10 Disturbing Questions Raised by the Original Star Tours

Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 8:01 am
Star Tours is dead. Long Live Star Tours.

Last year, the ride Star Tours in Disneyland and Walt Disney World shut down in preparation for a much-needed revamp. It was a bittersweet moment for geeks everywhere who had flocked to its hallowed halls in a chance to live some of the Star Wars magic. On one hand, the ride was nearly 25 years old and felt it. On the other, we knew we'd have to suffer through pod race footage.

Here's the brief plot, if you haven't been on the ride. You're part of a tour group going to Endor. Your pilot droid, Rex (voiced by Paul Reubens), is new, so when you zip out of hyperspace you end up in a battle between a star destroyer and some X-wings. After zipping through the trenches of the Death Star, a la A New Hope, you fly away and back to the home star port. Just watch the video so you know what I'm talking about: But after review, there was just a lot... wrong with the original Star Tours. Things that just didn't make sense. Keep in mind, I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I've watched the original trilogy about as much as an average guy my age. Here are 10 tough questions Star Tours can't -- or won't -- answer.

10) Who the Hell Wants to Take a Tour to Endor?
I know why Endor was chosen to be the Star Tours destination: it's one of the few places that's mentioned by name in the original trilogy (keep in mind, of course, that this ride opened in 1987, which means plans for the ride were probably in place right after Return of the Jedi came out -- and four years before Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire was published). But who the fuck would want to vacation on Endor? It's portrayed in Jedi as a backwoods waste of a planet with little in the ways of settlement. It's so off the radar that the natives speak a language that even the hyper-fluent C-3PO doesn't immediately recognize. The Empire decided to build the Death Star there because no one cares about Endor and no one visits. So why would a tour company make that a prime vacation destination?

9) Why Don't We Ever Get to Endor?
Straight up, we never got to Endor. It's like booking a flight from Philadelphia to Dallas, except you notice halfway that you're flying over Seattle and then you land back in Philadelphia. Star Tours is the worst tour company ever. Everyone should be demanding their money back immediately after landing.

8) Why Is the Droid Pilot an Idiot?
One of the big things that sticks out to me is that Rex, the pilot droid (above), messes things up by first going out the wrong door, then overshoots Endor, and then ends up lost in a combat zone. Shouldn't he have been programmed to do things correctly? I mean, he's a robot. When we program our robots on Earth to make cars in a factory, they do nothing but make cars. They don't suddenly start making donuts or filling the room with bees. Robots are programmed for certain tasks, and even with a little autonomy, Rex should be able to do his fucking job well enough that he doesn't potentially kill his passengers.

7) Why Doesn't Rex Know How to Leave the Building?
Admittedly, this is mentioned above, but I think it deserves its own question. Star Tours would seem to be a pretty well-run operation, given the size of the massive hanger you exit from. So when one of your tour ships goes down a maintenance tunnel and ends up flying around, lost in the depths of your building, you don't laugh it off. If you're a professional, you recall the vehicle immediately, get everyone off it, and replace the fucking driver. Then send the driver to robot jail. If a Greyhound bus driver accidentally made a wrong turn and drove through the shops at Port Authority for five minutes, the driver would be in prison, no matter if no one got hurt or not.

6) Actually, Why Does Rex Have Passengers on His First Day on the Job?
Apparently, even robots have a learning curve. So the first day that Rex is piloting this ship he's... got passengers? That doesn't seem right. A responsible company would send him out on his own once or twice to see how he does, given the complexities of piloting a starship. Sure, there might be a few goofs on day one, but Rex's mistakes are less like, "Ooops! Left my wipers on!" and more like, "I have no idea what I'm doing here. You may all die in a fire shortly."
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