Disney CEO Comes Clean on “The Force Awakens” Trailer, Theme Park Attractions


This morning, the Walt Disney Co.’s Bob Iger spoke with Variety magazine during their annual “Dealmakers Breakfast” and the exclusive interview revealed quite a few surprises for Star Wars fans. Iger spoke candidly about the release of The Force Awakens teaser trailer and also on his company’s plans for Star Wars themed expansions in Disney theme parks.

Variety magazine’s Senior Editor Marc Graser posted a full report, which you can read here.

From the Variety report:

"“There will be a much larger ‘Star Wars’ presence in our parks globally”, Iger said during a Q&A at Variety‘s Dealmakers Breakfast on Wednesday, presented by Bank of America and sponsored by Delta. “But we want to do this big, which takes time, and to do it right.”For Disney and its team of theme park designers at Walt Disney Imagineering, that meant waiting until director J.J. Abrams could reveal his plans for “The Force Awakens.”"

"Disney could have easily started producing new rides based on the original “Star Wars” films — and early development on new rides did revolve around the first six “Star Wars” movies. But Iger didn’t want a situation in which theme park guests would be disappointed with an attraction after seeing “The Force Awakens.”"

Disney chief Bob Iger, interviewed by Variety’s Claudia Eller on Wednesday.

This reveal is actually quite telling. For months, we’ve been hearing from Disney that they plan on opening all new Star Wars themed attractions in their existing theme parks. Bob Iger and company have had plenty of time to roll out these attractions since their purchase of Lucasfilm in October of 2012.

So, why haven’t we seen any of them yet? Well, Disney’s Imagineers were apparently waiting until film director J.J. Abrams could reveal his plans for The Force Awakens.

More from the Variety report:

"“I didn’t want someone to say, ‘I just saw the movie and there’s nothing in that movie in this'”, Iger said. “We waited to see what this film would have in it.”As a result, Iger stopped early development on theme park attractions at Imagineering. “We couldn’t tell them what was new”, Iger said, until Abrams was finished developing and producing the sequel. “I slowed it all down so what we come forward with will have a blend of the past, present and maybe the future”, referencing upcoming sequels and spinoff films. “Now we have a sense of what’s in ‘Star Wars VIII,’ and what some of the standalone films will have in them.”"

J.J. Abrams gives direction to R2-D2 on the set of The Force Awakens.

In speaking with Variety on Wednesday, Bob Iger also addressed the events surrounding the release of the wildly popular “88 SECONDS” that destroyed the internet last week. In regards to The Force Awakens teaser trailer and it’s surprise reveal, Iger dropped some interesting information.

From the Variety report:

"The 88 second teaser, which includes just 39 seconds of footage, has been viewed over 110 million times, Iger said, in addition to 40 million views of spoofs created around the footage.Disney nearly didn’t release a trailer, Iger admitted. Abrams is known for wanting to keep footage of his films under wraps. But the rabid “Star Wars” fanbase prompted Disney to come up with the brief introduction of what the new film would look like."

The most famous hunk of junk in the galaxy takes flight in The Force Awakens.

It makes sense that J.J. Abrams would want to keep a tight lid on every aspect of this film. It’s been disappointing to see so much information leaked from the sets of the new Star Wars movie, but at least Abrams and his crew have tried to keep things secret.

The very early peek at what we’ll see from next year’s movie is a great gift from Disney to Star Wars fans. It’s right there, in black and white. Bob Iger heard the pleads from the fan community for at least a little taste, and he obliged. If there’s still any question as to whether or not Lucasfilm and all of it’s properties are in good hands, Iger is trying his best to be reassuring.

It’s clear that Bob Iger has a tremendous amount of faith in J.J. Abrams and his take on Star Wars. The Walt Disney Co. chief commented on his belief in staying true to Star Wars creator George Lucas’ vision, as well as the chances that The Force Awakens will break box office records.

More from the Variety report:

"“I keep telling J.J. Abrams this is a $4 billion movie”, Iger said, in reference to the Lucasfilm deal, not the actual budget of the film. “We need to treat this very special. It’s an unbelievable privilege and unbelievable responsibility to take a jewel and treat it in a way that is respectful of its past but brings it into the future.”Iger noted how Abrams has relied more on physical sets and props that are significant in size and scope, rather than computer-generated imagery.“That will give the film a look that will be extremely respectful of the look George (Lucas) created in the ’70’s”, Iger said, “and will play well with ardent ‘Star Wars’ fans and play well with audiences today.”"

Bob Iger and George Lucas make a deal that will keep the Empire around.

For a good read, check out the entire Variety report, here.

What do you make of Bob Iger’s comments from this morning’s interview, Dork Siders? Will you be excited to see new Walt Disney theme park attractions inspired by The Force Awakens? Has the Walt Disney Co. done right by Lucasfilm?

Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think!