Are Interactive Droids In Development For Star Wars Land?


With a droid named Jake already roaming Launch Bay at Disneyland, are interactive droids in development for Star Wars Land?

A big part of Star Wars is its droids, even more so than its alien species or weird planets. Their popularity is likely why Disney has developed a droid character able to roam and interact with different areas of the Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland. The droid, Jake, may be the first in a series of droid characters in development for the Star Wars Lands, which are currently under construction in Anaheim and Orlando (via Gizmodo).

Jake, via DAPs Magic on YouTube

Jake, pictured above, is already up and running in the Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland. DAPs Magic of YouTube filmed a video of the droid rolling around in the shadows of the Bay amidst attendees. While he didn’t “speak” to anyone, he did interact with a computer terminal by moving his head and making noises. It appears this is Disney’s way of testing the success of droid characters.

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It’s still not known if Jake is remote-controlled or autonomous, but unless droids in Star Wars Land are extremely localized to different areas of the park, there’s no way they could not be independent to a certain degree. Remote control signals can only reach so far, and each droid would need to be equipped with a camera so its controller could see where their droid was going, adding more expense and a more complicated home base for the controller. But if Disney’s plan is localization, that’s an impressive, time-consuming innovation which will make the Star Wars experience more complete. And if the droids are independent, it’s only more impressive.

Independent droids haven’t even become a reality with regards to filmmaking, so it seems unlikely the Disney Imagineers who design the Parks would come up with a working autonomous droid first. However, in filmmaking the goal is to be able to control the droid to get it to do what you want. In the Disney Parks, what makes the experience fun is there are characters, from Star Wars and other franchises, running around who have to adapt their script to every separate interaction with attendees. Having a droid be able to do that would authenticate the interaction attendees would have with it more than having a human control the droid’s responses and reactions from some remote location.

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Disney Imagineers, really anyone who works in Disney and Lucasfilm, have always been able to do whatever they set their minds to do. There’s no reason why they couldn’t succeed in developing independent and mobile droids and install them throughout the Star Wars Lands.

But whatever the process behind it, Jake, at least, appears to be a success.