Cancelled 'Star Wars' Disneyland Ride Would Have Let Park Guests Ride Life-Sized Banthas

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 - 10:05AM
Star Wars
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 - 10:05AM
Cancelled 'Star Wars' Disneyland Ride Would Have Let Park Guests Ride Life-Sized Banthas
Image credit: StarWars.com, Lucasfilm, Disney
There are plenty of awesome modes of transportation in the Star Wars universe—landspeeders, X-Wings, taun-tauns, the weird lizard thing Obi-Wan rides in Revenge of the Sith, etc. Who hasn't wanted to ride on the famous bantha, those gigantic elephantine beasts that Tusken Raiders use to get around in the desert sands of Tatooine? Sadly, it seems that we've only barely missed out on those banthas.

Jim Hill, the voice of Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish podcast, has revealed that at one point in development, the upcoming Star Wars area within Disneyland was planned to feature a ride that would have placed 12-16 park guests in seats on the back of a massive bantha as the furry mount transported them around the expansive fourteen acres of alien wildlife, from the Resistance base to the First Order's stronghold, before heading into the bustling city center. It's not known exactly why this ride was cut, but it does seem a shame to lose something so intrinsically Star Wars in nature. Perhaps Disney's focus has instead been on making more exhilarating experiences, like the roller coaster that winds its way between two AT-ATs, rather than a slow, drawn-out sightseeing experience.

It's also possible that this ride might not be in keeping with the design for the Star Wars experience within the park. The area, now titled Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, is built around the premise of showing park attendees a brand new planet that maintains the Star Wars vibe while not tying into any specific movie—a decision that helps keep the area feeling fresh no matter what direction the movies take over the next few years. Banthas, as well as Sand People, have thus far only ever been seen on the desert world of Tatooine, and it seems as if Disney is actively avoiding spending any time on this dustball world in the new films, even if Jakku and Jedha both share an awful lot of sandy similarities with the original Star Wars planet.




In the years since Luke Skywalker first claimed that if there's a bright center to the universe, then Tatooine is the planet that it's farthest from, an inordinate number of stories have involved visiting this desert world for no other reason than nostalgia value. This is one of the reasons why Galaxy's Edge is so exciting—it gives Disneyland visitors the chance to experience an alien world that isn't tied to an existing movie, so that guests can have their own, unique adventures. Sure, we could have had a different giant alien monster instead of banthas to ride, but the fact that Disney is keeping away from Tatooine is a good thing for the franchise as a whole.

So while we may mourn for our lost opportunity to ride a bantha around as we gaze in wonder at all the joys of Star Wars made real, at least we're getting something completely original.

Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge park is set to open in 2019.
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