Disney has put out a new behind the scenes article on their Disney Fans page detailing the upgrade of the Star Wars-themed ride Star Tours. Some of the things have been known for a while, and the article did confirm one big rumor (although completely spinning the truth into something positive), and it gives a good idea at just how big the upgrade is. Here are some of the key things revealed:
The article confirms that Lucas had the idea for the upgrade around the time of Episode I. This is where the truth gets spun. The article claims they delayed the upgrade until the prequel trilogy was complete. Disney buffs have known the story for a long time. Basically Lucas had ILM do a new ride film complete with the Pod Race back in 1999 and presented it to Disney. So the legend goes, at the time the Eisner regime didn’t see any reason to update a ride people were still enjoying; so they turned down the costly update.
Frank Oz reprises his role as Yoda, and “the original actor” is playing Vader; so I guess we can assume that they’re using James Earl Jones and not Chad Vader as Lucasfilm likes to do these days. There’s no mention as to who is playing (or voicing) the hologram of Princess Leia.
John Williams chose pieces of music for the ride film portion of Star Tours, while Michael Giacchino composed the music for the commercials and queue videos. The article also mentions some of the new moves the simulator can imitate such as rocky terrain on Tatooine, slamming into trees on Kashyyyk, and sliding across ice on Hoth.
Star Tours re-opens later this month.