, what type of Star Wars attractions would you like to see?
Star Wars Weekends began down in Orlando today, and you know what that means: Dance-Off With the Star Wars Stars! Here are the first videos from this year, courtesy Inside the Magic.
Caution: Gangnam Style, Harlem Shake and Taylor Swift below the cut.
Or, the grass is green, but if you’re keeping track, here are the pertinent remarks from the Disney earnings call earlier this week, via Yahoo.
“In addition to the Star Wars feature films that we’ve already talked about, we’re also working on opportunities for television and our parks,” Iger said. “It’s still very early in the process. We’ll announce details as these developments evolve.”
We had a minor explosion on Twitter tonight as a few tweets sparked rumors that Bob Iger and George Lucas were on hand at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a ‘major’ Star Wars announcement. And thus Disney and Star Wars fans began using the hashtag #Igerwatch for their guesses and hopes…
Of course, TFN contacted Lucasfilm, who denied the whole thing. And so it was. The projected time of 9:45 p.m. came and went and the fireworks were strictly localized. Just another fun night on the internet!
Now our only hope for a big event-driven Star Wars announcement today is on the west coast, as the later screenings of Return of the Jedi at Entertainment Weekly’s CapeTown Film Festival commence. StarWars.com has already posted one report from Hollywood…
Or, of course, there may be no announcement at all. Who knows? Not me, clearly. At least we’ll have something more than puns for the next Twitter roundup, though.
Corporate shenanigans. Jedi News spotted an interesting mention in a recent Variety story on Bob Iger and who might suceed him at Disney: “Many expect theme park and resorts chief Thomas Staggs to land the CEO role, although there are rumblings that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy also may now be in the running.” Well, business isn’t exactly our division, but I suppose it wouldn’t be out of the question.
In other news, Kennedy and ILM have signed a “co-operation deal” with Chinese VFX company Base FX, both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have reported. Hrm.
Another name in the hat? Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation) wouldn’t mind jumping ship to Episode VII, Big Shiny Robot learned in a recent interview.
Randomly… Star Wars will be the first movie to be dubbed in Dine, the official language of the Navajo, KJZZ reports.
At CinemaCon in Las Vegas, /Film reports that Disney has said that they hopes to have a new Star Wars once every year, beginning with Episode VII.
Variety reports that they reiterated that the new Episodes will be released in 2015, 2017 and 2019, with standalones presumable aiming for ’16 and ’18.
This lines up with what we’ve all been assuming based on various comments during the acquisition, including CEO Bob Iger’s earlier statement confirming the standalone films. More worrying is the timeline: Standalones alternating with Episodes? I’m not so sure I like the idea of a new Episode every other year.
On the other hand, consider the audience: CinemaCon is a convention for theater owners, who’ll naturally want to hear about a regular slate of new Star Wars releases. The reality of film production may be another matter entirely… So we’ll see.
In a Rebel Force Radio interview that will go live tomorrow, Dave Filoni says he’s still with Lucasfilm Animation and touches on the next Star Wars series. IGN’s Eric Goldman has the report:
“At this point, I am involved in some early production discussions and exploration of what we’ll be doing with Star Wars animation in the future, which is really exciting for me and I have some friendly faces around me, of course, that are helping me on the project. So it’s a transition time, as I’ve said before, and I think it will lead to an exciting time and hopefully I’ll see things grow again.”
So no details, and clearly very early days yet, but at least it’s some further confirmation that a second show could eventually come into fruition.
Meanwhile, LucasArts, ILM and Lucasfilm Animation aren’t alone in suffering layoffs: Looks like Disney itself is facing a massive reorganization, according to Variety.
Slashfilm reports that Disneyland is surveying annual passholders about their potential interest with a Star Wars land at the Anaheim theme park.
Also included in the survey are questions about passholders familiarity with Star Wars as a set of movies, books and games, which trilogy is their favorite, whether they own Star Wars housewares and tattoos, and even quizzing them if they can correctly identify midichlorians, and perhaps most intriguing: which characters they would not want to see.
Does this mean that while the Orlando theme parks will continue their lead in having Star Wars Weekends, the original Disney theme park in California might be the first to get an actual Star Wars land?
And the deal is done. Lucasfilm Ltd. is officially a part of Walt Disney Co., the company reported Friday. For his part, George Lucas has acquired $2.21 billion in cash and 37.1 million shares of Disney, which based on today’s closing price totals to about $4.06 billion – a bit above the previously reported price of $4.05B. Lucas has said he plans to give most of the money to charity.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Lucasfilm to the Disney family,” said CEO Bob Iger. “Star Wars is one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time and this transaction combines that world-class content with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses and markets, which we believe will generate growth as well as significant long-term value.”
In addition to Lucasfilm and Star Wars, Disney also acquired subsidiaries LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, as well as an endless parade of blaster-toting Disney Princess jokes.