How Hyperspace Mountain Fits into Star Wars Canon

March 15, 2016, 5:12 PM · While many theme park attractions are based on popular film franchises, it's often unclear exactly where those attractions fit within the canon narrative of those franchises.

But Disney is making an effort to include Disneyland's Hyperspace Mountain within the official storyline of the Star Wars universe. In a corporate blog post today, Disney explained How Hyperspace Mountain Fits Into the Star Wars Story.

The TL;DR? When you're riding on Hyperspace Mountain, you are part of the Battle of Jakku that predates the recently released Episode VII: The Force Awakens. That's the battle that wrecks the Star Destroyer that Rey explores on that desert planet, in early scenes of the newest Star Wars film.

"We decided we wanted to have this epic battle in outer space, and why not make it that battle?," Walt Disney Imagineering creative director Brent Strong said.

The post-battle Jakku is represented by a new scene in the Star Tours: The Adventurers Continue ride next door, where your Star Tours ride vehicle flies through that same wrecked Star Destroyer. So the two attractions together represent a range of events within the Star Wars storyline, rather than a single moment of time.

Disney's post suggests that the Season of the Force event now playing in Disneyland's Tomorrowland isn't going away anytime soon. ("[L]ike the land that it’s taking over, Season of the Force will continue to evolve, change and expand.") Last week Disney announced that the Marvel-themed Super Hero HQ that shared the old Innoventions building with the Star Wars Launch Bay would close in early April. Insiders are saying that Disney will expand Season of the Force into that space, possibly with an official preview of the new Star Wars Land, now under construction north of Frontierland on the other side of the park.


Replies (11)

March 15, 2016 at 5:20 PM · And the slow takeover of Tomorrowland continues.

Today Tomorrowland.

Tomorrow Tatooine.

March 15, 2016 at 5:28 PM · Pretty neat.

I grow confused, however, about Star Tours' recent cannon. We begin (sometimes) evading capture by Darth Vader. So...pre ROTJ. Then Threepio, minus red arm, pilots us to Jakku circa TFA, where we join Finn and the Millennium Falcon.

It's just a ride; I should maybe just relax!

March 15, 2016 at 5:41 PM · I wonder if this forecasts the eventual evolution of Tomorrowland into Star Wars Land 2. It wouldn't be hard to convert Space Mountain and surrounding buildings into another Star Wars planet. Coruscant comes to mind in how to incorporate the white buildings and they could invent a back story or put it into the next sequel that's not filming yet since the renovation will not occur for at least 10 years later. Just my suggestion.
March 15, 2016 at 6:28 PM · Unless Disney comes up with another franchise that fits into this space... yeah. I wouldn't bet against that.
March 15, 2016 at 7:04 PM · Oh, great, just what we needed, more tampering with the Star Wars Canon...
March 15, 2016 at 7:54 PM · I figured that was the idea the first time I rode Hyperspace Mountain. I'm glad they were able to make something that both worked nicely and fit the canon reasonably well instead of creating something that directly conflicts with established canon (unlike, say, Star Tours: The Adventures Continues). While some people hate it, I think the overlay is quite good and wouldn't mind seeing it become an annual thing.

As for the duration of Season of the Force, Hyperspace Mountain, etc., I spoke to a cast member friend when I was at the park last week and they said the event has been extended to run through the summer, then it may return as an off-season only event beginning early 2017 (the Launch Bay and Jedi Academy show would remain year-round). According to what I heard, the Ghost Galaxy version of Space Mountain will still be available for September/October and regular Space Mountain will return following that, with Hyperspace Mountain only running during the off-season. While cast members don't always have the latest info, this would make sense as it will help draw people away from the west side of the park where capacity will be impacted until next summer. Also, don't count on Tomorrowland becoming Star Wars Land 2. Disney strongly considered making it into Star Wars Land, but ultimately the plan was rejected for several reasons and the land is supposed to receive an overhaul for the 70th anniversary.

March 16, 2016 at 8:16 AM · Interesting that they will switch over between the different presentations of Space Mountain. My issue is the downtime between the versions. They take 2 weeks off to make the conversions. Instead of constantly removing the screens and projection equipment, perhaps they should consider doing a Christmas/Holiday version of Space Mountain during November to January. Then they can switch seamlessly to Star Wars in mid-January to August, and Ghost Galaxy in September to October. Or better yet, just do an enhanced original Space Mountain with the screens during the holidays. This means more close encounters with meteorites, space debris, and rockets.

I would agree they didn't consider Tomorrowland for Star Wars for the reasons of it will be too much of a change and not enough land. Star Wars Land 2 in Tomorrowland would instead be a façade overlay and some minor ride changes. Space Mountain will be Hyperspace permanently. Star Tours will remain as it is. Submarines will be changed out. Astro Orbitor will be something new and possibly moved... etc.

Precedent was already set with Harry Potter having Hogsmead/Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. The Star Wars Universe is bigger than Harry Potter and is expanding with the new trilogy.

March 16, 2016 at 4:49 PM · Anon, believe it or not the conversion between versions could be done in a day or two. When Ghost Galaxy was added for the first time, all of the necessary hardware was permanently installed in the attraction. While you can't see it when it isn't in use, if the ride goes down and the lights turn on everything is visible inside. The reason it typically goes down for a couple weeks is to perform routine maintenance on the attraction. By doing this, they are able to avoid extended closures every year or two like is necessary with many of Disney's major attractions.

The reason all the projection equipment is not used in the regular Space Mountain attraction is due to capacity issues. Space Mountain can operate with a maximum of 12 trains, though due to cascade potential it usually runs with 10 or 11. Theoretically, the ride can do 2000 riders per hour, but actual capacity is always less. Typically, the ride gets around 1800 riders per hour under normal operating conditions. Adding the projections, however, requires a longer interval between trains, and this compromises capacity. Ghost Galaxy can do nine trains, so that often gets 1700 or so per hour. However, Hyperspace Mountain requires an even longer interval, so a maximum of 8 trains can be used and typically the ride only does about 1400 per hour. Theoretically, if every single seat was filled they could get about 1600, but Space Mountain is very weight sensitive so that wouldn't happen. The capacity issues with the Hyperspace variant are the reason it was intended to convert back in May for the busy summer season and it is only due to the extension of Season of the Force that it will run through summer.

As for Star Wars and Tomorrowland, the reason two Harry Potter lands work in Florida is because they are in two different parks. Converting Tomorrowland into a second Star Wars Land would be like putting London in Seuss Landing. While it could be done, it would be awkward leaving one area and walking through unrelated themed zones to get to the other. This is one of the major hurdles USH is working with, and is the reason why Harry Potter part 2 may be a Hogsmeade expansion or something based on Fantastic Beasts instead of a copy of Diagon Alley. Additionally, one of the reasons the Star Wars takeover of Tomorrowland was abandoned was because of the potential for long term loss on the project. Disney knows that there are a fair number of purists out there (particularly relating to Disneyland), and completely removing one of the original lands of the park would likely cause a good percentage of those people to stop visiting. There is enough IP out there that works in Tomorrowland to make an overhaul feasible, and redoing the land while keeping the same theme is likely going to be a lot more positively received than completely retheming it.

Now, I would not rule out a second Star Wars Land being built inside the third park once that happens, but I think the chances of two unconnected areas with the same IP in the same park are slim to none.

March 17, 2016 at 6:43 AM · I have a question for the Disneyland people.

How was it when Indiana Jones opened in Adventureland? Was there concern with the IP overtaking Adventureland or did it just fit in well enough?

I'm curious if there are parallels to today's Star Wars push.

March 17, 2016 at 5:31 PM · See, technically, Star Tours 2.0 fits reasonably into Star Wars canon for the time it's meant to be in. Specifically, it's supposed to fit into the time between Episode 3 and Episode 4. That much is obvious because Vader and Yoda are still alive, and Leia and Ackbar are members of the Rebel Alliance.

Pretty much every scene originally introduced in Star Tours 2.0 fits into the canon:

The Hoth scene fits into canon because the Rebel Alliance originally scouts out Hoth for a base, get caught by the Imperials, there's a big battle, and the Rebels come back later to build a base because (understandably), they figure the Imperials won't think to look for them in the place where they've already been caught. The scene drops you into the middle of that first battle.

The Tatooine scene makes sense because they're not going to stop doing pod racing. It's an ambiguous scene and doesn't conflict with the canon.

The Kashyyyk scene makes sense, because Chewbacca shows up during that scene. According to Star Wars canon, before being saved by Han Solo, he was forced into slavery on Kashyyyk, further reinforcing the time period Star Tours takes place in.

So to not make this incredibly more long winded, Coruscant, Naboo, and Geonosis all make sense within the given timeline: the former two are ambiguous enough to fit (the Naboo/Trade Federation battle is canon as well), and Geonosis is also canon to the timeline because the original Death Star is under construction there (also canon).

Anyway, what's my point?

My point is that the Jakku scene they added to Star Tours 2.0 makes absolutely no sense and shouldn't be taken particularly seriously. It very clearly does not fit the timeline of the ride (where you can see Han Solo launch the Millenium Falcon in the opening scene, and then see Finn piloting it in the next), and is simply there to have a tie-in with The Force Awakens.

Hyperspace Mountain is likely to go the same way, though why they felt the need to shoehorn it into the Star Wars canon, I'll never know. What part of it is canon, anyway?

Shoehorning Star Tours into the Star Wars canon was a fairly harmless move, because it'd make sense for an intergalactic tour business to exist.

March 19, 2016 at 6:35 AM · Maybe it's because of JK but Universal seems a lot better with timeline stuff then Disney. New Fanstyland made me mad because Beast greats you at Be our Guest when he should be throwing you out. I guess Belle or the prince were too expensive. I also laugh every time the Beast comes out because he can't fit through the door to the meet and greet area and has to duck and turn to get in. The ugly angel baby imagineers on the ceiling take me out of the experience too. It's a bit narrorisstic and not in the movie at all

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