Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, not only did they buy Star Wars but all of the other George Lucas-owned subsidies. And that of course included Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the legendary visual effects house that began with Star Wars. So its not a surprise to learn that Walt Disney Imagineering is working with ILM on rides and experience, which may very well include the upcoming Star Wars Lands announced for Orlando and Anaheim theme parks.
A new report from CES seems to suggest that one of the new Star Wars Land rides will be a “boat ride” like the Walt Disney classic Pirates of the Caribbean. Could it be for Star Wars Land? Find out what was revealed, after the jump.
The report comes from the big annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Jon Snoddy, Disney EVP of Imagineering, apparently let some information slip that ILM is working with WDI on at least one of the new rides, which he teased would be “unprecedented, in a way.”
Business Insider reports that Snoddy seems to hint that one of the new Star Wars Land rides is going to be a “boat ride,” likely in the tradition of Pirates of the Caribbean. The full quote, from TheDrum, doesn’t seem to mention Star Wars directly however:
“It will be a boat ride where the boats are controlled down to millimeters to precisely align them frame by frame to this ILM giant projection that will be able to determine exactly where peoples’ eye are to give a sense of depth in 3D.”
It was also added that “Disney Imagineering’s robotics and ride know-how, they’ll know where the boats will be at any moment, down to the milimeter, meaning they can predict with almost guaranteed accuracy where a rider’s attention will be.”
I don’t think we’ve seen a boat ride use projection technology in this way before. It seems like almost every new ride at Universal Studios involves sitting in moving seats as 3D movie is projected on a wall. Its interesting that Disney is trying to employ this kind of experience in a moving tried and true ride experience like the classic attractions It’s A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean.
But Is It A Ride For Star Wars Land? Probably Not
Imagineering is usually very secretive about what they are working on, even projects that have been publicly announced. So it seems strange that Snoddy would reveal a new ride which doesn’t appear to have been announced. And while the quote seems to confirm they are working with ILM on an upcoming boat ride attraction, no where was it specifically stated that its for a Star Wars ride.
I’m wondering if Snoddy wasn’t clear in his delivery, as we know there is a boat ride planned for the upcoming Avatar Land set to open in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. Its also possible that Business Insider is just assuming the ride is for Star Wars Land because of ILM’s involvement. Unfortunately, Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Imagineering have a “no comment” policy on news on future projects, which prevents me from clarifying the report.
At D23 Expo, Bob Iger announced that the Star Wars Lands would have two signature attractions, “including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.”
A boat ride sounds like neither of those concepts, but could maybe fit the “customized secret mission.” Previously released concept art (above) showed First Order Stormtroopers running at us in some interior environment, which certainly doesn’t look like something we’d see in a boat ride, but who knows? Its also possible that Star Wars Land could have other rides outside of the two signature attractions Bob Iger promised.
Its also weird because there there isn’t any really popular water worlds to explore in the Star Wars universe. It seems unlikely they’d return to Naboo from the prequels and I’m not sure Yoda’s Dagobah offers much excitement.
Its too bad the snow speeder chase was cut from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as it would have made for a fun ride in a trackless vehicle.
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— Christian (@Tarihc78) January 8, 2016