Opening in just a few weeks on December 5th, 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and then the following month in Disneyland, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the highly anticipated second ride for Galaxy’s Edge. This technologically advanced ride was said to be so complex that it required more time to work out all the kinks, leading it to open as a phase 2 for the land… But what do we really know about this new dark ride?
Developed by Imagineer and former Universal Creative member, Scott Trowbridge, the man behind The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride at Universal Orlando, Rise of the Resistance is said to seamlessly combine multiple ride systems, massive sets, lifelike animatronic characters and state-of-the-art special effects to create a new type of ride experience. Let’s go over some of the rumors for the many preshows, as well as every scene for this new attraction, ahead of its upcoming debut.
In recent months Disney has been cracking down on what it saw as potential leakers, including Cast Members that took pictures from inside the attraction, and pretty much anyone that claimed to have inside information on this new ride. Despite their attempts, it appears that you can learn about most of what we can expect to find on the attraction by searching around online.
Potential Spoilers Ahead
After combining the most believable bits from various sources, I wanted to share what I think the ride will be like. And even though nearly everything below is based on rumor and speculation, I do want to issue a Spoiler Warning, in case you want to be completely surprised on your first ride. Okay, let’s get to the attraction!
As has been reported by media that received a tour over the summer, the first “preshow” element will be a room with an animatronic BB-8. This will be part of the Resistance base on Batuu. Here we will likely watch a hologram utilizing a musion or pepper’s ghost effect, featuring Vi Moradi, the character created especially for Black Spire Outpost. It is rumored by some that Rey may appear in this preshow as well. This is where we will learn about our mission.
Next we will board the Resistance Intersystem Transport Ship, or I-TS for short. This scene will act like the elevator in Gringotts, but as I have mentioned before, it will only have 1 door to create a more believable experience. The ship set itself will rotate while we are inside it, moving the door from where we entered and lining it up to where we will exit during the several minute “journey.” On our way into space we will be captured by and pulled in to the First Order’s Star Destroyer.
By now everyone has seen photos of the massive hangar area for the attraction, with dozens of stormtroopers lined up in front of a huge open bay door to space. After being captured we are led out of our shuttle and into this hangar. We will wait in a brief queue, ushered along by First Order-dressed cast members until we are broken up into groups of 16.
Your group is taken to one of four detention rooms. Kylo Ren and General Hux are speaking nearby, taking pleasure in describing your forthcoming torture. After they leave we are locked in this prison cell with seemingly no way out. That’s when we see a laser beam cut a hole in the wall. Apparently the Resistance is breaking you out through an impressive special effect that creates an opening in one of the walls.
Exiting the cell through the new opening, we’re split into two even smaller groups, now of 8 each. This next room is the loading room with two trackless ride vehicles waiting for us in it. Resistance-dressed cast members help us into the vehicle to make our escape. We’re informed that the droid at the helm has been (very recently) reprogrammed by the Resistance, but should hopefully be hacked well enough to help us get away. And now, after several preshows and a little bit of additional queue, we’re finally ready for the actual ride to begin!
The first scene of the ride is pretty much just your hacked droid getting its bearings. Both you and the other car are dispatched at the same time, and immediately start careening towards and around each other, and then we’ll swirl around two additional empty ride vehicles that enter the room with you for some unknown reason. After a bit of “dancing” with the other cars the droid figures out what it’s doing, and we’re finally ready to move on.
We travel down several hallways, but our droid isn’t the best navigator so we will encounter some dead ends, and even enter areas that we do not have clearance for, causing doors to shut right in our faces as we’re about to enter. Eventually we are spotted as we enter a room filled with Stormtroopers on catwalks above us. This effect will be accomplished using dynamic projections that will allow the Stormtroopers’ faces to actually follow our cars based on our movement.
Next, we make our way into a massive room with two full-scale AT-ATs. Until this point we had been traveling with the other car, but now is when our paths start to change. Both ride vehicles veer under and around the AT-ATs, which are firing at us. Stormtroopers are shooting at us from elevated positions as well. Lasers are flying through the air in every direction. To accomplish the laser effect, it is said that large-scale fans will rotate so fast they will not be visible to the naked eye. These fans will include LED lighting effects so when swirled around it creates a hologram-type effect. This is similar to smaller scale toys and alarm clocks that use the same technique.
Both cars reach their own elevators and start to rise up. The elevators do not have doors so we see the AT-ATs as we travel up several stories. These are FAST elevators too. As we make our way up we’re still being shot at by the stormtroopers—which are located right where we are heading—as as we pass by the tops of the AT-ATs at this level.
This is when things really start to get nuts. At one point we enter a Gunner station, where massive guns are firing out into space, as apparently a battle between the First Order and the Resistance is going on. With each firing of the weapon we will feel it rattle in our bones, and we feel the heat from the weapon. As the cannons fire they charge backwards from the recoil, temporarily blocking our path. We manage to time it perfectly to get by without getting creamed.
We stumble upon a room where Kylo and Hux are talking. They don’t see us at first, but it sounds like they know we’ve escaped. Something makes a noise and they spot us!
We hightail it outta there, but Kylo Ren is running after us. We start backing into another elevator, watching as he runs closer and closer towards us. This will use a new type of projection mapping technology onto a physical object that is propelled towards us quickly. It should look very convincing.
And now we’re in an elevator that appears to be traveling down. But wait, Kylo has jumped onto the top of our elevator car! He jams his lightsaber down through the roof and starts cutting a massive slit. We saw this in a commercial for the ride, but many folks have mistakenly assumed it is from the first elevator scene. This scene is actually set in a false elevator, that is only pretending to go down. That way we think we’re back on the first floor, making the ride’s ending an even bigger surprise.
Finn informs us that we need to get off the ship, but on our way to the escape pods we’re cut off by Kylo, and he’s blocking our way. Just as it appears that all hope is lost, we see Resistance ships approach through a window. They fire at the Star Destroyer and immediately the hallway we are in starts to literally crumble around us. Kylo uses the Force to attempt to keep the ceiling and debris from crashing down on top of him. And while he is distracted we make our escape to the pods.
We enter the escape pods and are shot into space at a great velocity, and then fall back to Batuu. This scene of course is the worst-kept secret for the ride, and will use a small-scale Tower of Terror type drop-ride technology to simulate high speeds and falling. Our ride vehicle will be locked into an elevator mechanism, within an escape pod shell around us. The shell will be surrounded on all sides by screens we can see through the windows, to help sell the effect of blasting into space and crash landing on the planet. It is said that there will also be a motion base as part of this scene, so in addition to the falling sensation, the ride vehicle will tilt and move to match the motion on the screens.
After we land, we exit through the crashed ship near the back of the show building. Our two trackless ride vehicles then go back to prepare for the next group, entering a room where they will “dance” with two others that are just starting the ride, before backing themselves into the load room. Aha! That’s why we were dancing with two empty cars for no reason at the start. It all makes sense now.
And that’s Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance! Or, at least what we think it will be. I’m sure there are more animatronic characters and special effects I missed. Characters like Finn, Poe, Rey, and Nien Nunb will be a part of the attraction, but I am not certain where exactly. Nien Nunb may be piloting our Transport ship. Some of them may appear on a screen before we begin our escape to explain that the droid has been hacked, and a Finn animatronic dressed as a Stormtrooper may show up halfway through the ride to help provide us cover against the Stormtroopers. Just some of my guesses though.
The ride itself is rumored to last between 3 and 4 minutes long. The full experience should be a lot longer when you take the many preshows into account. We’ll know for sure when the ride officially opens in a couple weeks. (That is, if it opens on time and without too many technical difficulties.) What do you think of the attraction? Anything I missed. And if you’re reading this from the future, how’d I do? Did I get it right? Be sure to subscribe to our news feed to never miss an update, or add you email address below.
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It sounds like alot has to go right to make this ride a success. A technical nightmare.
The ride sounds amazing until the drop at the end. I know every ride is expected to be a thrill ride from here forward, but as a die-hard Star Wars fan, the plunge and tilt at the end is an unnecessary motion sickness addition to an almost-perfect attraction.
This is the most comprehensive write up I’ve read yet and the first time I have understood how the ride flows through its scenes (and by what conveyance). Well done.
If this ride is half as impressive as it sounds it will make this land finally worth visiting. Trowbridge is the best and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man has been my favorite theme park ride since I flew over to ride it soon after it opened.
Disney needs to prove it can still build rides that blow your socks off in the U.S.. I hope this is our Pirates Shanghai..