When Disney bought Lucasfilm, it was obvious that the company would make the most of the acquisition by beefing up the Star Wars presence at the Disney theme parks. Walt Disney Company chief Bob Iger just reiterated that the film franchise will make its way into parks throughout the world, but he also noted that in order to both “do this big” and do it right, it’ll take time.
Disney couldn’t just jump right into building new attractions immediately after the purchase of Lucasfilm. The park designers had to wait until J.J. Abrams was ready to reveal plans for Star Wars: The Force Awakens because the new main attractions will be based on the new films, not the old ones. Hit the jump for more on the Star Wars theme park attractions.
During a Q&A at Variety‘s Dealmakers Breakfast, Iger revealed that Walt Disney Imagineering was developing Star Wars rides, but that he had them stop working because he was concerned that park guests would be disappointed if the attractions didn’t include elements from the latest films. Iger further explained:
“We couldn’t tell them what was new … I slowed it all down so what we come forward with will have a blend of the past, present and maybe the future. Now we have a sense of what’s in ‘Star Wars 8,’ and what some of the standalone films will have in them.”
It’s a smart move. Sure, it’d be great to open some new rides ASAP, benefit from the Episode VII hype and draw in a crowd, but theme park attractions aren’t just cash grabs. Odds are, they’ll be operating for years and years, so they’ve got to impress.
Abrams is likely feeling the pressure to ensure the movie itself meets fans’ standards, but that doesn’t stop Iger from repeatedly conveying to Abrams that there’s so much more at stake than just one film:
“I keep telling J.J. Abrams this is a $4 billion movie. We need to treat this very special. It’s an unbelievable privilege and unbelievable responsibility to take a jewel and treat it in a way that is respectful of its past but brings it into the future.”
Iger also touched on Abrams’ preference for physical sets and props over CG visuals in the film:
“That will give the film a look that will be extremely respectful of the look George (Lucas) created in the ’70s and will play well with ardent ‘Star Wars’ fans and play well with audiences today.”
Iger said that CGI has made filmmaking “too easy” and also added:
“There’s a sameness to a lot of these films today. The wow factor isn’t what it used to be. J.J. decided to create the physical wow factor.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015 and, as Iger previously announced, we’ll get our very first look at the new Star Wars attractions at some point next year as well.