Star Tours has been closed now for a few months and Imagineers are busy at work getting it ready to become Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, the brand new attraction that will be the long-awaited update to this favorite attraction. Rumors of a May reopening still leave us a solid 6 months away from its possible reopening, but it's never too early to take a look at what is sure to be a very popular attraction.
It's best to start with what we know and move on from there. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will be a 3D motion simulator. Just like the original Star Tours attraction, Disney will once again use motion simulators to give guests the sensation of flying through space. The difference will be that the simulators will be receiving some upgrades to enhance the experience. We know for a fact that the film will be in 3D and in high-definition, so the old 2D film system from the original ride will be gone.
As for the story, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will take place between the Star Wars Episode III (Revenge of the Sith) and Episode IV (A New Hope). This will actually predate the original Star Tours attraction, which was set following the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Since things are happening earlier, we're going to need an older ship that what we were accustomed to. In Star Tours, we rode aboard the Starspeeder 3000 but this time around, we're going to be on the Starspeeder 1000, a earlier model of the 3000.
Disney has already confirmed that we will have no less than 54 possible destinations for our ride, which points to some sort of random sequence of where we could go. Locations that seem to be confirmed are Bespin (the cloud city), Tatooine (Luke's home planet), Endor (it's moon is the scene for Return of the Jedi film), Aldeeran (Princess Leia's home planet) and Coruscant (capital planet of the Empire).
We're also going to be seeing some new characters as well as the return of some old ones. The Starspeeder 1000 will be piloted by an animatronic AC-38 droid, but it is hinted that at some point C-3PO will take the controls. In addition, Aly San San (voiced by Allison Janney) will serve as a waitress and will also act as a "spokesbot" for Star Tours. We've also heard that the original pilot of Star Tours, Captain Rex, will make some sort of an appearance as well.
Last, but not least, the score (the music) of the attraction will not be composed by the famous John Williams but instead the score will be written by Michael Giacchino.
As usual, we seem to hear a lot of rumors so here are the ones we think have some validity to them. First, R2-D2 will likely be in the film in some capacity. Given C3PO is in the film, it's likely a safe bet that his counterpart will be along for the ride as well.
Other planets rumored to be a possible destination include Hoth (the ice planet from the start of Empire Strikes Back) and Dagobah (Yoda's planet).
In terms of the ride vehicle, there are rumors that the simulator itself will receive an upgrade to allow for a greater range of motion. The old ride featured a hydraulic motion base cabin with four degrees of freedom. The trade name for this simulator is Advanced Technology Leisure Application Simulator, or ATLAS. The new ride could have six degrees of freedom to it, which would allow for a more realistic ride sensation.
We also think it's a safe bet that just like in the original ride, this Star Tours flight will result in something going terribly wrong, which will result in a crazy flight through the galaxy. It's that or a 3 minute reproduction of Hamlet, but I don't believe anything Len Testa tells me.
That's the basics of what we can expect from this ride. With about six months to go at the very least before Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will open, there's plenty of time for more details and rumors to leak out there, but this should serve as a good primer to get everyone up to speed as to where everything is today (as well as a humorous look back months after the ride does reopen).