FRIDAY the 13th of August, 2010
I’d driven straight through the night to get to Orlando, so I was a little groggy upon arrival at CV. Seeing Anthony Daniels and George Lucas walking around me at arm’s length perked me up somewhat, but I was still sufficiently sleep-deprived to mistakenly check the Thursday schedule instead of the Friday one. I couldn’t find the Ben Burtt panel that I knew I’d wanted to attend, and was growing increasingly confused.
When I stopped back in the Media Room to ask if there had been revisions, I was so convincingly mystified that the guy manning the badges almost didn’t catch my mistake either. Finally, it dawned on him that I was a page behind, and we had a good laugh. “You just wanted an extra day of Celebration!” he teased good-naturedly.
Ah well, at least this year I remembered the time zone change on the way to Florida… I just overcompensated by about 23 more. I’m turning more and more into Phileas Fogg each time I travel.
When I finally got to the right page in the guide, it told where to report for the panel… and I almost bumped into Ben Burtt coming out of the elevator nearby. My only regret was being the next person in line for the microphone when they announced that the guy ahead of me would be the final Q&A, awwwww. But I got a chance to speak to Burtt afterward, shook his hand, and learned that his son is working on sound for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
And, luckily, the next thing I wanted to do was in the same location, so I was already in Room 414 for…
THE DISNEY PARKS COLLECTOR PANEL!
I’ve uploaded all of the video that I shot to YouTube, which is somethng new for me and has been a lot of fun. If you want to check those out, follow this link…
But I couldn’t shoot video and take stills at the same time, so we’ve been looking for a better source of pics, and we just found them in the very gracious Matt Roseboom of Orlando Attraction Magazine. Check them out in their original context at www.attractionsmagazine.com, and be sure to browse all their other great content, too!
Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo, who moderated the Ben Burtt panel, made a brief introduction while this slide gave us the proper spellings of the names. The trio entered to applause and even some wolf-whistles.
Left to right: Quynh Kimball, Cody Hampton, and Brad Schoeneberg. When they first entered, Quynh ducked under the table and came up with a giant Mickey Mouse glove and waved to the crowd. A lady sitting near me commented, “Nice mitt!”
When they talked about the creation of the R2-MK action figure, Pablo came back out to say that there was someone backstage insisting on coming out… turns out it was the walk-around (roll-around?) R2-MK character from the Parks.
Did you know the original plan was to name him R2-MK28? Cody Hampton included the extra numbers as a nod to Mickey Mouse’s year of birth when brainstorming Jedi Mickey’s official astromech. Brad returned from a trip to Asia and truncated the “bit of a mouthful” to simply R2-MK.
Cody Hampton holds up a StarSpeeder 1000 Sneak Preview toy. He admitted during the panel that he sometimes still calls R2-MK by his ‘full name’.
The videos on my YouTube page cover a lot of the recap of available merchandise, but here are some good pics of the items-in-development, like Series Five of the Disney-as-Star-Wars action figures, which will focus on Clone Wars characters and villains, like Goofy-as-Cad-Bane.
This slide popped up to a burst of laughter from the audience. I even commented, “It’s perfect, he’s got the four arms.” Cody and Brad went on to talk about how they originally pegged Stitch as Cad Bane, since they are both blue, but in a pitch meeting it was Lucasfilm that suggested Grievous because of the four arms. (What? No love for the Stitch-as-Dexter-Jettster hybrid?)
Daisy Duck makes her first appearance in the Disney-as-Star-Wars line of action figures, costumed as Aurra Sing. She is joined by…
Donald’s nephews making their debut in the line as well. Each Jawa will have a color-coded bandolier so you know which nephew is which. If I recall the old mnemonic correctly, it’s: red for Huey, since red is the brightest HUE; blue for Dewey, since blue is the color for water, or DEW; and that only ‘leaves Louie’… and green is the color of LEAVES.
Cody Hampton said that Commander Cody was his favorite character… I wonder why… and while not technically a villain in the Clone Wars, he will technically become one during Order 66, so his pack-in accessory of Hologram Emperor Stitch was a must. I wonder if the helmet will be a two-piece that snaps around the crewcutted Donald head, as was the design for Donald-as-Stormtrooper and Mickey-as-Luke-X-wing-Pilot, or if it will be another pop-and-replace separate head, as they used for Minnie-as-Boushh?
Brad Schoeneberg informed us that the original plan was for Donald to be clad as Captain Rex (not RX-24, drat) but that once Commander Cody fan Cody Hampton got hold of the designs, the color palette changed.
I was amazed that the audience was almost totally silent for this slide of the upcoming Muppets-as-Star-Wars action figure 2-packs.
But they went nuts for Link and Fozzie as Han and Chewie. (I frequent the forums at MuppetCentral.com, and one fan said Link looks great as a brunette.) I really wish I could find my old issue of Muppet Magazine where Link was used for Han Solo in a comic-strip Star Wars parody, because I know it had some ferocious pun for a name… Ham Solo, maybe?
Another big audience reaction on this slide… prompting Brad Schoeneberg to confide with a grin, “That’s my favorite as well.” Gonzo-as-Vader will include interchangeable heads, one with the full enclosed face mask and one with an exposed face as seen in the slide. His pack-in Camilla’s helmet will also be removable.
Trivia: Did you know that the ‘Dearth Nadir’ puppet of Gonzo was NOT built for the Mark Hamill episode? It actually appeared earlier in Season Four of The Muppet Show, in the Crystal Gayle episode. Dearth appeared on board the Swinetrek during a Pigs in Space skit… accompanied by four “chicken stormtroopers”! The puppet-builders used a kitbash approach for their helmets, nothing like the actual Lucasfilm designs we see here, but it’s nice to know that the merchandise folks are doing their homework.
Final two-pack will be Bunsen and Beaker as the droids. Which reminds me… they did Goofy-as-Threepio for Series Four of the Disney-as-Star-Wars figures. But where’s Artoo? I wonder what Disney character they will eventually choose as our plucky astromech friend? Hmmm… I can’t help noticing one of the main five Disney characters that so far hasn’t appeared in this line. And he does have some Artoo-like traits, in that he’s closer to the ground than the other characters, and never speaks English.
There have been two more Muppet-as-Star-Wars characters in Disney Park merchandise. The boxed set of vinyl figurines included Rizzo-as-Yoda and a pin set also showed Animal-as-Tusken-Raider.
Hopefully if these action figure two-packs sell well enough, additional crossover characters will appear as action figures in later assortments.
This slide shows eleven of the upcoming 12 Star Wars Vinylmations collectibles. The 12th mystery figure will be a randomly packed chase item. The line appears to be focused only on the Empire Strikes Back, so I guess we can rule out Jabba the Hutt?
Apparently all the Park lines are thinking about sequels. New 7″ Indy from Temple of Doom will be sculpted by Gentle Giant, and accessories will include a Sankara Stone, a machete, and Indy’s voodoo doll.
One of my wife’s favorite Park collectibles, Mickey-as-Indy returns in an action figure two-pack, joined for the first time by Goofy-as-Sallah, seen here only as a rendering. Note that the Ark of the Covenant will also be Disney-themed (prompting a groaner from Cody, stating that a “Disney-themed Ark” is different from a “Disney Theme Park”). On the video, I zoom in to see that the cherubim atop the Ark appear to be Donald Duck in his classic ‘fighting mad’ pose, and the trim around the top of the lid is a repeated Hidden Mickey motif.
I have to wonder if that’s it for this action figure line? Where’s Marion? (Like we have to guess which Disney character would play her.) Who would be Toht? Belloq? Mola Ram?
Stitch pops up as a Crystal Skull detail on this planned Mickey/Indy vinyl bank. Also note the HIdden Mickey glyphs and the castle-shaped carvings at the bottom.
Only a week before CV did Brad Schoeneberg receive permission to discuss details about Star Tours: The Adventures Continue from Imagineering’s Tom Fitzgerald (who this website’s readers have long known would be part of the team bringing the new Star Tours to life)!
Says Brad S., “In the Star Wars Saga, there are two droids that have literally seen it all… and the new Star Tours is no exception.” This new rotocast figural bank sculpted by Gentle Giant was used to confirm fans’ assumptions that Artoo and Threepio would be back for the new ride. This bank is farther along in production than the artwork-only Indy/Mickey, but has not yet been painted in its final colors.
A six-pack of 1/64th scale diecast vehicles will include not only a Star Tours StarSpeeder 1000, but five competitor spaceliners as well. (Subtle changes are visible between the new ships and the classic StarSpeeder 3000, which had longer laser cannons and a fourth landing gear, but aside from their astromechs, all of the competitors appear to be simple repaints of the 1000 ship.)
As Brad S. said, the existence of the competition is a little-known detail: “Although Star Tours always strives to be the very best in interstellar space travel, we are going to find out in the future that they may not be the only spaceliner in the Galaxy.”
I like the Aurebesh lettering on the sides… possibly hinting at the names of some of the other astro-tourbus companies?
Clockwise from the StarSpeeder 1000 at upper left, they are adorned with the following characters…
something that looks like Wesk Dorn (WD… now whose initials do those remind me of?)
Dorn Nern (DN)
and Nern (N)
Alex’s Tangent for the Day:
You can assign all the significance and meaning to those letters that you want. Just remember, these are the same Imagineers who used two characters Osk to spell Tatooine Traders on the gift-shop signage in Orlando… when the Aurebesh has a single glyph, Orenth, that is properly used for the sound ‘oo’.
Listen on my tenth and final video: I had a split-second hopeful hunch what Brad S. was about to say. Just before he revealed the slide of the 3-3/4″ playset version of the StarSpeeder, you can hear me utter, “Oh please” and afterward, I bark exultantly, “YES!”
A figure-scaled toy of the StarSpeeder? Okay, even if it’s the 1000 instead of the 3000, that is– no lie– the realisation of a wish I’ve been carrying around since the first time I disembarked the ride vehicle and found myself in the Endor Vendors gift shop (before it became Tatooine Traders.) I just knew there had to be a Rex action figure and a scaled SS3K toy somewhere on those shelves; I could picture them in my mind almost palpably. That was 1991, so it will be the end of a full twenty years of craving when I finally get my hands on one in 2011.
Based off the 3-D models of the vehicle from the new ride, the sculpt is very detailed, and the toy will feature working doors, lights, sounds, and an interactive destination screen. All of these details were specifically stated. Other details can be inferred from the slides shown, like what appear to be retractable landing gear, a sliding removable roof, and a nose-to-tail length of 20″. But the slides appear to have been retouched for public viewing, because certain oddly blank areas show traces of lines that possibly led to deleted captions? Wonder what’s under wraps in the approximate location of the pilot?
The SS1K toy also omits the second and fourth row of seats, leaving only three rows which now contain only three seats each. This may seem at first like a penny-pinching design change, but a hint at the thinking behind this alteration comes from Brad S.’s comment that the toy will seat up to nine Kenner or Hasbro sized action figures. Since bendable knees aren’t featured on every Star Wars action figure made so far (and certainly not on the Star Tours Officer , Ree-Yees, or Chewbacca figures from the Boarding Party five-pack), the SS1K playset has been tweaked slightly for maximum compatibility with your collection, no matter how vintage or modern they might be.
The plan is for this to be ready when the new ride opens in the spring, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
(Brad Schoeneberg poses with Alex Newborn after the panel. Love that StarSpeeder 1000 t-shirt he has on!)
I asked after the panel whether this mold might be used later as a classic blue-and-white StarSpeeder 3000. They said there was no plan at this time. I pressed, “So if I want that, I better buy two and paint one?” Brad’s cryptic reply was, “If you want one right now.” Read into that what you will.
Words by Alex Newborn
Photos by Matt Roseboom
Special Thanks for use of photos from this panel to,
Orlando Attractions Magazine
PO Box 22526
Orlando, Fl. 32830-2526
Phone: (407) 741-3200
Fax: (407) 358-5073