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.
…So, uh, congratulations, Anaheim?
Sick of Star Tours yet? Well, gird yourself for the coming week, because Disney cast members and now the public have been partaking of the ride’s soft opening. (Rebelscum has spoilers, as does Inside the Magic.)
The official grand opening on Friday will be webcast live, and there’s yet another (unofficial) report that George Lucas will attend. Confirmed celebrity attendees for the first weekend are Steve Sansweet, Anthony Daniels, Dave Filoni , Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor and Daniel Logan.
Meanwhile, the Disney Parks blog has a preview of the merchandise.
I don’t think a Lucas appearance is all that far-fetched, but Christensen? I remain skeptical. Whatever the case, we’ll be finding out soon.
ETA: StarTours2Live.com is now saying that Christensen canceled.
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.
The relaunched ride – which features C-3PO in the driver’s seat – will reopen at Florida’s Walt Disney World on May 20, 2011. Learn more about the “reimagined” attraction at the official Disney Parks blog.
I’m hearing that the Disneyland (California) version will reopen May 17, but that’s yet to be officially confirmed.
UPDATE 2/27: The DisneyParks blog says that the Disneyland Star Tours will reopen on June 3.
Photo thanks to Mianakenobi @ Flickr!
The LA Times reports that the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California is planning on opening a Star Wars themed area in Miniland within the park on March 31, 2011. The area will include 2,000 Lego models covering all six films and The Clone Wars. While the park already has a few life-size Lego characters, additional dioramas showcasing Naboo, Geonosis, Kashyyyk, Mustafar, Tatooine, Hoth, Endor and Christophsis will be constructed. Coming off of a top attendance record for last year, Legoland hopes to break that record with the new Star Wars area this year, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, which also goes in depth on what the planetary dioramas will depict.
On hand for the official announcement at Legoland were costumed members from Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion. Legoland isn’t the only theme park with Star Wars attractions opening this year – Disneyland and Disney World will both be re-opening the revamped Star Tours: The Adventure Continues for the summer.
California a little too far to reach? Legoland Denmark and Germany will also be getting the Star Wars areas later in the year.
A few Celebration videos to tide you over through our travel/recovery period. First up, The Clone Wars S3 trailer, above. Below, a commercial played in the ‘Star Tours’ queue for the revamped ride. (I hope someone bought those Ewoks some beers.)