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Former 'Mythbusters' star and racer Jessi Combs killed in jet car crash

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Velocity(OREGON) — Jessi Combs, a racer, car builder, and former part-time on-camera member of the Mythbusters team, has died in an attempt to break her own land speed record in a jet car.

According to the popular car enthusiast website Jalopnik, the fatal accident took place Tuesday, on the Alvord Desert in Oregon. The 39-year-old, once dubbed “the fastest woman on four wheels,” set the previous record in a jet-assisted car in 2013, clocking 398 miles per hour at that same location.

She reportedly reached speeds of 483 mph there in 2018, but that accomplishment wasn’t made official. 

In a memorial Instagram slideshow of the groundbreaking racer in happier times, Terry L. Madden, a member of Combs’ team, confirmed the news of the “horrific accident.”

He explained, “I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!”

Madden went on to call Combs his “unicorn,” adding, “I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman.”
 
Combs’ former Mythbusters co-stars memorialized her on social media, with Adam Savage calling Jessi a, “…brilliant & [top]-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator,” and adding, “We are lesser for her absence.”

He added, “My heart goes out to her family.”

Kari Byron, for whom Combs occasionally subbed on the hit Discovery show, added, “She was a bada**. Always pushing limits. Sending smiles into the universe for her.”

In addition to Mythbusters, Combs also co-hosted the Spike TV series Xtreme 4X4, and appeared on Overhaulin’, All Girls Garage and The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge' opens at Walt Disney World on Thursday

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Disney(ORLANDO) — Welcome to Black Spire Outpost, located on the planet of Batuu (Ba-Too). It’s part of the new Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and it opens tomorrow.

Earlier this summer, the attraction opened at California’s Disneyland. In a sneak peek on Wednesday, ABC News’ Good Morning America revealed that the Walt Disney World is almost identical to its California cousin.

Setting the experience on Batuu, instead of a well-known Star Wars location like Mos Eisley, was a deliberate move by Disney to let everyone have their own experience, from fanatics to Star Wars newbies.

“The partnership between Disney and Lucasfilm goes back 30 years and there’s so much passion around Star Wars,” Greg Ashton, executive architect at Walt Disney Imagineering, told GMA. “Nobody set higher expectations for this project than we did. There was so much desire to get it right, to make sure it felt authentic and immersive.”

“It’s exciting…to…realize we’re finally there…five years later we’ve built this small city. Everything you see here is custom and there’s so much passion and detail,” Ashton said.

That attention to detail extends to “in universe” food and beverages — and in a Disney parks first, some are alcoholic. There are also “artifact shops,” but you won’t find any Mickey ears or any Star Wars T-shirts. After all, the people of Black Spire Outpost would have no need for these things.

Equally immersive is the attraction Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, which lets fans pilot Han Solo’s beloved Corellian spaceship. Another attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is expected to debut at Walt Disney World on Dec. 5 and at Disneyland on Jan. 17, 2020.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Leslie Jones leaving 'SNL', reportedly checking out 'Supermarket Sweep' reboot

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Dana Edelson/NBC(NEW YORK) — Following news Tuesday that Leslie Jones is leaving Saturday Night Live after five seasons to pursue TV and film projects, comes word that one of those projects will be a reboot of the classic TV game show Supermarket Sweep, according to Deadline.

The show, which first aired on ABC from 1965-67, followed by revivals on Lifetime from 1990-95 and Pax from 1999-2003, challenges contestants to race around a supermarket and grab as many of the most expensive items as they can. The team with the highest total wins.

The revival is currently shopping for an outlet, with ABC, NBC, Fox and Netflix all in the hunt.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: 'Thor: Ragnarok' director Taika Waititi to jump to James Gunn's DC Comics-based sequel 'The Suicide Squad'

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Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney(LOS ANGELES) — Sources tell Deadline that Thor: Ragnarok, filmmaker Taika Waititi is eyeing a role in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. No further details are available as of now.

Waititi would join a cast that so far includes Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Idris Elba and Nathan Fillion, among others.

Deadline reports a table reading for the DC sequel is slated for September 11, with filming to start September 23, in anticipation of a 2021 release.

In the meantime, Waititi is executive producing the FX vampire comedy series What We Do In Shadows, based on his 2014 film, for which he also directed three episodes. The New Zealand filmmaker also helmed an episode of Disney+ upcoming Star Wars streaming series The Mandalorian, launching November 12, and is writing and directing Thor: Love and Thunder, opening in 2021.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Aquaman' himself, Jason Momoa, gets trapped for hours in an elevator

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ABC/Rick Rowell(NEW YORK) — Some may snark about his alter-ego’s powers on land, and this won’t help: Jason Momoa, the titular character in the 2018 blockbuster Aquaman, spent hours trapped in an elevator at L’Hermitage hotel in Vancouver, Canada on Monday.

The hulking 40-year-old actor — who was in the predicament with five of his friends — live-streamed the ordeal his 13 million social media followers in an Instagram Story, which was captured by Canada’s CTV.

The big screen superhero and his pals complained they were stuck for at least two hours with nothing but M&Ms and beer.

At one point, Momoa pointed his camera toward the top of the elevator car, which appeared to be damaged following a failed attempt to escape.

“Look at the aftermath,” said the the six-foot-four-inch actor. “Just trying to get out, man. I was trying to be like Die Hard, but it just didn’t work out.”

“The fire department doesn’t really want to show up,” Momoa noted at one point.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services tells CTV they were dispatched to the hotel that night, but that they “usually take their time when dealing with elevator malfunctions unless there is a pressing emergency inside.”

“There are a lot of hazards that are associated with trying to get someone out of an elevator that’s stuck in the shaftway, as you can imagine — especially if it’s between floors,” explained public information officer Jonathan Gormick.

“Unless someone is in extreme medical distress, we wait for an expert from an elevator company to come and resolve the problem,” he continued. “Pulling people from a stuck elevator is a last option for us.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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