Disney's "Galaxy's Edge" attraction is a chance for themepark visitors to enter the Galaxy Far, Far Away - but it wasn't the first one.
Rex was recently reprogrammed to be a DJ in Oga's Cantina. Today, he can be found playing the latest hits from around
the galaxy in the heart of Black Spire Outpost.
In 1987, Disneyland introduced "Star Tours," a SW-themed ride that took visitors to Endor to particpate in the assault on a Death Star. There had been discussion of a full indoor rollercoaster, but Michael Eisner wanted new attractions fast, and a video-based flight simulator would be quicker. George Lucas came up with the idea to make the pilot of the ship a droid, who could narrate the story and provide some personality - originally a Clone Wars veteran, but later changed to a nervous rookie on his first flight. It was also George's idea to make the trip not the planned, pleasant tour it might have been, but one where things go horribly wrong. More adventure for the audience!
The droid pilot was RX-24, nicknamed "Captain Rex." In the story, he was fired from his job after the disastrous maiden flight and ended up flying cargo transports for a while, but has now given up the pilot's life and has reimagined himself as "DJ R-3X." That explains why he's now got a pair of headphones affixed to his ears. Auditory receptors. Whatever.
George Lucas provided some basic ideas for the droid's appearance,
and Disney's Chris Unco sculpted a prototype - one that then had to be copied four times, because that's how many showings ran concurrently when Star Tours first opened (and then even more had to be made when it expanded to the other Disney parks). As far as droids go, the RX series was intended to bridge the gap between atromechs (specialized bodies to help fly ships) and protocol droids (regularly interacting with various sentient beings), so the design has a recognizable "face" but its body is basically a barrel on a stick, with a big skirt around the base. It probably couldn't even leave the ship on its own, being installed like a seat would be.
The thing that would make Rex a good DJ is that
he's basically an iPod you can set to "shuffle" he's got three arms. Imagine being able to cross-fade three reconrds instead of just two! Each of them is mounted on its own ring that swivels around the central post of the body, and each has a unique design - if he hadn't
been like this when he was factory new, we'd have thought he was salvaged together like Chopper! The top arm sticks straight out from the body, has a round swivel/hinge shoulder, a swivel wrist, and an articulated thumb; the middle arm comes out of the body at 90°, swivels on both sides of the shoulder, has a hinged elbow and wrist, a swivel in the hand, and another moveable thumb; the bottom arm has a boxy swivel/hinge shoulder, swivel wrist, and hinged clamp hand. Like we said, all three rings move on their own, plus the neck can extend, the head's on a balljoint, and the headphones can rotate on the ears. The only other thing we'd have asked for would be for his visor to be articulated.
When he was piloting Star Tours' StarSpeeder 3000 ship, RX-24 was silver and gold, with some purple accents; when he was refitted as a DJ, he changed his colors to grey and orange. Since the only physical change between the props is the addition of the headphones, Hasbro could totally make a retro Captain Rex in no time!
This release is part of the Target-exclusive "Galaxy's Edge" assortment, though it's unchanged from a previous release in a four-pack available only at Disney parks - it's just that this time you don't have to double-dip on C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 to get him. His packaging had to be a little bigger, so he cost a little more than the other releases, but he's still a better value than R5-P8. There's even a variant of him available: one version of the packaging has the Resistance logo on the right side, the other has the First Order symbol. Since he's just a DJ at a bar, he really wouldn't be aligned with one more than the other anyway.
DJ R-3X is an unexpected oddball of a figure, but he's a lot of fun to play with.