The Adventures Continue features locations and characters from throughout the Skywalker Saga, unlike its predecessor, which took place shortly after the original trilogy. The attraction opened on May 20, 2011 at Disney's Hollywood Studios, on June 3, 2011 at Disneyland, and on May 7, 2013 at Tokyo Disneyland. The ride opened at Disneyland Park (Paris) on March 26, 2017, as part of its 25th anniversary celebration.
With the development of the sequel trilogy, scenes from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi have been added in 2015 and 2017. This would initially interfere with the attraction's original vague "Between III and IV" time period, though with the 2017 updates, the sequel trilogy content would be expanded to allow for it to become an experience separate from the I-VI sequences.
In tradition with most Star Wars productions, the attraction was presented with an opening crawl during the inaugural ceremony at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 20th, 2011. It reads as follows:
It has been a long time since the end of the Clone Wars, and the evil SithLordDarth Vader continues to tighten his grip on the Empire as the galaxy moves closer to the brink of a great civil war.
A new intergalactic spaceline, Star Tours, seeks to preserve unrestricted intergalactic travel in this age of tyranny. Freedom fighter Captain Raymus Antilles has assigned two droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, to help launch the spaceline, fueling Imperial suspicion that Star Tours is part of the Rebel Alliance.
Star Tours was always intended to receive occasional updates, though various factors would serve to delay the project. The initial development proper on a Star Tours II began in 1997 when George Lucas invited Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald to Skywalker Ranch and showed him the Pod Race sequence of the in-development Episode I: The Phantom Menace, suggesting it would be perfect material for an updated Star Tours attraction.
Imagineers developed an attraction concept with a pod race as its centerpiece, but held off on it to wait and see what the other prequels could offer. With a branching storyline in mind, Fitzgerald went to Fox Studios Australia in 2003 during the filming of Revenge of the Sith to pitch the multi-branching storyline to George, quickly getting his approval to move forward. Work proper finally began in 2007 with Fitzgerald and other Imagineers regularly visiting Skywalker Ranch to show them their progress.
At the inaugural D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, on September 12, 2009, Jay Rasulo and Darth Vader (voiced in this instance by Fred Tatasciore) announced that Disneyland's Star Tours attraction would be closing in October 2010 to make way for an updated version, which opened in 2011. Tatooine was the first of the new destinations revealed, showing a sample of the Pod Racing sequence.
Since the attraction takes place in an earlier timeframe than its predecessor, this Star Tours travel agency utilizes AC-series pilot droids and, therefore, RX-series pilot droidCaptain Rex is not the ship's pilot (instead appearing in the queue as a defective prototype droid). Additionally, Endor is not currently a destination. Through a series of mistakes, though, the AC-series pilot droid does not appear as the ship's pilot either, as the aerophobic C-3PO finds himself at the helm of the StarSpeeder 1000.
The exteriors of the Star Tours attractions are different in their respective parks. The attraction in Florida is inspired by an Ewok village on the forest moon of Endor whereas the California and Japan versions are modeled after a Tomorrowland-esque space port.
According to the opening crawl that preceded the attraction's inaugural opening, after the Dark Times began, Captain Antilles had dispatched C-3PO and R2-D2, who were placed in the custody of Antilles by order of Bail Organa near the end of Revenge of the Sith, to assist in the inauguration of the spaceline. The seemingly close relationship between the Rebel Alliance and the Star Tours agency caused the Galactic Empire to believe that both entities were in a partnership and has since monitored the agency's actions over the years.
Similar to the functionality of the previous attraction, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue places guests in the role of space tourists en route to a predetermined destination. The queue is designed to resemble a spaceport terminal: posters advertise trips to different planets and a large LCD screen informs riders of the benefits of booking flights with Star Tours. The screen displays information in spoken basic language and Aurebesh. The queue is populated with Audio-Animatronic characters, including C-3PO, R2-D2, and two Mon Calamari officers, that interact with one another and to the guests.
Entering the cargo bay, RX-24 from the original attraction can be found, who, in accordance with the timeline, has not been used yet and is therefore being sent back to a factory as defective. He occasionally has power surges and delivers lines from the original attraction. Two G2 droids interact with guests as they conduct their tasks. The more outspoken droid processing the passengers' luggage on a scanning system reveals the luggages' contents to the guests waiting in the queue. Many references, gags and in-jokes are made via the contents of the luggage. Guests then retrieve their 3-D "flight glasses" and are directed by a Star Tours crew member to one of several concourses where they wait to board.
Television monitors show C-3PO, who has been assigned to maintenance on the StarSpeeder that the guests are about to board, inadvertently getting trapped in the cockpit. Following this, Aly San San presents an instructional video (reminiscent of the original) to the guests on how to fasten their seat belts and where to place their belongings followed by the Disney Parks daily safety spiel in English and Spanish. Once the doors to the Starspeeder 1000 open, guests enter the ride simulator. After the doors close, C-3PO complains to R2-D2 about the misunderstanding, but is ignored when the StarSpeeder begins to take flight.
The attraction currently features 54 different ride experiences, including several different planets from the Star Wars universe such as Coruscant and Tatooine. With The Adventures Continue serving as a prequel to the original Star Tours rather than a sequel, guests board StarSpeeder 1000 spacecraft simulators, forerunners to the StarSpeeder 3000 simulators found in the original attraction. The ride experience has a branching narrative with the system having control over its random sequencing, rather than the participants. This gives Star Tours the advantage of being both highly repeatable and constantly surprising.
Even though guests can experience 54 different journeys, the main priority (delivering the Rebel Spy to safety) is accomplished no matter what the sequence is. The Rebel spy's identity is chosen by the cast member operating the ride vehicle from among the guests on the attraction and their picture is presented during the ride. When referring to the spy, characters will alter their dialogue depending on the gender of the person chosen as the spy (him, her or them). Sometimes, no guest is chosen as the Rebel spy and a generic photo is used.
There are eighteen (originally eleven) random segments of the film (five introductions, four "detours", six hologram transmissions and four finales).
The Starspeeder 1000 takes off, although C-3PO protests that he is not the captain. As the ship is about to leave the Star Tours terminal, one of two scenes will occur:
Darth Vader, Imperial Stormtroopers, and skytroopers arrive to arrest the Rebel Spy aboard the speeder. Vader uses a Force-grip to keep the speeder from escaping. The Starspeeder fires its lasers at the Sith Lord, who deflects them with his lightsaber, allowing the shuttle to make a rapid exit backwards out of the hangar, with TIE Fighters chasing after it. The StarSpeeder then makes the jump to lightspeed, at C3PO's insistence.
Starting from 'Season Of The Force', in some of the rides, one of the four Skytroopers, with Vader, may be Boba Fett.
An Imperial probe droid attaches to the windshield and detects the presence of the Rebel Spy on board the Starspeeder. At the same moment, Han Solo, facing detention by the Empire, opens fire on a platoon of Stormtroopers and races up the boarding ramp of the Millennium Falcon. The Falcon lifts off and launches out of the hangar with the StarSpeeder in hot pursuit. After a few maneuvers, the Falcon jumps away and the StarSpeeder shoots down a couple of TIE Fighters, takes a few shots at a Star Destroyer and then jumps to lightspeed despite C-3PO's protests.
After jumping into lightspeed, one of four scenarios occurs:
The Starspeeder almost crashes on Hoth amid a battle between Rebels and Imperial AT-ATs. After entering the combat zone against orders, an AT-AT fires at the StarSpeeder and the ship crashes into the snow, teetering on the edge of a cliff. The ship falls over the side and rides the canyon like a luge, launching off another cliff and free-falling into a deep canyon. Seemingly at the last second, R2-D2 re-engages the engines and the StarSpeeder rockets back into space.
The StarSpeeder travels back in time to the past, and reaches Tatooine, where it ends up taking part in the Boonta Eve Podrace, along with Sebulba. The StarSpeeder collides with a podracer and the two become stuck together. The race concludes with the podracer-enhanced StarSpeeder overtaking Sebulba, then jettisoning the podracer and flying back into space, almost hitting the crowd of spectators.
The StarSpeeder lands on Kashyyyk as Imperial jet speeders pursue Chewbacca and another Wookiee on a speeder bike through the lush forest. At one point, Chewbacca falls off from the back of the speeder bike and hits the StarSpeeder's windshield before sliding off, temporarily leaving paw prints behind.
The Starspeeder travels forwards in time to the future, and finds itself on Jakku, where it encounters the Millennium Falcon being chased by New Order TIE Fighters. Finn appears on screen, at the Falcon's Turrets, questioning what the ship is doing there, but advises they stay low to confuse the TIE's trackers and to use their shield. The ship then crashes in to the wreckage of a Star Destroyer, where Scavengers are able to rip some of the plating from the ship, before head back to space. As part of the 2017 The Last Jedi update, this sequence is now exclusively assigned to other Sequel Trilogy content to create a more cohesive experience.
Despite C-3PO's protests, R2-D2 takes the speeder to one of four other scenarios:
The StarSpeeder remains in the past, and arrives in the upper atmosphere of a besieged Coruscant, where the last forces of the CIS battle the Army of the Republic's Clone troopers. Buzz droids are projected at the StarSpeeder, which attach themselves to the windshield, but R2 uses an electric shock to blast them off, after the buzz droids have caused severe damage to the stabilizers. The StarSpeeder then plummets through the planet's atmosphere and into the bustling sky traffic of the city planet. After several near misses, the StarSpeeder careens to a halt on a landing platform, nearly hitting a fuel tanker (a model seen in the original Star Tours) before crashing into a traffic control droid.
The StarSpeeder remains in the past, and makes it to Naboo, which is under attack by the last Trade Federation armies. Three N-1 starfighters are ordered to lead the StarSpeeder into a hangar bay, but are shot down by vulture droids. Another vulture droid shoots down the StarSpeeder and it plummets into the ocean of the planet and arrives near Otoh Gunga, almost hitting Jar Jar Binks. The Gungans tell the StarSpeeder to follow a tribubble bongo that will lead it through the planet's core. When the bongo picks up some strange readings and tell the StarSpeeder to stay close, an opee sea killer catches the sub with its tongue and brings it into its mouth. Before it could eat it, a Sando aqua monster grabs the opee in its jaws, forcing the carnivorous crustacean/fish to release its tongue's grip on the bongo. After the bongo wishes the passengers good luck before leaving them on their own, a colo claw fish then tries to eat the StarSpeeder, latching its jaws on it and licking the windshield with its tongue. Luckily, R2-D2 hits it with an electric shock, forcing the claw fish to release the StarSpeeder. The StarSpeeder then surfaces, skipping off the water and into a repair hangar filled with Starfighter debris. (There is a short reference to the original Star Tours with C-3PO shouting "Brakes, brakes, where are the brakes?" just like RX-24) The StarSpeeder smashes into the tail of a Naboo starfighter, shattering the windshield and angering the pit droid that falls into the cockpit.
In Season Of The Force, a secondary version of Naboo is shown. In the second version, Jar-Jar does hit against the Windshield, and rather than the tail shattering the windshield, in the hangar, it gently bounces on the screen, with an angry Pit Droid throwing a bucket of yellow paint on to the windshield.
The StarSpeeder discovers the still unfinished Death Star orbiting Geonosis. Ambushed in the asteroid field by Boba Fett aboard the Slave I, the StarSpeeder dodges laser fires and exploding asteroids before venturing into the Death Star. Escaping through a hangar bay, the StarSpeeder is confronted again by the bounty hunter. Fett launches a sonic bomb, which is deflected back by a laser blast from the StarSpeeder. The explosion cripples the bounty hunter, allowing the Starspeeder to jump to lightspeed. It reaches the Rebel fleet and lands aboard a Mon Calamari cruiser, where Mon Mothma and the other Rebel Alliance leaders await to offer congratulations.
The StarSpeeder remains in the future and arrives on Crait in the middle of the battle between the First Order and the Resistance. After escaping Tie Fighters by going through a cave, the StarSpeeder re-emerges in the midst of a battle with a group of All Terrain MegaCaliber Sixes and after taking down a few, the ship escapes to Batuu, where 3PO muses that their adventure is just beginning.
C-3PO thanks the guests for choosing Star Tours as their space-line of choice and are then given disembarking instructions by Aly San San.
After exiting the ride vehicle, the guests are shuffled through the space terminal and into the attraction's gift shop. The Florida version is called Tatooine Traders and is inspired by a desert outpost in Mos Espa. California's version is called Star Trader and is, much like the attraction itself, designed with Tomorrowland in mind.