When we last left our heroes, Disney Imagineers Tom Fitzgerald, Tony Baxter, and their project team had collaborated with George Lucas to develop a concept for their flight simulator attraction Star Tours. In their story, the interstellar spaceline offers flights throughout a galaxy recently made safe by the Rebel victory over the evil Galactic Empire…but, of course, the proverbial “something horrible” would inevitably go wrong. For the ride-film itself, George unleashed the same visual effects wizards at Industrial Light & Magic that had transported audiences to a galaxy far, far away in the Star Wars trilogy.
It is a period of rebirth at Walt Disney Productions. Although the company had almost been destroyed by an evil empire of corporate raiders, a small band of freedom fighters led by Roy E. Disney thwarted the attack and restored order to the company.
New CEO Michael Eisner and president Frank Wells have dispatched the creative wizards at Walt Disney Imagineering to restore hope to the company’s theme parks in the form of innovative new rides and attractions.
Now, working from their hidden base in Glendale, a group of Imagineers including veteran storytellers Tony Baxter and Tom Fitzgerald has forged an alliance with master filmmaker George Lucas to bring his beloved galaxy to life at Disney theme parks across the planet…
Sorry about that, but I couldn’t resist. How often do you get to write your own Star Wars crawl? Plus it was a good way to quickly recap part one in this series of posts on the creation of the original Star Tours.
I had experienced true convergence. The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of my obsessions. Star Wars was coming to Disneyland. I was in high school and completely consumed by all things Disney and George Lucas when I first heard about Star Tours, a new Star Wars-themed attraction slated to open at Disneyland in January of 1987. Disney’s fabled Imagineers would be joining creative forces with the Maker himself to finally give the residents of our mundane galaxy the chance to blast off with R2-D2 and launch our own assault on the Death Star? I thought my head was about to explode just like that doomed battle station. No pun intended, but how could the stars have aligned so perfectly?
With apologies to Blue Harvest (in reality Return of the Jedi, née Revenge of the Jedi), I would argue that the tagline “Horror Beyond Imagination” actually applies to another, far lesser known Warwick Davis production. And I was the one who experienced the horror. Allow me to explain.
That classic Han Solo line from A New Hope — I committed all of them to memory at age seven — is the perfect title for my first blog post here at StarWars.com. That’s because it’s an amazing time to be a Star Wars fan. In fact, it’s probably the very best time in the almost 40-year history of the saga. In the next two years alone, Star Wars will be returning to both the big screen and the TV screen with Star Wars Rebels and Episode VII, respectively. But it’s safe to say you all knew that!