NEW STAR TOURS DROID: ALY SAN SAN?
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NEW STAR TOURS DROID: ALY SAN SAN?

Our own eagle-eyed reporter Dave Yeh has uncovered a very intriguing photo online from this past weekend’s Disney Pin Celebration “Trade City USA” 2010, held at Epcot’s World Showplace in Orlando Florida.


The photo shows a Multi-Pin Set labelled “Disney Robots”, and right there next to our beloved RX-24 is a robot named “Aly San San” who is identified as being from Star Tours in 2011!

(Photo credit: http://www.wdwnewstoday.com )

From left to right, the photo shows:
B.E.N. from 2002’s Treasure Planet
Carl [misspelled Karl] from 2007’s Meet the Robinsons
R2-MK from Star Wars Weekends
Rex from the original Star Tours
Aly San San from Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
EVE and WALL-E from 2008’s WALL-E
Maximilian [misspelled Maximillion] and V.I.N.CENT from 1979’s The Black Hole

Original photo credit to:  http://www.wdwnewstoday.com

“Aly San San” sounds like the Terran name Alison, but it doesn’t sound much like a droid name. (Ah well, neither did the numerical designation ‘Vuffi Raa’ the first time Lando Calrissian heard it.) And since two of the other names on the slide were misspelled, there is still a possibility that the name will be revised later on, so we at EndorExpress.net are using it as a placeholder until we get official confirmation down the line.

[Editor’s note: I would just abbreviate the initials to give the character a more robotic nickname, but… well, you can probably see the problem inherent with that plan! Oh well, it didn’t stop Revenge of the Sith from becoming ROTS, or Kingdom of the Crystal Skull from becoming… er… whatever it became. Heh. – Alex]

Design-wise, Aly San San looks identical to the waitress droid WA-7 from Dexter’s Diner in ‘Attack of the Clones’, aside from her paint scheme, so I think it’s safe to assume from the skirted design and the name, the character is probably a female droid.

And since we just heard a new ‘spokesdroid’ soundbyte in the CV-exclusive Sneak Preview Starspeeder 1000 toy, speaking in a female voice, could the faceless voice and the voiceless face possibly go together? Is Aly San San in actuality the new Star Tours Spokesdroid?

Let’s consider… WA-7 was never physically built for AOTC, she only existed digitally. (In fact, if I recall correctly, a human waitress was filmed on set, and the CGI droid replaced her.)

So it’s likely that a CGI droid might only appear in the new attraction on screen. While we don’t know just what sort of screens the new ride will have, the original Star Tours had screens everywhere: the queue’s video-wall, the pre-flight video’s overhead monitor, and of course the front viewport and onboard monitors of the StarSpeeder itself.

And on a screen is certainly where we’d be most likely to encounter a Spokesdroid, especially if it takes the place of the human seen in the safety spiel.

But couldn’t Aly San San be an actual robotic creation for the ride, like Artoo and Threepio or the other characters seen in Sector 2 Droidnostics? Sure, it’s feasible, but it just doesn’t seem as probable.

While it is possible to build an Audio-Animatronic character which balances on one wheel like WA-7 (I saw a nifty unicyclist AA on a pitch reel recently, and there’s also the awesome Muppet Mobile Labs from the Living Character Initiative), I just don’t see a digital creation becoming a physical reality with ZERO changes to the design.

Recycling the digital information of the AOTC design for a monitor-only droid is shrewd and cost-effective, just as the Imagineers were back in 1986 when they stripped the feathers from two Animatronic geese from America Sings to create G2-9T and G2-4T.

It’s also a very merchandising-canny maneuver, since Hasbro already has tooling for a WA-7 action figure, lying fallow somewhere in their factories. Here’s a quick digital mockup of what a possible Aly San San action figure using those 2002 molds might look like:

Let’s hope Hasbro hasn’t lost or destroyed those molds!

Speaking of figures, I think the pin set looks awesome, because I already have action figures of every robot in that pin set except for Carl (and him I’ve got as a PEZ dispenser, somewhere…).

Well, I think technically my EVE was a cake topper and my B.E.N. was a fast-food premium instead of an actual retail figure. But, funnily enough, B.E.N. has resided for years among my collection of Star Tours droid action figures, and in the first Star Tours diorama that I made, I threw V.I.N.CENT and a custom Old B.O.B in the background as broken droids.

And of course, Andrew Stanton, the director of WALL-E is on record as saying how the binocular-faced design of his star creation was inspired by the Goose-droids of Star Tours at Disneyland. So they’re all a perfect little family.

You can almost hear RX-24 greeting the newest addition to the group: “Welcome aboard!”

The Author: Alex Newborn

Alex is a lifelong fan of the Star Wars movies and everything Disney, so his obsession with Star Tours comes as no surprise. Born in 1970, Alex visited Walt Disney World for the first time in 1975, and saw the original Star Wars film in its first theatrical run in 1977. He returned to Disney in the 80’s and the 90’s… riding STAR TOURS (twice!) on one fateful day in 1991. He has yet to visit Disney in the new millennium, waiting for both his children to be the required 40″ tall to ride STAR TOURS.

“What I’d really like to see is a Tour chartered for the planet New Bornalex,” says Alex with a smile. The planet, mentioned first in Cloak of Deception, is a Tuckerization of Alex’s name, an honor bestowed on him in print by author Jim Luceno.

Alex is currently at work on a partial realisation of his childhood Disney-in-miniature wish– he is constructing a hyper-accurate 1:18 scale Star Tours diorama to showcase his collection of park-exclusive action figures.

In the meantime, Alex is always on the lookout for more STAR TOURS video or audio files, and other STAR TOURS memoribilia. Alex also is our site’s researcher, and comes with never seen before goodies, for your entertainment. Give him a round of applause guys.

Comments 14

  1. David Yeh
    Sep 1, 2010

    Fascinating! I always hated the design of the WA-7 Droid because it reminded me too much of a mash of Rosie the Robot and Gizmo Duck. Just seems really impractical with how thin those tires are.

  2. Novahawk
    Sep 1, 2010

    Hmmm. They probably have FLO molds still around somewhere. AoTC was only 2002 and Hasbro has recently reused molds from 1997 (Ree Yees for the Star Tours Boarding Party) and 1999 (Mail away Eopie).

    I almost bought a FLO at CV for only $5. Guess I should have.

  3. Fun Star tours update watch 2010 – MiceChat
    Sep 1, 2010

    […] next Star Tours droid? Name is Aly San San. Let’s not see you guys use her shortened name here! NEW STAR TOURS DROID: ALY SAN SAN? EndorExpress __________________ Visit my mice chat toy shop! […]

  4. Shane
    Sep 4, 2010

    I don’t care much for Ally San San (hated the diner scene from AOTC), but I think your action figure collection mimicking the pins is awesome. The Black Hole robots especially. Where’d you get those?

  5. Paul Hruby
    Sep 7, 2010

    I remember there was an article by Al Lutz that talked about having a droid that would interact with people in line. It was able to wonder around the que. It was one of the things that Disneyland and Tokyo wanted to have in their new Star Tours versions but WDW didn’t want to spend the money to do. I could see this droid being done based on a Seg-way scooter just like the Muppet Mobile Labs.

  6. Angie
    Sep 9, 2010

    I HOPE this bot isn’t going to be Rex’s replacement! BRING BACK REX!!

  7. Alex
    Sep 9, 2010

    Shane,

    Those two Black Hole robots are the old MEGO action figures, released when the movie came out. I lost my original V.I.N.CENT, or maybe traded it to someone when I was a kid. Can’t recall. I eventually replaced him, but the new one is missing the stand and some of the paint has rubbed off. I also got a second V.I.N.CENT in even worse condition, which I customized as Old B.O.B., since the actual MEGO Old B.O.B. figure is nearly impossible to find, and picked up this MEGO Maximilian in the 90’s. He’s also missing his stand, so he’s actually leaning against WALL-E in that photo!

    In my opinion, the Kubrick versions of V.I.N.CENT and Old B.O.B. are better than the MEGO figures. Unfortunately, the Kubrick Maximilian is not to scale with them, he’s about the same height they are. So I’d still recommend the MEGO Max over the Kubrick one.

    For this photo, I chose the MEGO Maximilian for his size and the MEGO V.I.N.CENT because he can actually retract his legs to match the pin pose. That’s the one drawback of the Kubrick V.I.N.CENT, his legs are fully extended all the time.

    Alex

  8. Pablo
    Sep 14, 2010

    since Aly San San will be appearing on the screen in the new Star Tours, do you mean really on the screen or a similar looking robot off the side like rex was?

  9. Alex
    Sep 14, 2010

    Hey Pablo,

    It’s all speculation at this point– and it could all be a hoax, with someone making an “Aly San San’s initials” out of me– but the theory that makes the most sense to me personally is that she will be a CGI character seen on the PRE-boarding monitor, or possibly the on-board monitor. The big screen in the simulator is supposed to be a viewport looking out into space, so I don’t really count it as a screen where characters appear.

    I support the pre-boarding monitor theory over all others because it dovetails nicely with the revelation at CV about a feminine ‘Spokesdroid’, so she’ll probably replace the chick with the weird hairdo in the old boarding video.

  10. Pablo
    Sep 14, 2010

    Angie,
    I can imagine Aly San San being the offical pilot for the starspeeder 1000 and Captain Rex being co-pilot

  11. Pablo
    Sep 14, 2010

    Alex,

    oh, so is Aly San San placed where rex was in front of the view port?

  12. Alex
    Sep 25, 2010

    This just in!

    Aly San San 8s confirmed as the new Spokesdroid or Spokesbot. She will not be the pilot of the StarSpeeder 1000, that will be a predecessor of Rex named Ace (AC-38). And we also hear that C-3PO might be aboard the SS1K as well.

    I was even right about the name Alison — she’s voiced by Alison Janney (who has done voice work for Phineas and Ferb). And when I did my action figure mockup, I extrapolated an orange border to the bottom of her skirt, which the official pics now show also. Sometimes I even amaze myself!

    I’m more convinced than ever that she will only be seen on the Loading Concourse monitors.

    AN

  13. Alex
    Sep 25, 2010

    That should read “Aly San San is* confirmed” sorry for the typo.

  14. Desire’
    Apr 19, 2011

    awwwww I was SO hoping that they would bring Paul Reubens back to voice the robot….he was always my favorite part of Star Tours

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