Wuhan Movie Park Star Journey Ride - Binary Star Sequence (2012)

The second of two sequences I storyboarded for the Star Journey ride developed by Forrec for the Wuhan Movie Park. This sequence was challenging to envision, as a journey through the surface of a star is something I have never seen before! Inspiration came from storm clouds and a trip I once took with my father, a former test pilot for Pratt & Whitney. In the small Mitsubishi Diamond jet he was piloting, we passed between two layers of cloud that were connected by massive pillars. Sitting in the cockpit as we banked around skyscraper-sized cloud formations is one of the most surreal experiences I can remember.

This was another project where I got to help conceptualize the ride film and write the beat-sheet for the experience. The final ride vehicle design I incorporated here was by my friend and colleague Tim Flattery.

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As we exit the Black Hole, we are plummeting into a blinding blue-white sun, dwarfed by the red giant behind it. The white dwarf rips a plume of gas and plasma from the red giant into a burning bridge between them, swirling around the smaller star.

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No time to linger on the sight as we’re coming in fast! The captain tells us to hold on, we’re going to try for a slingshot maneuver. But it will take us into the photosphere of the star itself!

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The Shenzhou ships dive at a shallow angle into the sun as the red giant drops below the horizon. The Copilot prays our heat-shield is strong enough as our sister ships begin to trail a wake of burning plasma.

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In another moment we’re surfing the corona at incredible speed, angry sunspots erupting and arcing huge solar flares over our heads.

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5) Having gained enough speed, the Shenzhou ships break away from the deadly surface right into the maelstrom of the accretion disk: a ring of burning plasma ripped from the giant red sun which fills the sky.

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6) Our ships skip over the ring of burning gas. With the red giant now risen out of view, the bridge between stars looms ahead like a waterfall of liquid fire.

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We fly up the bridge against the stream toward the angry giant beyond, dodging the bombardment of molten plasma.

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Now skimming the surface of the red star, a giant sunspot opens ahead of us and—

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Our ships fall into the gaping hole in the burning surface of the sun.

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We follow our sister ships into a tunnel--

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--formed from boiling clouds of flame above and a molten sea of liquid fire below.

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Ahead a funnel forms in the upper layer of clouds, charged with energy. It discharges in a bright arc that strikes the boiling surface below us—

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–And a flare of liquid plasma bursts up from the crack, parting the clouds above on its way into space. More storms erupt around us and our ships lurch as we take evasive action.

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But too late! Another plume erupts ahead, taking our sister ships with it, as a surge of arc lightning strikes in front of us—

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-- and a massive flare surges from the surface below—

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--hurling our ship up through the burning sky surfing a pillar of liquid flame, into the darkness of space.

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Launched clear of the suns, we now have a clear view of the spectacular binary system in all its terrible glory--

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Our sister ships turn away across a clear field of stars, and as we follow—

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We see our destination planet, wreathed in a mysterious mantle of clouds.

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A typical page of B&W thumbnails as submitted for approval before starting on the final color keyframes.