If you want to concoct an expert, showy scheme in the Star Wars galaxy, you should only talk to one being: Hondo Ohnaka. The charming Weequay space pirate first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars before going on to appear multiple times in Star Wars Rebels is a figure known throughout parts of the Star Wars universe. He has a certain uh, reputation, but to some, he’s a dear friend and colleague. And he’s coming to Disney Parks’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in a big way.
Hondo’s making the jump from animated character to a life-size animatronic figure that will be a key part of the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride.
He’s looking for a crew to take the Falcon on some not-so-above-board missions. As you stand in the queue, Hondo will give you the sales pitch. Having seen the animatronic firsthand, I can tell you the movement is staggering. But you don’t have to listen to me. Watch this video from Walt Disney Imagineering that shows Hondo off:His movements run on electronic motors. He’s the second most advanced animatronic in all of Disney Parks–the first being the Na’vi Shaman in the Na’vi River Journey attraction in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar. The Shaman has 40 or so functions in her face alone, while Hondo has 51 total functions with about ten in his head (via Popular Mechanics).
Jim Cummings is voicing the character, as he has in the animated series, and I’m ready to buy whatever he’s selling. The animatronic matches Cummings’ voice and inflection remarkably well. I know Hondo is an alien and therefore not real, but this animatronic sure makes it seem like it.
Images: Walt Disney Imagineering, Lucasfilm
Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.