Star Wars: The Last Jedi doesn’t hit theaters until Dec. 15, 2017, but fans who want to get a glimpse at what Lucasfilm has been cooking up don’t have to wait until then. Both Disney World and Disneyland will soon include a sneak peak at one of the key locations in the upcoming eighth episode of the saga.
Here’s what you need to know about how and when The Last Jedi will be implemented in Disney parks.
Star Tours takes fans to key planets from the movies
Disney is currently working on a new Star Wars section for their theme parks called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which will be sort of like the Star Wars equivalent of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019, but in the meantime, Star Wars does still have a presence at Disney World and Disneyland.
In 1987, Disney opened up Star Tours, a motion simulator ride that took passengers around the galaxy far, far away, mainly to Endor. This ride came long before Disney actually bought the rights to Star Wars — 20th Century Fox owned the franchise at the time. The original ride closed in 2010, and in 2011, Disney opened up Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, an upgraded version of the ride, now in 3D.
The ride features several possible destinations
The old Star Tours ride was the same experience each and every time you went on it. But with Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Disney decided to take advantage of the fact that the ride is essentially just a screen and therefore doesn’t necessarily have to take passengers on a fixed path.
The result? Instead of the ride always following the same blueprint, now, each of the major sequences has a few possible versions, with one being randomly chosen each time. When the ride opened in 2011, there were two potential opening scenes, and from there, passengers were taken to one of three planets: Hoth, Tatooine, or Kashyyyk.
After that, they were taken to one of three planets for the ending sequence: Coruscant, Naboo, or Geonosis. You’d have to ride Star Tours at least 96 times to see all of the possible combinations of these sequences (assuming you factor in other minor differences and not just the differences in the destinations).
Disney has added even more new material to the ride
Since Star Tours is a virtual ride, it’s easy for Disney to add new material to it without shutting down for months of construction. In 2015, they updated it with some new flourishes that were not present before.
Now, there’s a variant of the ride where Boba Fett shows up near the beginning. Plus, in the version of the ride where the ship ends up on Naboo, Jar Jar Binks now hits the windshield. Chewbacca was also added near the end of the Coruscant sequence.
Technically, Disney said that these weren’t brand new additions. They were actually designed for the original 2011 ride but just weren’t activated until a later date.
Disney added a new planet before the release of The Force Awakens
These small additions were not the extent of Disney’s changes to Star Tours, though. Back in November 2015, a month ahead of the premiere of The Force Awakens, Disney added in an entire new planet to the ride: Jakku. This, of course, is the new planet in the movie where Rey is from and where much of the first act is set.
Now, in the updated version of the ride, there are four possible primary destinations: Hoth, Tatooine, Kashyyyk, and Jakku. Because Jakku was added to Star Tours a month before The Force Awakens even opened, those who patronized Disney World or Disney Land during that time got an exclusive look at Rey’s homeworld before they saw it in the film. Finn, Rey and BB-8 also make appearances in the Jakku sequence.
Disney is now adding a new planet from The Last Jedi
FIRST LOOK – Inspired by Star Wars: #TheLastJedi, Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios & Disneyland park will take off to Crait beginning Friday 11/17: https://t.co/GZJAa3fLiy pic.twitter.com/q1hpCR5Bzc
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 14, 2017
No changes to Star Tours were made for the release of Rogue One. But now, ahead of the release of The Last Jedi, Disney will once again be adding a new planet to the ride. They recently announced that beginning on Nov. 17, 2017, the new planet of Crait will be added to Star Tours.
Disney did not actually specify whether Crait will be one of the possible primary destinations or whether it will be a location that passengers are taken to for the end sequence. The latter would make sense, as the final sequence of the ride involves a big battle, and we know from the trailers for The Last Jedi that a battle takes place on Crait.
The result would be a ride with four possibilities for the first destination (Hoth, Tatooine, Kashyyyk, and Jakku) and four possibilities for the second destination (Coruscant, Naboo, Geonosis, and Crait).
Crait is a remote mineral planet
You may recognize Crait as the planet that’s featured on the official poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In fact, the marketing for the new film has very much revolved around a white-and-red color scheme, and this is based on the design of Crait, a mineral planet with red soil that is covered in white salt. In the film’s trailers, we have seen a number of shots of ships flying along the surface as the red soil is dusted up, and the contrast of red and white is quite striking.
We also know that Crait is fairly remote, with director Rian Johnson telling Entertainment Weekly that the planet is “way out there” and “uncharted.” It’s evidently home to some pretty strange and exotic life, as the movie’s most recent trailer shows a crystalline fox running across the surface.
The planet was home to an early rebel outpost
Although Crait is just now being introduced into the Star Wars universe, it was recently established in canon that the planet has had significance dating back to before the events of the original Star Wars. A recent book, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, revealed that Crait was the home of a rebel outpost established by Bail Organa as the rebellion against the Empire was in its very early stages.
When the rebellion grew and the events of Rogue One got underway, the base on Crait was abandoned as the Rebel Alliance moved to Yavin 4. It appears that in The Last Jedi, the Resistance will be going to Crait, though it’s unclear if that’s for a specific purpose or if they’re planning to permanently move the Resistance base from D’Qar to Crait.
We’ll learn more about the history of Crait in the comic book Storms of Crait, which will be released on Dec. 27, 2017.
A key battle in The Last Jedi takes place on Crait
Jakku was arguably the most significant new location from The Force Awakens, and so naturally Disney decided to put this planet in Star Tours. So the fact that Crait is the planet from The Last Jedi that has been selected to be in Star Tours is telling, and indeed, it seems to be quite important to the story.
Based on the film’s marketing, we know that a battle takes place on Crait, with the teaser trailer showing Resistance speeders rocketing towards First Order AT-M6s, upgraded versions of the classic AT-ATs. The Millennium Falcon apparently ends up on Crait, as there’s another shot in the most recent trailer of the Falcon flying through the planet.
There’s also a shot in a behind-the-scenes video released in July that shows Rey on Crait with Finn. She’s wearing her new outfit, so this all suggests the Crait battle takes place near the end of the movie and is probably a climactic sequence rather than something near the beginning like the Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back.
Perhaps Crait’s role in the film will become a bit more clear based on its appearance on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, beginning on Nov. 17. Crait will also be added to Star Tours at Disneyland Paris on Nov. 22, 2017 and to Tokyo Disneyland on Dec. 15, 2017.
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