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Exploring Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge's many hidden gems and custom thrills
If you ever get over the initial shock of going to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge for the first few times — after making sure to get into the Cantina, nabbing that scrap metal building spot, or getting on Smuggler's Run — you'll soon realize you're just skimming the surface of what the land has to offer for Star Wars fans of all ages.
Visit enough and you'll stop worrying about missing your reservation slot, and that's when the real excitement begins. When you're just taking it all in, you begin to notice the details and Easter eggs all around you. From sights to sounds and things you can eat or buy, there are so many things that you begin to notice, new things that enhance the experience every time you go off-planet to the Black Spire Outpost.
On a recent trip, SYFY WIRE ventured into the park to find all ways to engage with the story (if you have time) and see how much we could find.
A STAR WARS STORY STARRING YOU
When you inquire more about the world around you, you're invited to explore and create your part in Galaxy's Edge. Finding the tools to do that is part of the fun and a lot of it starts with engaging with the characters.
After the first few visits, you'll start to get the hang of Batuu greetings: "Bright Suns" during the day or "Rising Moons" at night. Sometimes you'll hear the local gossip, like about the bar owner Oga and the quarrel between her and an old lover that resulted in those blaster holes outside her cantina. And yes, those things are canon.
Other times there's more gray area stuff, such when you meet Batuu civilians who have backstories. Take Cynthia and her Porg Hermione with the pearl necklace, for example, who let you know more about the creatures you can find in the Marketplace. In time, you find out little things that make a lot of sense, including how civilians like Cynthia don't live in the Outpost, but commute there to work and can be from one of 3 different areas: Galma, Peka, or Surabat.
It truly feels as if you're on another planet when your journey is soundtracked by John Williams, who wrote a suite for the land, which is layered with ambient sounds such as a ship taking off above you or a Wookiee taking a shower. Every little detail is imbued with pure Star Wars DNA, as WDI's John Kessler and Lucasfilm's Gary Ridestorm worked closely to create the mix for the land. The ambiance makes you believe you're about to be invited into a story you're going to help bring to life.
We felt empowered to become a hero, timely because we soon noticed a blue-haired girl who is hiding from the First Order. Feeling bold, we ask if she's Vi Morandi, General Leia's top spy, and identify ourselves as a supporter of the Resistance who would like to help. And this is where things get interesting: She asks us to come up with a code name, and we decided on Batuu-Bon, the name of the best dessert in the land. It's a small chocolate cake that is waaaay better than any flavor of the kinds of milk you can try and by far the superior treat.
After making sure to have downloaded the Disney Play App, we show Vi our Datapad (phone) and she asks us to infiltrate the First Order by joining the Galaxy's Edge RPG element of the app and hack into one of their ships for credits.
Credits on Batuu are the currency — the credits you bring into the land (your money) can be used to buy things, but the credits you gain through play are narratively purposed and digitally amassed through missions; they earn you titles, but no real items outside of the app.
A lot of signs in the park are in English but Aurebesh-ish; there is a good deal of actual Aurebesh to decipher on the app by using the translate option. One of the cool things we encountered while hiding from the brightest of suns in the well-air-conditioned Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities was a new creature we'd never seen before. Aside from the baby Sarlacc that Han and Chewie traded in, there is now currently a swamp creature from Naboo on display: the Ollopom, a very cute aquatic rodent.
Seeing it float up and down in its tank was delightfully surreal and a good break from our missions. That, and also looking at some of the unique items inside that were part of the movies that you could actually take home, including Padme's Japor Snippet necklace, Yoda's pouch, and lights used in Dagobah.
In our case, our mission involved moving through the labyrinth of the Black Spire outpost from the Resistance base to the First Order area. Luckily, we were prepared, outfitted in our GLD Landing Officer jacket, and we picked up a stealth Resistance insignia keychain to readily make ourselves known to allies. Getting creative with a look can be done before visiting Batuu by creating Star Wars universe-inspired looks through Disneybounding or finding pieces to complete it at Black Spire Outfitters.
Eventually, the brightest of suns had us in need of hydration, so we picked up essentials such as a carbon detonator and water smuggled to Batuu from our planet. While resting in the docking bay, we found some interesting numbers overhead of our table in the architecture. If you notice, each number represents the year of the release dates of the films in the original trilogy! The shuttle that sits atop the docking bay also mirrors the numbers as a great nod to the films.
There are so many little things as you walk around that can catch your eye. You can find mini speeders stacked along the walls along the marketplace corridors. There you can also encounter the former resident of a trash compactor who now dwells in the bathroom pipes near a drinking fountain. Keep an eye out for them.
Be aware that when you have your datapad out, the First Order will accost you if they trace your connection while you're hacking into areas by lighting up control panels or scanning coded hidden things around the land. Seeing your missions activate lights on walls and sounds is all fun and games until they attract questions from the baddies. They'll come to you and inquire what you're doing on your datapad and if you're working with the Resistance. You better get good at Jedi mind tricks or playing oblivious Galactic tourist to get them off your trail. There are so many factions, so be sure to pick the one you most align with and be careful who you trade things with. You don't want to lose any valuable data.
You can also do cool things by tuning into communication signals sent around the outpost with secret correspondence from characters you might recognize and that delve into their expanded stories. Even some of the faces that pop up giving you missions are directly from the current films such as Lt. Connix (Billie Lourd).
Some of the real-world moments you may experience include helping Chewie fix an X-Wing or seeing Rey place a wish on the wish tree in Savi's courtyard (and if you're lucky to find a scrap you can put a wish on a branch yourself). There are small and big moments all around but making a wish is a big goal.
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES
Eventually, we reach the other side and hack into Kylo Ren's ship, doing some damage in the name of the Resistance and completing Vi's mission. It was such a fulfilling day but I think the biggest surprise is finding more things along the way that splinter off on more potential adventures.
There's so much we collected, including Star Map pieces from droids and communication signal logs being sent around the outpost, some of which mentioned more recognizable characters. All of this reveals an ever-expanding world being built throughout Galaxy's Edgel There are even things that were tricky to get, such as the Easter egg Data Pad mission in the cantina where we could find a piece of DJ-R3X's memory and also listen to him spin new tracks — but that required acquiring reservations for the bar.
Pro-Tip: You can try to get reservations every morning from home on the Disneyland app and don't have to be in the park to do it. The same goes for Savi's Scrap Metal Building, which we haven't done yet and can't wait to experience in order to follow the path of the Jedi.
Everything about Galaxy's Edge is so integrated that you can pick up on your journey easily when you return and you'll still find something new every time. Datapad Imagineer Anisha Deshmane recently shared that the Disney Play team plans on planting more seeds as films, books, and new shows come out in order to bridge the stories you make with the stories you love.
"We want to make it as current as we possibly can," she explained at the most-recent D23 Expo. "Anything from items and stories from the films and streaming shows will be seen but unfold along the way. The Digital aspect will be where we see the latest parts of the story unfold quickly. This is the first time we see it be part of the experience and push the rest of the story to be something new and unique. We are going to start to see that become an integral of the experience."
That's what makes going to Galaxy's Edge so amazing: You're participating in an adventure that allows you to discover more about the universe you love while feeling like you're a vital part of it no matter if you're eight or 900 years old.