After months of speculation, the new roller coaster known as SW8 in Alton Towers code has finally been given its name. The wooden roller coaster built by Great Coasters Intl. will be named Wicker Man.
In true Alton towers fashion, the name was released with a complete advertising package of amazing visuals, soundtracks, and outside marketing, such as lighting up the London Eye. If you haven't seen that image yet, I recommend that you look it up, as it is stunning.
The press release for the ride mentions that the ride will pass through the Wicker Man structure three times during the ride, and will combine wood and fire effects. Wicker Man gets its name from the 1973 film "The Wicker Man", starring Christopher Lee, and subsequent remakes/sequels of the film.
The plot of the film involves the protagonist visiting a remote island to search for a lost girl. After learning of the island's traditions, it becomes apparent to him that the lost girl is intended to be a human sacrifice to "please the farming gods". Responding to the findings, the protagonist begins a violent rampage, only to be informed that he himself is intended to be the human sacrifice, because he meets the requirements of the gods. The movie ends with the protagonist sent to death, burning in a gigantic Wicker Man statue.
It is unknown how much of the plot will be used for the ride, but at the very least, the ride will take its theming from this. Wicker Man will be a historic roller coaster for the UK, becoming the first wooden roller coaster to open since Oakwood's Megafobia in 1996. Much of the reasoning for this drought of wooden roller coasters is because the British public views traditional wooden roller coasters as old fashioned, rough, and unsafe.
This stereotype should be burned away with the opening of this ride, as it features some of the latest innovations in wooden coaster building. Along with featuring GCI's smooth track profile and Millennium Flyer trains, this will be the first "twister" layout wooden roller coaster to debut in the UK. The lift hill features a varying grade to fall within the height restrictions of the park, and a silent rollback system to minimize noise pollution. It is assumed that the ride will also feature magnetic braking, and other GCI standard features.
The ride reportedly has begun testing a month ago, and is slated to open sometime in Spring 2018. This is truly one of the things to look forward to if you are a UK coaster fan. Be sure to visit the ride's official website for stats and media.