Last Jedi Star Tours Additions!
On Friday I had a chance to catch the new Star Tours content added this week. The new content is Star Wars: The Last Jedi-centric. Upfront, I can tell you that the content isn’t gimmicky or shoehorned in. The new The Last Jedi content is some of the best additions to the ride since it was revamped into a 3D ride with multiple locations, beginnings, middles, and endings. I appreciated the timely addition of the content just in time for the new movie, something I really missed last year with the release of Rogue One.
The ride opened with See-Threepio talking about how flight 1401 isn’t ready for flight and Artoo should turn the ship around immediately. All of this content appeared to be identical to the opening of the ride we’ve had for a few years now. However, instead of having Darth Vader be our first encounter, surrounded by Stormtroopers, grabbing the Starspeeder 3000 and shaking it around with the power of the dark side, he was replaced by Kylo Ren who does the same thing.
Kylo now says “there’s a rebel spy on board” and a picture of a speeder rider was shown on the screen. He proclaimed her a “traitor to the First Order” and we are “no match for the power of the dark side.” Artoo then backed the ship out of the hanger and volleyed laser blasts at Kylo who deflected the blast with his crossbarred lightsaber. As we pulled out of the docking bay and headed forward into light speed, we could see First Order Star Destroyers replacing the original trilogy era ships which was all a nice surprise even though it was just a re-skin of the Darth Vader experience as I mentioned before.
Everyone wants to go back to Jakku!
The first planet we arrived on was Jakku. This content was added in time for The Force Awakens in 2015. Our speeder encountered Finn played by John Boyega on the ship’s side screen, gunning on the Falcon who asks, “Star Tours, what are you doing here?” Finn then guides your speeder into the crashed Star Destroyer on the surface of Jakku (while Rey–not seen–presumably pilots the ship). The Falcon does the maneuver from The Force Awakens where Rey exposes its belly to camera so Finn (in the stuck gunner turret) can blast the final TIE fighter. But in this scenario the Falcon makes way for the Starspeeder 3000 to fly into the wreckage of the downed destroyer. Our ship crash-landed inside the belly of the Star Destroyer and creatures from Niima Outpost looked at the ship while scavenging the innards of the ship (including that guy with the robot arms that drags scavenged materials). Threepio then got us out of that “dreadful place.”
The Wookiee Lover Returns!
As the ship blasted off Jakku our speeder received a transmission. The transmission portion of the ride is usually where Princess Leia Organa, Admiral Ackbar, Yoda, and BB-8 would holographically project into the cabin of the Starspeeder and give riders the next orders to get to the Rebel spy rendezvous coordinates, or in this case the resistance version of the same thing. The coolest surprise was Disney didn’t reuse the BB-8 from 2015 additions but instead added Maz Kanata played by Lupita Nyong’o. To my delight, Maz was decked out with the 1950s rocket pack we first saw on a Hasbro figure recently. She also has a blaster like the ones the Tantive IV Rebels have at the start of A New Hope.
While blasting her gun at off-camera enemies, Maz said:
I am Maz Kanata sending you an urgent message. The shadow of the dark side is spreading across the galaxy. My friends in the resistance need your help! Even you! Head to the coordinates I’m sending you and fight them! Now go!”
Maz adjusted and focused her space monocles and then blasted off with her jetpack while our speeder headed into the blue lightspeed tunnel. To my surprise–even though I knew it was coming–was Crait itself, the new planet from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Threepio asked Artoo “Are you sure these are the right coordinates?” as we passed over a salty mountain range and TIE fighters began to swarm around our ship, firing at us. Threepio told everyone to hold on and flew into the red crystal caverns of The Last Jedi’s new world. He blasted away the red crystals to make a path for the ship before blasting through the crystals onto the surface of the salt flats where the First Order ground assault was underway. It was sort of reminiscent of the original Star Tours where we flew inside an icy comet.
I had a Crait Time!
One of the most exciting moments was when Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, assisted us on this part of the adventure from the surface with his Ski Speeder. Now we had to fly up against the new Gorilla Walkers. Poe said “keep it tight” while he guided us through the battle. But the Skis were kicking up the red deposits from the surface of the planet, blocking the front viewscreen of our ship. Threepio told Artoo to do something and he basically turned on windshield wipers that cleared the screen of the red debris. However, now we were flying directly into the side line of the walkers, right between their legs, trying not to get stepped on.
This is when the next surprise cameo occurred. General Hux, played by Domhnall Gleeson, took over on our ship’s side screen saying “Star Tours, you shouldn’t have come… Execute them.” This presumably angered Artoo who then took a second pass on the walkers, blowing one up and pleasing Poe Dameron who cheerfully said “I’ll take it from here!” as we zoomed off world and beyond the First Order Star Destroyers in space (which can be seen from the surface of Crait).
I’ve been to the Galaxy’s Edge. Sort of.
The big surprise was that we ended up at Batuu which is the setting for Disneyland’s new Star Wars park “Galaxy’s Edge” coming in 2019:
We had a quick flyby of the new area and I got a feel for the vastness of the new park. Seeing the model at D23 was really rad, but this was the first time the enormity of the park clicked for me. There was so much to see but I noticed two BB droids rolling around and bumping into one another and I’m pretty sure I saw IG-88 just hanging out looking for a bounty. The view screen then closed off and Threepio complained about the adventure.
Sequel Trilogy Star Tours Feels good!
My wife rode the ride while I watched the kids like she did for me. However, her opening had the Falcon with The Last Jedi radar and First Order stormtroopers at the start. That appears to be a new skin for the old Han Solo version. She didn’t notice if Rey or Chewbacca were on the ground at the entrance of the ship. It appears there are only two new openings and I got one while she got the other.
The “sequel trilogy’ experience feels pretty good right now. On one flight I encountered Finn, Maz, Poe, and Hux. I have to admit that in 2015 when they added Finn it was nice but brief. Now, the experience feels fully immersed in the new trilogy’s content. The best part is the new content is some of the best the ride has to offer. Kids growing up with the sequel trilogy have the best possible version of Star Tours that could exist right now and the ride is being treated with the reverence it deserves. The simulator was smooth and exciting and there were no hiccups or weakness like the Kashyyyk addition which feels tired and wanting to me.
I can’t wait to go again.
Check out the MakingStarWars.net Instagram for “Galaxy’s Edge” updates: