Well, it’s finally official: Star Wars Weekends are no more. The event first appeared in 1997, continued in 2000 and 2001 and has been held annually over several weekends in May and June since 2003 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But with the park soon to undergo expansion – and a whole Star Wars area – the retirement is completely understandable.
Speaking of new stuff, Star Tours is getting a new addition: Jakku. If you go on the ride during “the opening months,” you’re guaranteed to get it; After that, it goes in the randomizer. There’s also a “reimagined Jedi Training experience” that will feature both Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister from Rebels. All this, plus the Launch Bay with The Force Awakens exhibits, will debut on December 1.
The Disney Parks blog has announced the starting date for Seasons of the Force at Disneyland: November 16. Star Tours will get a new scene inspired by The Force Awakens (probably Jakku) and the Star Wars Launch Bay will open. This will also see the limited-time reskinning of Space Mountain as Hyperspace Mountain and a new version of Jedi Training that will incorporate Rebels characters.
There will also be “an opportunity to revisit favorite scenes from classic Star Wars films,” which sounds like there’ll be no special The Force Awakens preview at at Tomorrowland Theater.
Details for the version at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando are forthcoming, but I expect most of this (except Hyperspace Mountain) will be doubled there.
→ #BEARDWATCH LIVES. Well, sort of. Mark Hamill talks about his Episode VII beard at Yahoo: “…face foliage is almost a part of the costume. And it does bring a gravitas, perhaps unearned, but nevertheless, it makes a statement that they wanted to make, and I’m more than happy to oblige them.” He also reveals that BB-8 is an actual prop, not CGI.
And I wasn’t able to get to this yesterday before the big news dropped, but Hamill also talked to IGN about the trailer, with lots of praise for the new kids.
→ It will surprise absolutely no one that today brings a report that Star Tours is going to get a new mission related to the new films. My only real question: When will it be added? Because wouldn’t that be a nice perk for Celebration Anaheim?
It was a big year for Star Wars: The movies got another overhaul as the long-awaited complete saga set finally appeared with the Blu-rays, Star Tours finally came out of the 80’s with a major upgrade, and the franchises’ most-hyped video game ever actually arrived. And the fans did some pretty cool stuff, too! Onward!
The International Animated Film Society released its list of nominations for the 2011 Annie Awards, and both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the new Star Tours theme park attraction made the list. The Clone Wars earned a nomination for Best General Audience TV Production, competing against such shows as Archer, The Green Lantern: Animated Series, MAD, and The Simpsons. Two voice actors picked up nominations: Dee Bradley Baker, who plays Rex and all the other clones (although the Annie nomination list credits him as Obi-wan Kenobi!) and Nika Futterman, who earned her second nomination two years in a row for voicing Asajj Ventress.
Behind the scenes, Joel Aron of Lucasfilm Animation got nominated for an individual achievement in an animated production for his work on The Clone Wars, while ILM staff picked up individual nominations for their work on Rango, and swept the individual achievement nominations for animated effects in live action productions: Cowboys & Aliens, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. For his work editing a television production, Jason W. A. Tucker picked up a nomination for The Clone Wars.
Star Tours picked up a nomination for best animated special production, running against Adventure Time: Thank You, Batman: Year One, and Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas, among others.
The 39th annual Annie awards will be announced on February 4, 2012.
A Twitter tipster told TheForce.Net that Hollywood Studios employees are being asked to cancel vacation plans for the grand debut of the new Star Tours because Disney wants “all hands on deck” due to George Lucas attending. It’s only a rumor so don’t get your hopes up, but if you’re planning to attend in Orlando, be forewarned.