When Lucasfilm became part of the Walt Disney Company, it sparked rampant speculation about the future of Star Wars in Disney’s theme parks. At Disney’s recent D23 Expo, one presentation confirmed future projects were on their way, but offered nothing more than tantalizing hints of things to come. As fans wait to learn more, take a look back at the original collaboration between Disney and Lucasfilm, beginning more than 25 years ago…
Posts Tagged ‘disney’
May was a very busy month for me, not least because of a couple of trips down to the Disney offices in southern California. Becoming part of Disney is as surreal an experience for me as initially joining Lucasfilm was, as both Disney and Star Wars are lifelong loves of mine. In fact, while I was down there, one of the HR people caught me eyeing the new Disney Princess merchandise twice. How embarrassing.
Disney and Star Wars is not such an odd combination, though, when you think about it. Star Wars is in many ways a fairy tale — fairy tales are, after all, just different versions of myths. (As a kid I was obsessed with Greek mythology, too, so I’m definitely consistent!) These stories tap into something elemental, something cosmic. There’s a reason every culture has its stories that it tells over and over again. We’re all just trying to understand our place in the universe.
For the past 10 years, the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups have brought their costuming expertise to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for Star Wars Weekends. I’m proud to say I’ve participated in the past three years of the event and I’m excited to share with you a little behind-the-scenes knowledge of what it takes to march and what we go through to make it happen.
Today we’re pleased to announce that everyone’s favorite galactic smuggler, gambler, and scoundrel will temporarily leave Cloud City and board the Millennium Falcon with a course set for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as actor Billy Dee Williams returns to Star Wars Weekends for the 2013 edition.
Williams, a fan favorite for his portrayal of Lando Calrissian in the film saga, will attend Weekend IV, June 7-9, 2013.
One of Mickey Mouse’s favorite things about Star Wars Weekends is that he gets to dress in his Jedi best and join the galactic fun. Each year, Mickey seems to take on a different role in the official Star Wars Weekends logo. This year, his imagination takes him to the Forest Moon of Endor, where he is seen zipping away from scout troopers with Chip and Dale. Mickey’s wild speeder bike ride on this year’s artwork has historical significance, as 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi — the film that featured the Battle of Endor.
“Luke, We’re gonna have company!” — Han Solo
If your starship can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs (I’m still trying to figure out how fast that is), set your hyperdrive for the Disney’s Hollywood Studios sector for May and early June, for the 2013 edition of Star Wars Weekends.
This year’s Force-filled fun will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 17-June 9.
Twenty-two years ago, in the breakfast room at the Main House at Skywalker Ranch, I sat down to lunch with George Lucas and Bob Iger. Bob was then head of ABC, and George was pitching him on a new TV series called The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. ”It’s an educational show, Bob,” I remember George saying. “Nobody will watch it.” I cringed. Not exactly the best way to sell a show. But Bob said, “I don’t care. I’ll take that chance.” True to his word, Bob Iger stuck with Young Indy for two seasons, through critical success and ratings failure. In the process he won George’s trust and forged a relationship that would pay huge dividends far in the future.
I used to work for Disney. I’m not sure how many of you knew that. I was in the Television Animation Division, and I worked on projects like Teamo Supremo, Kim Possible, Lilo and Stitch: The Series, Dave the Barbarian, and Fillmore. It was an amazing time for me as an animation artist. Walking around the studio lot and seeing the influence that Walt Disney himself had on every aspect of his studio. When I started at Lucasfilm I saw that same attention to detail everywhere around me, and it all came directly from George.
One could say that I “grew up Disney.” My Dad started working for Disney when I was two years old and my earliest childhood memories revolve around Disney. Growing up in Orlando, Florida, with a parent that was a Disney “cast member” definitely had its perks. I got to go to the Disney parks all the time for free, I got in to advance screenings for Disney movies, my summer camps were at the Disney resorts, and I had special opportunities like going to live tapings of The Mickey Mouse Club. I bring this up because Disney was and always has been a MAJOR influence in my life and has definitely shaped the person I am today.