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Disneyland Article
Animatronic Shopkeepers Droids And Creatures Bring Star Wars Galaxys Edge To Life

Droid Depot
ID:
TMS-4132
Source:
Dailynews.com
Author:
Brady Macdonald
Dateline:
March 27, 2019
Posted:
April 12, 2019
Status:
Current
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The new characters, powered by Disney's latest audio-animatronic technology, will have more precise and natural movements than their predecessors.

A collection of next generation audio-animatronic figures coming to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland will bring to life alien pilots, black market shopkeepers, disc jockey droids, space pirates, cuddly creatures and stormtrooper battalions.

The new Galaxy's Edge themed land set to debut May 31 at the Anaheim theme park will be filled with animatronic droids like BB-8, R-3X, R5-P8 and 8D-J8 as well as life-like "Star Wars" creatures such as Nien Nunb, Dok-Ondar and Hondo Ohnaka.

The animated characters found in the rides and throughout the land will be powered by Walt Disney Imagineering's latest A-1000 series audio-animatronic figures. The next generation figures operate electronically rather than hydraulically like the earlier A-100 series animatronics. The more compact A-1000 figures have more precise movements, more fluid transitions and smoother facial gestures than the A-100 figures. Imagineers employed computer pre-visualization tools and motion-capture technology to program the A-1000 animatronics to mimic how humans move.

A behind-the-scenes media tour of the Imagineering animation building in Glendale showed off the Hondo Ohnaka, R-3X and Dok-Ondar animatronics bound for the Galaxy's Edge themed land at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. (The Disneyland figures had already been shipped to Anaheim.) Reporters saw several of the newly-installed animatronics during a construction tour of Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland.

The new animatronics will populate the attractions, shops and restaurants in Black Spire Outpost, the remote outer rim village where Galaxy's Edge is set on the "Star Wars" planet of Batuu. Tensions will be high in Black Spire Outpost as the bad guy First Order soldiers search for the good guy Resistance rebels amid the day-to-day life of the Batuuan villagers, according to the backstory developed for the land.

Let's take a closer look at the key audio-animatronic figures coming to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

The Hondo Ohnaka figure in the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction will be the most sophisticated animatronic in Galaxy's Edge.

The dreadlocked space pirate with six tusk-like protrusions on his chin will serve as the proprietor of Ohnaka Transport Solutions and host of the Smugglers Run flight simulator. Hondo appears in the "Clone Wars" and "Star Wars Rebels" animated television series.

During the Imagineering tour, the fully-costumed Hondo audio-animatronic pivoted back and forth on feet-less legs as he repeated his pre-ride spiel that riders will hear as they wait in the attraction queue.

The Hondo figure has 50 movements, making it the second most-complicated animatronic in any Disney theme park. Only the Na'vi Shaman in Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida has more, with 40 functions in the face alone.

Next to Hondo, his trusty animatronic droid R5-P8 will keep the boss on schedule and fix failing equipment in the Command Center of Ohnaka Transport Solutions.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Visitors will encounter several animatronics in the Rise of the Resistance attraction, including ball droid BB-8, jowl-faced pilot Nien Nunb and a battalion of fierce-looking First Order stormtroopers.

Riders will meet an animatronic BB-8 in the Ready Room of a Resistance base camp as a holographic Rey from "The Force Awakens" asks us to take part in a dangerous off-planet mission against the First Order.

An animatronic Nien Nunb will bark orders at his passengers from the cockpit of a Resistance Intersystem Transport Ship at one point in the attraction. About 50 riders will board the ship and depart Batuu before being tractor beamed aboard a First Order Star Destroyer.

Fifty stormtroopers await in formation aboard the Star Destroyer as the doors to the transport ship open. A few of the animatronic stormtroopers will make slight movements as they track the progress of the riders passing through the hangar.

Oga's Cantina

DJ R-3X, also known as Rex, will spin an alien soundtrack described as Jawa-meets-new age-meets-1980s pop in Oga's Cantina. The former Star Tours pilot, once known as RX-24, remains as quirky and talkative as ever.

During the Imagineering tour, an animatronic R-3X played tunes behind a disc jockey console in a cavernous warehouse-like space next to a welding shop. The animatronic figure employs an original outer shell from a Star Tours Rex figure with new electronic functions on the inside.

Rex will DJ a 3-hour show at the cantina in 1-hour segments that vary slightly. "Hey everyone, who's ready to boogie?" Rex said during a demonstration at Imagineering, voiced once again by "Pee-Wee Herman" star Paul Reubens.

During a Galaxy's Edge construction tour, crews were installing an animatronic DJ R-3X in an alcove of the cantina at Disneyland. (The R-3X animatronic figure on display at Imagineering was destined for Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.)

Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities

The animatronic Dok-Ondar in the Den of Antiquities store will barter with customers who want to haggle over prices with the help of a shop employee.

The mysterious Ithorian collector and trader has eyes that bulge from the side of his hammerhead and a mouth in his curved neck.

During the media tour, an Imagineer peppered Dok with questions and the surly alien creature responded in an alien tongue, the lips along his two mouths moving as he spoke.

While most visitors won't understand what Dok is saying, they will be able to discern two distinct moods: happy or frustrated. Throughout the workday, Dok may get a call from somebody trying to rip him off that makes him angry. Counting his money or looking at a bookkeeping ledger could brighten his mood.

Dok's seemingly-randomized responses are built out of blocks of animation clips that combine into a playlist of short scenes.

During the construction tour, an animatronic Dok-Ondar remained covered in bubble wrap inside his Disneyland shop. (The Dok animatronic figure on display at Imagineering was destined for Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.)

Droid Depot

A wide collection of animatronic droids will be found inside the Droid Depot store as well as in the front and rear of the shop.

The remote-controlled mini-droids created by visitors in the build-your-own droid workshop will be able to communicate with full-sized units found throughout Galaxy's Edge.

Inside the workshop, droid fans will enjoy exploring the animatronic astromechs and BB units lining the walls of the shop.

In front of the shop, animatronic droids will be lined up in a scene reminiscent of the used droid sale that Luke Skywalker took part in on Tatooine in front the Jawa Sandcrawler during the original 1977 "Star Wars" movie.

Behind the shop, another animated scene will be set up in an intimate courtyard with two animatronic droids getting an oil bath amid stacks of droid pieces and parts.

Concept art of the Droid Depot shows BB-8, R2-D2 and R5-D4 near the horseshoe-shaped build station.

Creature Stall

The cramped Creature Stall marketplace space will be chock full of cages filled with cuddly and creepy animatronic beasts from the "Star Wars" universe.

A cute Loth Cat from the Disney animated series "Star Wars Rebels" will be napping on a little bed in the shop, his breathing body suggesting that the animatronic creature is alive.

A bulbous-eyed Worrt creature will flick its tongue at fireflies flying around a glass case in the marketplace stall.

Some of the hanging cages in the shop will have creatures that appear to come to life with the help of special effects like moving leaves and glaring eyes.

Ronto Roasters

The Ronto Roasters quick-serve restaurant will offer barbecue meats from a grill fired by a repurposed podracer engine.

An audio-animatronic droid standing on a plinth will endlessly turn a spit of meat over the flame while constantly complaining about his thankless job.

Smelter droids like the 8D-J8 unit that will be employed at Ronto Roasters typically work in the harsh environments of ore-extraction facilities. Smelter droids show up in "The Return of the Jedi" and "The Phantom Menace."
 
Attractions Referenced

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance

 
Restaurants Referenced

Oga's Cantina

Ronto Roasters

 
Shops Referenced

Dok Ondars Den of Antiquities

Droid Depot

 
Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

 
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