From the Walt Disney World News and written by: Haley
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is an anchor attraction inside the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opening Aug. 29, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. It combines immersive storytelling with interactive gameplay to make guests the protagonists of their own Star Wars adventures in a way never before undertaken by Disney Parks.
Lovingly described at various times as a “piece of junk” or “bucket of bolts,” the Millennium Falcon is the most famous of all Star Wars starships. On Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, guests 38 inches or taller climb aboard the Falcon in all her ramshackle glory and settle into the cockpit to operate “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.” They could just discover the ship has a few surprises left in her, because the Millennium Falcon may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.
Following the events of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Chewbacca brought the Falcon to Black Spire Outpost for repairs at this spaceport on the edge of the galaxy. In exchange for some much-needed replacement parts, Chewie is loaning the Falcon to Hondo Ohnaka, a smuggler who is now making good use of the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. It is at this point guests enter the story of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Who Is Hondo Ohnaka and What Does He Want?
- A fan-favorite miscreant from the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” animated television series, Hondo is a Weequay pirate always looking for the next big score.
- Hondo is running a “legitimate business” out of the spaceport, called Ohnaka Transport Solutions. When guests meet Hondo in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, he tells them he has more cargo than he can handle and needs extra flight crews to make some runs for him – especially crews that won’t ask too many questions about the cargo or how Hondo acquired it!
Step Aboard the Falcon
- When guests accept Hondo’s offer, they enter the Falcon via an access hatch on the ship’s port airlock. Once aboard, they spend some time in the ship’s main hold and lounge, where they can sit at the famous Dejarik (chess) table or poke around at other equipment in the room.
Three Roles to Play – One Goal
- When it’s time for the mission to begin, guests strap themselves into the Falcon cockpit in groups of six. Each person is assigned one of three critical roles to complete their mission, and guests know it’s their turn to act when buttons light up in the cockpit:
- Pilots (2) – Work together to steer the ship – the left pilot controls horizontal motion, the right pilot controls vertical motion – avoiding obstacles that could cause damage
- Gunners (2) – Use blasters and missiles to defend the Falcon and its precious cargo (switching to manual targeting creates an even greater challenge!)
- Flight Engineers (2) – Keep the Falcon from falling apart on its mission by managing the ship’s systems, repairing any damage the ship encounters and take control of the “special modifications” Hondo installed for these unusual missions
- Industrial Light & Magic (the visual effects division of Lucasfilm) collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering to create the gaming platform and interactive media for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
- Guests begin their adventure by powering up the Falcon and making the jump to lightspeed. From there, Hondo Ohnaka (with occasional input from Chewbacca) helps guide guests along their mission.
- If the Falcon sustains damage – such as smashing into obstacles or taking enemy fire – and is not properly repaired, the ship’s handling is affected.
- At the end of the mission, Hondo informs guests how well they accomplished their objectives.
Authenticity in the Details
- Walt Disney Imagineers worked with Lucasfilm to ensure authenticity in every detail of the Millennium Falcon – down to the hoses, pipes, switches and even the stickers on the exterior hull. Imagineers visited Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom to study Falcon film sets and pored over archival Lucasfilm photographs of the ship.
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run marks the first time Hondo Ohnaka has been seen in any form other than an animated on-screen character. Walt Disney Imagineering consulted Hondo’s creator, Dave Filoni, in designing the smuggler’s physical look, ensuring the essence of his character was authentically captured in his Audio-Animatronics figure inside the attraction.
- Over time, the Millennium Falcon has undergone many modifications. For this mission, Hondo altered the control sticks for the pilot and co-pilot and supplemented the Falcon’s arsenal with a harpoon, among other tweaks.
- If guests’ mission aboard the Falcon doesn’t go quite as planned, the ship’s hallways will show damage as they leave the attraction.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened May 31, 2019, at Disneyland Park in California.
Walt Disney World Resort Public Relations