We begin in a galaxy not so far, to the day in 2013 that George Lucas finally gave up control of Lucasfilm and passed the baton on Kathleen Kennedy and sell up to The Walt Disney Company, where it would join Pixar and Marvel Entertainment under that umbrella.
The announcement of a third trilogy of films, beginning with Episode VII in 2016 and subsequent spin-off films that will fill the bi annual gaps between Episodes VII,VIII and IX, wasn’t the only excitement to be found.
Obviously Star Wars has long had presence in the Disney Parks with a version of Star Tours found in every resort across the globes, including the upgraded versions,Star Tours:The Adventure Continues.
And in recent years we have had Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios in Orlando, but could this mean that the second most watched franchise in Cinema history would have more of an impact in the park structure?
The first addition would be announced for Paris where the Jedi Training academy will be added to Videopolis Theatre, something that is seen throughout Star Wars Weekends and also as a regular show in Anaheim.
Then came an announcement from Run Disney that they would be holding a Star Wars 1/2 marathon weekend in California,which would consist of multiple Jedi themed challenges culminating in the half marathon, that is to be held in January 2015.
But come the end of last week, this seems to just be the beginning.
Rumours broke on 12th June 2014 that the American Idol Experience in Hollywood Studios would be closing.Now that in itself wasn’t a huge surprise. An attraction with waining visitor numbers and based on a TV show whose viewers have slowly been decreasing should really not have been expected to continue to run in the park.
But it was what was rumoured the next day to be closing, as well as the closure of American Idol being confirmed, that was the eye opener.
The big rumour was that The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular would also be closing at the exact same time as as American Idol.
Now Indiana Jones is another property that comes under the Lucasfilm banner.Three films staring Harrison Ford (Han Solo in Episode IV,V,VI and VII)) is the titular character in the 1980s, which returned for another outing in 2008.
The stunt show has been a mainstay of Hollywood Studios, opening in 1989. It was the first thing I ever experienced at a Disney Park, as well as being a fan of the franchise. But recently it has taken some criticism for being dated.
The reason this sparked interest is because these two attractions are in very close proximity to each other, alongside the empty ABC Sound Studio, that coincidently houses some of the events of Star Wars weekends. In turn this area is also very close to the already existing Star Tours and this is where it gets interesting.
It now looks like the attraction are making way for the long gestating full on Star Wars Land.
Obviously not a lot is know about what this will consist of, obviously we will see the usual Disney elements, meet and greets with Vader etc, a themed restaurant (come on who doesn’t want to eat in the Cantina) but what else do we expect to see?
I can’t see the Stunt Show arena being drastically changed as a venue as a whole. I believe we will see a new Jedi based stunt show move in the arena, maybe set on Anakin and Luke’s home planet of Tatooine, or shoot out between the rebels and the Empire.
Also I don’t believe the land will be built without a coaster of some kind. For my mind I would love to see this based around the pod racing of Episode I. Whether that comes do be I don’t know, as obviously the prequel trilogy aren’t overly poplar amongst fans but do appeal to the younger crowd (just please keep Jar Jar Binks away from the park).
The other thing that I don’t think can be ignored is the popularity of Han Solo’s ship, the Millenium Falcon. I really think it will be included in the park somewhere, whether it’s in a ride or an attraction, I don’t know but it has to be somewhere.
I would also think that the current Star Wars shop, Star Traders, will either get a refurb or a completely new building to fit the new look.
The one spanner in the works is the new Trilogy. This will have to be included in the area but this is the challenge. Little is know about the new films and likely won’t be know until much nearer the release dates.
I hope this isn’t in the end of Indiana Jones in the parks, I still believe it is a better fit in one of the other parks.
So that’s where we stand with Star Wars Land (I hope it gets a new name before opening). Obviously nothing officially confirmed yet, but the attractions close at the beginning of 2015, which by that point hopefully more details will be known.
And until that point, May the force be with you!!!