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Disney World Animatronic Causes Viral Confusion on Social Media

hondo ohnaka disney world smuggler's run
Credit: Disney/ Canva

Star Wars is an expansive galaxy entire of exotic places and interesting characters. As Disney brings more epic content to Disney+ and theatres moving forward, it can be a little overwhelming for some who aren’t die-hard fans of the space opera. Keeping up with who’s who in the Star Wars universe is a tough ask, especially when the franchise has branched out into several markets, including video games, comic books, and animated series, many of which are considered canon to the original storyline.

Millenium falcon: smuggler's run disneyland

Credit: Disney

As Walt Disney World and Disneyland now rely heavily on Star Wars to draw in vast numbers of fans to their parks, it isn’t uncommon to run into characters in the Galayx’s Edge section of Disneyland Park and Hollywood Studios. Characters pop up on merchandise, in meet-and-greets, and even as part of the story in ride system queues.

Although you’re likely to bump into Rey Skywalker, Kylo Wren, and Chewbacca during your travels around Batuu or while riding Rise of the Resistance, there’s a more obscure character behind the scenes in the Black Spire Outpost at Galaxy’s Edge: one that has some fans needing clarification as to who he is.

X user @JimShull posted a quick video featuring this largely unknown character on January 17, but the veteran Imagineer was surprised to find out that the video would soon catch fire. Currently sitting at almost a million interactions, the video has been shared throughout the Disney community due to Shull’s complete ignorance of who the character is.

“Although this animated figure is impressive in its movements I have zero idea who it is or why it is important. Good storytelling requires foreknowledge of stories and characters for a ride or experience to succeed,” he captioned the video taken in the queue of the popular Smuggler’s Run attraction.

hondo ohnaka

Credit: Star Wars

Of course, for Star Wars fans, obviously, this impressive audio-animatronic that Shull references is the Space Pirates Hondo Ohnaka, and although you won’t find him in any of the feature films, Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels fans are very much familiar with Jack Sparrow-esque character.

Hondo plays a significant role in the animated series Clone Wars (2008). His uneasy relationship with Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, and other Jedi comes to a head after dealings with Count Dooku go sideways. Although the story heroes are first introduced to Ohnaka while training a small village to defend themselves from Hondo and his band of pirates, Hondo quickly grows into a crowd favorite, helping the Jedi several times.

Although featured less, Hondo also appears in Rebels (2014), a story sequeled by the Disney+ series Ahsoka (2023), featuring Ezra Bridger, Hera Syndulla, and Sabine Wren.

star wars galaxys edge, millennium falcon smugglers run hondo ohnaka

Credit: Steven Beyer, Unsplash

It’s also worth noting that Hondo takes ownership of the famed Millennium Falcon at some point, explaining why he is lending out the ship to riders at Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run to steal coaxium.

Disney’s decision to include the seemingly random character in the queue could be considered questionable by some. However, as Lucasfilm’s Chief Creative Office, Dave Filoni, has now expanded into the Clone Wars and Rebels universe of Star Wars, fans may be introduced to a live-action version of this popular anti-hero sooner rather than later. 

As for the X post, it has made its way across the internet, with many notable Disney influencers poking fun at its content. Some have made hilarious jokes, reasoning that we didn’t know who other characters were once they were introduced to a popular attraction at Walt Disney World either. Some mentioned are Wardon Wilson Matua of Kilimanjaro Safaris and the infamous Gingerbread Man mascot of Jollywood Nights.

Despite the Marc Davis-esque joke of the tweet, Hondo remains one of the most impressive animatronics that Disney has ever built. You’ll find him in the queue of Smuggler’s Run, heading up Ohnaka Transport Solutions, giving guests a chance to fly the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

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