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Disneyland Article
3 Unused Star Wars Ride Concepts Dreamed Up By Imagineering For Galaxys Edge

Star Wars Galaxys Edge
Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
April 23, 2021
April 27, 2021
Walt Disney Imagineering dreamed up three attraction concepts for Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios that never made the leap from the drawing board to the theme park, according to a new book on the art of the twin Star Wars lands.

The new “The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” coffee table book publishing on Tuesday, April 27 gathers together hundreds of pieces of concept art created by Lucasfilm and Imagineering conceived for the Star Wars themed lands built in Disney parks in California and Florida.

Among the 256 pages of architectural, character and attraction designs are three ride concepts that never made the jump from page to park — including a speeder bike ride, bounty hunter attraction and a tour of the land on the back of a wooly alien beast.

Disneyland has not made any announcements about bringing the unrealized rides to the Anaheim theme park. But Imagineering never throws away any ideas and the three rides could show up someday in some fashion in a Disney theme park.

Speeder Bike Ride Concept A speeder bike chase like the one Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia took part in on the Forest Moon of Endor in “Return of the Jedi” seems like a natural choice for a theme park ride.

Concept art by Erik Tiemens and Kinman Chan shows a speeder bike chase through the interior of a star destroyer filled with damaged TIE Fighters, some of them hanging from the ceiling like bats.

In another speeder bike chase scene, stormtroopers trail rebels through the tight confines of a remote galactic village as an AT-ST Walker brings up the rear.

“In the early days, we talked about a fast-action speeder bike chase,” Imagineering managing story editor Margaret Kerrison said in the book.

Imagineering’s speeder bike concept would pair well with an Avatar: Flight of Passage flight simulator ride system where riders sit astride a mountain banshee or a motorbike roller coaster ride like Pony Express at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Bounty Hunter Attraction Concept The backstory of the unused bounty hunter attraction concept would have followed a Star Wars character like Boba Fett from the original Star Wars trilogy or “The Mandalorian” from the Disney+ television series.

Concept art by Tiemens, Chan and David Hobbins shows a bounty hunter’s ship carrying gunner troops armed with high-powered mounted blasters. The attraction appears to show six riders behind the guns — three on either side of the ship.

The bounty hunter ship is powered by pivoting rear thrusters that allow the spacecraft to hover like a helicopter or fly forward like a jet.

“One early idea we had was a bounty-hunter chase ride, which would fulfill our desires to be a bounty hunter who’s being chased down by the authorities,” Kerrison said in the book.

Elee Ride Concept An Elee ride concept conceived for Galaxy’s Edge would have featured a big and burly beast lumbering through the land with riders on its back.

The Elee creature in the concept art depicts a woolly mammoth-like creature that sometimes has a rhino-like horn and other times has twin tusks. The alien creatures had working names of Elliott and Ellie.

“We actually had a path that went around the land,” Kerrison said in the book. “Mostly to the Resistance area and back in front of the garage. It was a circle.”

Concept art by Tiemens, Karl Lindberg, Iain McCaig and Karla Ortiz shows spiral shapes shaved into the side of the Elee with ornamental decorations dangling from the creature’s fur.

“Elee was a creature that we designed and did a fair amount of work to figure out how we would bring her to life,” Imagineering portfolio creative executive Scott Trowbridge said in the book. “We did some models and figured out how we could bring her to life technically, and then ultimately what we realized is, with the kind of population we expect in the land, we won’t really be able to have her feel authentic.”

The gentle and playful Elee creature is capable of facial expressions and interacting with small children. Concept art shows kids petting the massive creature, which can lick cotton candy and laugh with enough force to blow back a child’s pony tail.

“We liked the idea of a big beast lumbering through the land and having a very personal connection with you,” Kerrison said in the book. “So you would go up and pet her muzzle and she would react to you. We really wanted to make you believe Elee was a real creature.”

Riders sit on the back of the beast inside a canopy-covered mount. Sketches show single and double mounts capable of carrying six to eight passengers at a time with a driver near the head of the Elee.

“We were excited to give guests the opportunity to ride Elee, but it was challenging since only a handful of guests can ride at any one time,” Kerrison said in the book.
Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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