Disney thought-about Spider-Man and Physician Unusual themes for DCA’s Tower of Terror journey – Orange County Register

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout Ride at Disney California Adventure could have turned into a soaring adventure with Spider-Man or a mystical experience with Doctor Strange, according to recently retired imagineer Joe Rohde.

Walt Disney Imagineering was tackling Spider-Man and Doctor Strange themes for the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror when the company’s creative arm planned a Marvel overlay for the indoor drop tower ride at Disney California Adventure.

Rohde recently discussed in a podcast with Disney’s official D23 fan club how Imagineering decided on a Marvel overlay for DCA’s Tower of Terror.

Imagineer Joe Rohde with a scale model of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout. (Courtesy Disney)

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Imagineering evaluated – and eventually turned down – themes for the ride based on the web-slinger and the wizard, before settling on a Guardians of the Galaxy transformation, which debuted at DCA in 2017, according to Rohde. Disney eventually turned the 1930s-themed Twilight Zone-themed hotel into a fortress with a collection of alien creatures – including the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Transforming the popular Tower of Terror ride with a new Guardians of the Galaxy overlay seemed like an odd decision in May 2017. But Disney was playing a long game that would soon be unveiled at Anaheim’s D23 Expo in July 2017 when the mission was announced: Breakout would anchor a new Marvel-themed land at DCA called Avengers Campus.

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Similar to many ideas thrown aside at Imagineering, the Spider-Man and Doctor Strange themes were not lost. Both Spidey and Strange will have their own attractions on the Avengers Campus – which will debut in 2021 after DCA reopens after an extended coronavirus shutdown.

Disney acquired Marvel in 2009 for $ 4 billion, and the big question was when would some of the 5,000+ superheroes appear at Disneyland Resort?

Rohde had worked on conceptual ideas for Marvel and asked important questions about how to introduce the superhero characters into Disney parks.

“What does Marvel mean to us? What do we mean by Marvel? “Said Rohde during the D23 podcast. “What kind of thing is that we have now? How do we make it have a meaning that is relevant to us? “

Savannah Montgomery (left) and Aaliyah Greenwood, both from Los Angeles, pose for photos in front of the Tower of Terror attraction in the Twilight Zone on Monday, the last day of operation, at Disney California Adventure. The attraction gets a new theme based on the Marvel / Disney film series “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The new version will open in May 2017. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register / SCNG) Taken in Anaheim at Disney California Adventure on Monday January 2, 2017.

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Rohde and his team at Imagineers were given a short timeframe to remove the Twilight Zone theme from DCA’s Tower of Terror and come up with a new Marvel backstory for the existing ride, which will serve as an anchor for the as-yet-unannounced Avengers campus should.

Rohdes marching orders were broad but simple: “We want you to take the Tower of Terror and find an overlay that we can do so we can open something big.”

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Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout was announced during San Diego Comic-Con in July 2016, less than a year before the redesigned ride opened at DCA in May 2017 – a short turnaround for a Disney attraction.

Imagineering considered several Marvel backstories for Tower of Terror before settling on the Guardians of the Galaxy characters – the one with the release of the superhero team’s first feature film in July 2014 by unknown people beyond comic book fans had become blockbuster franchise superstars. In May 2017, a sequel was released with another film planned for 2023.

“We brought a few ideas,” said Rohde during the D23 podcast. “We could do Doctor Strange. That would work really, really well, in almost what Tower of Terror is. Spider-Man needs some space. It’s a different matter. And then guard. “

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Rohde’s first response to a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay: “That’s impossible. That’s a stupid idea. But then you have to work your way through. “

The more time Rhode spent walking through Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, the more a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay seemed possible.

“There are only a certain number of details about this building that make it look like a hotel. I can count them on one hand, ”said Rohde during the D23 podcast. “If I remove these details, I have a generic thing and I can make that generic thing look like anything. I bet I could make it look like something from the Guardians’ world – either from the movie or from the comics. “

After Imagineering decided on a Guardians overlay, Rohde and his team went to work trying to figure out how to tell a completely new backstory without dramatically changing the drop tower driving experience.

“If it’s guardians, that’s a completely different emotional tone,” said Rohde during the D23 podcast. “It’s not like the Tower of Terror. It’s not the same feelings. What are the emotions? How do we evoke these emotions? “

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The backstory of the redesigned ride had to make sense right away for DCA visitors who knew absolutely nothing about Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy movies and comic books.

“I always think no matter what the brand is, no matter what intellectual property you work with, in the sense of a designer you still have to do all the homework you would do anyway,” Rohde said during the D23 podcast. “Go all the way to zero.”

The goal of the Guardians overlay was to capture the disrespectful, humorous, and energetic spirit of the superhero team.

“The storylines will go on forever. The feeling remains the same, ”said Rohde during the D23 podcast. “Forget the plot line and what happened in the last movie. Everything has to feel like her. And that is the work that we really tried to do with this project. “

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