Star Wars Stamps 2017
It was a movie which promised little. George Lucas had been contracted by Universal Pictures to write and direct a new film, following his success with American Graffiti. But the company disliked his draft script for Star Wars and rejected it. Fortunately, 20thCentury Fox stepped into the breach and decided to invest in the project. Following a major overhaul of the plot, the relatively low budget movie was completed but Lucas believed that that the film would flop and had no plans for a sequel!
Star Wars was released in 1977 and the rest is history. The force remains very much with this incredible franchise!
In celebration of the unparalleled success of the movies and the British contribution to them, Royal Mail is treating us all to a Star Wars stamp issue 12 October 2017. Featuring unique artwork by Malcolm Tween, eight stamps showcase much-loved characters and there’s an added bonus! The four stamps depicting androids utilise UV ink to emphasise some of the design features of the stamps. This will only become visible under a UV light or a light sabre, of course! The inspirational stamps will be accompanied by a raft of exciting products including a presentation pack, stamp cards, a collector’s sheet and much more!
Star Wars and Disney
The stamps are must-haves for all Star Wars fans in the UK who doubtless also have at least one eye on developments across the pond. In 2012 Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise. This investment immediately sparked rumours of plans to feature Star Wars heavily in the Disney Theme Parks. The rumours proved to be true as it wasn’t long before Disney announced that Star Wars lands would be developed at Disney California Adventure, Anaheim and Disney Hollywood Studios, Orlando.
Initially, few details of the proposed developments were made public. But the large areas of land being cleared for the new attractions hinted at something truly spectacular. Star Wars fans and theme park aficionados alike were salivating at the prospect of what the legendary Disney imagineers would magic up.
Disney had been experiencing intense competition from Universal Studios where the Harry Potter themed attractions had proved to be major draws. The Disney empire needed to strike back with something even more amazing!
What to Expect at Star Wars Land
In July of this year, Disney finally provided a little insight into their plans. The name of the new lands, which will be identical, was duly announced. Guests at the theme parks will be visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This is located on a distant planet which is a trading port where guests will discover humanoids, androids and aliens. The majority of the characters which will be roaming the planet haven’t been unveiled but two AT-AT walkers are being built and will certainly feature.
The twin projects will be Disney’s largest ever park expansions and both lands will open in 2019. Disney is promising to take the concept of immersive entertainment to a whole new level. Everything that happens in the new lands will be shaped around the story of each individual guest. The storytelling will be based on the new trilogy of films, which began with 2015’s The Force Awakens and continues this December with The Last Jedi. Guests will be able to build a reputation in Galaxy’s Edge based on their experiences and decisions throughout their visit! Those with ambitions of becoming a Jedi Knight just might find that their dreams coming true.
The Millennium Falcon
We now also know that visitors to the parks will be able to experience piloting the Millennium Falcon. The spaceship is an iconic feature of the movies and, in keeping with low budget nature of the original production, it boasted a design modelled on a burger! During the new ride, guests will take part in a mission for Chewbacca and the actions of each participant in the adventure will dictate the outcome.
After a thrilling ride, it will then be possible to partake of a beverage at the cantina while listening to tunes from (former captain) Rex, now a DJ after his dismissal following the Star Tours incident.
The Star Tours Experience
For those who have never ridden Star Tours, it was Disney’s first Star Wars themed ride and opened in 1987. This motion simulator ride is still in operation at several Disney parks. During their adventure, guests become space tourists and find themselves on route to the forest moon of Endor. But the trip goes horribly wrong due to an error by Captain Rex. We won’t tell you anymore as it would ruin the surprise! Star Tours is a fabulous attraction but is likely to be completely eclipsed by the new innovations despite its recent upgrade to a 3D experience.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will also offer a First Order Battle attraction but Disney have only provided mere hints as to the nature of the ride. We do know that a portion of the experience will take place on a First Order Star Destroyer and that there will be an encounter with Kylo Ren.
As the opening date of the new attractions approaches, further information will doubtless be forthcoming. But sometimes it really is better not to know too much about the rides in advance. There’s a lot to be said for surprises when it comes to theme park attractions.
It is estimated that the Star Wars lands will each cost in excess of $1 billion to complete! That’s a lot of money but the outlay will almost certainly pale into insignificance when compared to the revenue that Star Wars will generate for Disney. Universal may have believed that they had struck a winning blow with Harry Potter but Star Wars is the ultimate counter attack, lightsabers and all!
Disney have always set the bar high but Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge looks set to take their theme park offering to a whole new level. However, just when it looked like their proposed developments couldn’t get any more exciting, it has emerged that further plans are afoot. Disney have now confirmed that we are also going to be treated to a Star Wars themed hotel and this is where things get really interesting!
The hotel will be built at Disney World, Orlando and will be a fully immersive and interactive experience. A two-day narrative will unfold during the course of a guest’s stay. The hotel will resemble a spaceship and it has been suggested, but not confirmed, that characters will roam the corridors and that guests will learn to pilot the ship.
The hotel will be designed so that when the guests arrive, they will immediately become a part of the story and that will include wearing a uniform! They will undertake lightsaber training and find themselves being served by android butlers.
A survey sent out by Disney to gauge the potential interest in the hotel hinted at a pool area, water park and fitness centre. The hotel’s bedrooms will have windows providing views of the galaxy! Well, of course they will!
One wonders why Disney felt the need to research interest in the hotel. The stampede to book will almost certainly make the wildebeest migration look tame!
The Bad News
If you are interested in booking a stay at the new hotel, you had better start saving now, despite the fact that the doors will not be opening until at least 2019. In addition to the not inconsiderable cost of a holiday in Florida, a two-night stay in what promises to be the world’s most incredible hotel will set you back an estimated $1,000 – each!
The Future of Star Wars
Forty years after the release of the original movie, the Star Wars franchise is more popular than ever. New movies will be made and new characters will be created. Disney’s prolific spending and boundless imagination will ensure that fans will be able to take part in the action rather than just watch it on the big screen. Star Wars is more than a movie franchise, it is a sub-culture which has influenced the lives of millions. Set in a galaxy far, far away and yet very much of this world, Star Wars is the ultimate force to be reckoned with. May the force be with you in your efforts to accumulate enough cash to visit the visit the theme parks!