It has lasted an amazing seven years, but all good things must come to end. The Hyperspace Hoopla show featured during Star Wars Weekends at Disney Hollywood Studios® has a special place in my heart. Star Wars characters battled in a “Dance Off…with the Star Wars Stars!” which was entertaining for even non-Star Wars fans. In fact, the hosts Snig and Oopla, specifically Oopla, were the two characters that made me realize that I may want to become a Disney performer instead of working strictly behind the scenes. You can only imagine how I reacted when I found out that I would never see my beloved inspirations on stage with new material again. Consider this blog a tribute to my favorite stage show in Walt Disney World® history: even though I never got the chance to see it with my own eyes.
The Original Characters
Snig and Oopla were never mentioned in any Star Wars movie and were characters created by the Walt Disney Company. What I love most about this was that they didn’t have the anchor of a backstory to drag them down. We don’t know if they are friends, relatives, married – but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Oopla’s go-with-the-flow attitude and Snig’s easy-to-tick-off temper were the perfect combination for an entertaining show. I have to admit, Oopla inspired me in more ways than one. She always seemed to forget about what people would think and was willing to take a risk if it meant saving her friends. She jumped in and did the “Cat Daddy” dance with the Cantina Band, ran around the stage more than once, and pushed Darth Vader’s buttons- literally (“…Lord Vader’s AN IPOD!”). She even pushed away Vader’s hand when he was trying to strangle her, saying “Lose this.” Snig always warned Oopla, sometimes even telling her “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”. Snig would also frequently get mad at the Cantina Band for playing the same song, even though they were receiving requests for other ones.
The quotes said by these characters are ones that I still find myself saying. For example, my phone autocorrects OMG to OMIG88, which is apparently the Star Wars Universe’s way to say the abbreviation for “oh my gosh” according to Oopla. There is the one I previously mentioned (“…Lord Vader’s AN IPOD!”) along with “Can I call you Annie?”. Whenever the dark side’s theme song would begin, Oopla would say “Is your mother here?” Another Oopla quote that has been repeated throughout the shows is when Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers make an entrance as the last performance, and she says “Late entries are not allowed!” which is usually followed by Snig stating “I don’t think they care Oopla…”
Snig and Oopla always seemed to violate Imperial Ordnance 429-74 by making their festivity extend past to appropriate time.
The first show was in 2006, which was back when Disney Hollywood Studios® was still called Disney MGM Studios. Talk about a Throwback Thursday! Hehe… sorry, teenage joke. ANYWAY, the stage was very small, right off of Star Tours®, and very difficult to find unless you knew where you were going. I could only find one video from the 2006 show, so I will never know how long the show was or what exactly happened. However, I do know that the “Hoopla Hustle” was taught to the audience throughout the show, which seemed to be the first time the world had seen Star Wars characters dance.
The “Dancing…with the Star Wars Stars” (before the name was changed to “Dance off”) didn’t appear until the following year, 2007. The theme of dance was disco, and each dance was done as a duet. The first dance was done by Chewbacca and a jawa to “We Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees, followed by Leia and Luke dancing to “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge: featuring Leia trying to steal a kiss or two. The next duet was Amidala and Vader to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”. The audience then got to vote on which couple was the best. Then, the show finished with the Hoopla Hustle. Throughout all of this you can hear the audience laughing and screaming. I suppose Disney knew right then that they had a hit on their hands.
2008 began with an adaption of “YMCA” to “YODA”, sung by Snig and Oopla themselves. After that, the Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes take over in “Stump the Band”, where people from the audience would name songs and the band would play them. Of course, the only song the band could actually play is the famous song played in the bar scene in Episode IV. Snig would get mad, and the band would break out into a hardcore dance combination. The Dance off was next, featuring 1980’s songs like “Footloose”, “Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Thriller”.
In my opinion, 2008 was really when the Hyperspace Hoopla show gained traction. More videos appeared on the internet with more views than ever before. The stage was altered so that it wasn’t just a print as a background- it looked more permanent with actual structures that looked like they came right from the Star Wars Universe. We see the “base” of the show for the first time, meaning that all shows after this follow pattern: a song sung by Snig and Oopla, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes do a sassy routine, the dance off, and then the finale.
In 2009, we hear the Hyperspace Hoopla theme song for the first time done to the tune of the Star Wars theme song. A character comes out for the first time not in their usual attire – Chewbacca with shutter shades. 2009 was also the first time that the finale was a melody of different songs that were danced to by most of the characters.
2010, 2011 and 2012 we don’t see a major change, besides the song choices and the choreography. It wasn’t until 2013 when the show seemed to get turned on its head. The show begins with… the Emperor hosting it instead of Snig and Oopla! Snig and Oopla were tied up and brought out during the opening number, only to find that Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes were replaced by Stormtroopers! The real Cantina band then comes out, and they have a dance off against their evil replacements. The Dance Off in 2013 had very important stakes – if Snig and Oopla win, they get their show back. Unfortunately, the bad guys won the dance off! But, “backstage footage” proved that the Emperor cheated! Therefore, the hoopla became Snig and Oopla’s once again!
The biggest change noticed by everyone was the huge jump from the small side stage near Star Tours® to the big main stage under the Sorcerer Hat in 2011. This change was done due to the huge following Star Wars Weekends, and the Hyperspace Hoopla was gaining and maintaining, in addition to the new effects that came with a new stage. For example, pyrotechnics like fire and fireworks were used along with doors that gave characters the dramatic entrances that they needed.
I loved watching the characters remain themselves throughout all the changes. Snig always got mad at the Cantina band and Oopla always challenged The Emperor no matter what the threat would be. Their outfits remained the same and their corny jokes remained through all the years.
This past weekend, Snig and Oopla were not included in the Star Wars Weekends festivities for the first time since 2006. However, Disney would not let them just disappear. It was revealed during the “Padawan Mind Challenge” (featuring a VERY familiar face as a new Lieutenant of the Empire. Do you recognize him? I sure did!) that Snig and Oopla were frozen in carbonite. At first, I have to admit that I was furious. If you follow me on social media, you probably saw just how upset I was on Saturday morning when I got around to watching the videos of this year’s events. How could they just KILL them of like that?!?!?! They deserved more! As I was drowning in my sorrows (just kidding: I was ranting to my mom about how mad I was), my mother brought up a great point. She said (and this is a direct quote), “Didn’t that one guy get frozen and survive?” Of course, ANY Star Wars fan knows that she was talking about Han Solo. I gasped. THERE IS A CHANCE! If needed, they could come back and make a public appearance. Who knows… maybe they could even sneak into the background of a scene in Episode VII!
Going through all the old footage and pictures from 2006 up to today was very nostalgic for me. Sure, I never saw the show with my own eyes: but that’s the magic of the Disney and the internet. I could feel the energy and the happiness radiating off of everyone (well, except maybe the folks over on the Dark Side) and watching Snig and Oopla have the time of their lives – whether acting or genuinely having fun – always makes me smile. I hope someday that I will get to talk to or to even meet Snig and Oopla and thank them for everything: but until then, I know that the Force is with them in a galaxy far, far away…
(Photo Credit to D.K Peterson, William Beem and Ricky Brigante)
See ya REAL soon!
Quote of the Week: “Who loves you? Oopla does!” ~ Oopla, Hyperspace Hoopla
Makena is a 15 year old high school student who spends much of her free time researching Disney. She enjoys sharing Disney facts and even plans Walt Disney World vacations (including searches for secrets and Hidden Mickeys) for friends and family. You can follow Makena on twitter @Makattack98 or on Facebook (Makena Wolcott). Makena began blogging for WDW Radio in December 2011.