Star Wars lands coming to Disneyland and Disney World; Star Tours update, Launch Bay coming late 2015

disney-swland1-1000

During Disney’s biennial D23 Expo, Bob Iger stormed the stage to the tune of John Williams’ titular Imperial March to deliver arguably the biggest news of the Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios panel: Dual, 14-acre themed Star Wars lands in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California.

From the official press release: “I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Iger. “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

disney-swland2-1000

A true collaboration between Disney Imagineering, ILM, and Lucasfilm, the Star Wars land will be a truly immersive and authentic experience. Both lands will feature two signature attractions, one of which is piloting the Millennium Falcon on a clandestine mission. Iger stressed that every element would feel as if you were a part of the world: restaurants, storefronts, and entertainment would all feature galactic characters for an authentic interactive experience.

And yes, there’s going to be a cantina.

disney-swland3-1000

Later Saturday, during D23 Expo’s Parks and Resorts panel, additional details on the recently announced Star Wars Land were revealed along with more immediate changes coming to the domestic parks towards the end of this year.

Hyperspace Mountain (only at Disneyland)Season of the Force
Season of the Force will be a limited-time, seasonal event in 2016 at both Disney World and the Disneyland, bringing new Star Wars experiences to both parks. At Tomorrowland in Disneyland, guests will have an opportunity to partake of Star Wars-themed entertainment, food and beverages, and new merchandise. The popular Space Mountain coaster will be turned into Hyperspace Mountain with a temporary Star Wars layover in which you’ll get to experience a high-octane X-Wing battle. On the other side of the country, guests of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be treated to a new fireworks spectacular set to John Williams’ memorable Star Wars scores.

Star Wars Launch Bay
Also at both parks will be the newly created Star Wars Launch Bay that will be located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. The Launch Bay will be a hub for interactive experiences for guests that want to learn more about The Force Awakens, as well as an opportunity to purchase special merchandise and food. It’s expected to open late this year.

Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Tours
The ever-popular Star Tours: The Adventure Continues will see a new update later this year in both U.S. parks. (Information on the update availability coming to the international parks is currently unknown.) The anticipated updates will be include locations and characters from The Force Awakens.

At this point, the Star Wars invasion is real and it’s happening. I’ll see you all in the pit.

The Force Awakens news slim on the ground at D23 panel, but there Is a poster!

poster2-struzan-d23-crop

The big Star Wars movie news out of D23 may be Colin Trevorrow and Rogue One, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything about The Force Awakens There was an exclusive poster given out featuring Drew Struzan artwork – it’s not the final theatrical poster, but it’s certainly something.

I doubt they’d hire Struzan just for a con exclusive, though, so I expect this is only a portion – or a remix – of the real thing.

We also have the return of Daisy Ridley to social media – Instagram, this time.

Present on the D23 stage were Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o and Harrison Ford. And J.J. Abrams may have said that The Force Awakens is currently 124 minutes long… D23 being D23, and Star Wars being only a small part of the panel, so we heard a bit more out of the press room.

Head under the cut to see the full poster, direct from Struzan himself!

Continue reading

Rogue One announces cast; Adds Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk

rogue-one-cast

We got our first look and additional cast and crew for Gareth Edward’s Rogue One at D23 today. In addition to Felicity Jones, who was announced previously, the Lucasfilm confirms rumors of Ben Mendelsohn, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, and Forest Whitaker. They also added Hannibals’ Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, A Knight’s Tale) whose role is performance-capture.

Additionally, it appears that the ‘Anthology’ branding has been somewhat dropped: The official logo for the film now says “A Star Wars Story.”

Colin Trevorrow will direct Star Wars Episode IX

Colin-Trevorrow

As rumored last month, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow will indeed be directing Episode IX, the concluding chapter of the latest Star Wars trilogy.

“This is not a job or an assignment,” Trevorrow said in a statement. “It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had—a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope.”

“We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the Star Wars universe,” Kathleen Kennedy said.

The film is expected for a May 2019 release.

Rumors: Benicio Del Toro isn’t playing coy, and are these more Knights of Ren?

deltoro-et

Benicio Del Toro, who’s reportedly in talks for an important role in Episode VIII, told Entertainment Tonight that “it looks like it’s gonna happen.” Let’s hope that Rian Johnson is more forgiving of information slips than J.J. Abrams…

Indie Revolver has a collection of concept art that could very well be more Knights of Ren, the group that (apparently) gave rise to our pal Kylo.

→ You want leaked action figures? Knock yourself out.

→ After dropping a big bombshell on fandom last night, Star Wars 7 News plays it a bit safer today, with… The film’s marketing plan. Their apparent willingness to leak images aside, I don’t find SW7N the most trustworthy site, but the bit about “a mandate from the absolute top down” rings fairly true.

D23 Expo begins: George Lucas becomes a Disney Legend


Disney’s own convention, D23 Expo, began today in Anaheim, and George Lucas was inducted as an official Disney Legend. (Bonus: Be sure to check your Star Wars app for a George emoji.)

Of course, The Force Awakens has a sizable presence on the con floor, where the highlight may very well be Captain Phasma’s armor.

At least she is today: We can certainly expect something from the live-action panel tomorrow. Our own Mandy will be there! legend

J.J. Abrams: Simon Pegg “was an honest, critical friend” on The Force Awakens

tfa-bts-pegg

Entertainment Weekly dropped their last 3 Fall Movie Preview stories today. First up, the reveal of Simon Pegg’s role… Sort of. It’s not so much who he’s playing (“he won’t be recognizable,” J.J. Abrams says) but what he was doing behind the scenes.

“He was a sounding board,” Abrams says. “He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help… We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine – but not just blindly supportive. He was an honest, critical friend. And he wasn’t so close to it that he became immune to things. He would come in with fresh eyes and very smart ideas. He’s one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless.”

→ EW asks who the film’s “Ralph McQuarrie” is. Abrams points not only to the actual Ralph McQuarrie and his work for the original trilogy, but production designer Rick Carter.

Abrams adresses the fandom, keeping secrets, Ben Burtt, Andy Serkis and fear. He confirms that some of the things they’ve already put out are red herrings.

Doctor Who’s Tom Baker coming to Star Wars?

Tom Baker with Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith in 2013's 'The Day of the Doctor'

Could Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor on Doctor Who, be the second (official) Doctor to come to Star Wars? “I’m going to be in this new Star Wars thing, you know,” he told fans at a recent convention, per Sci-Fi Fantasy Network. “I’m going down to recording some voices for this new character they’ve created for me, very soon.”

The article references The Clone Wars, but a voice part makes me think the mostly likely answer is Rebels. Or, if you want to go a little further, he could be lending his voice to a character in Rogue One.

One of Baker’s Doctor Who successors, Tenth Doctor David Tennant, voiced a droid on The Clone Wars in 2012.