Last week, Walt Disney World unveiled its newest attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the highly anticipated Rise of the Resistance. It's a ride unlike anything that's been experienced in a Disney Park before. Combining different ride systems and walk-throughs, it brings fans like us into the story in a way that has never before been possible. As you explore the Star Wars universe in the form of the Resistance Base on Batuu, you're drawn into a story and get to actively participate in it.
Here's the setup: The First Order is on the verge of discovering the Resistance base on Batuu and desperately wants to learn the location of the next front of their war to destroy their opposition. They want to find General Organa and snuff her out once and for all. The Resistance, if you recall the events of The Last Jedi, is very short on troops and need you to help fill their ranks.
This is the story as you enter the queue for the ride.
As you step up to join the Resistance, there are quite a few things to keep an eye out for as you're waiting to receive your mission briefing.
The first thing is the gorgeous waterfall as you enter the first stage. This waterfall is referenced heavily in Delilah Dawson's novel Black Spire. This base was inhabited by an older race of beings that existed on Batuu long before Black Spire Outpost's establishment, and the pool at the base of the waterfall was actually a trap for explorers wandering too far looking for water. There were poisonous creatures down there, so don't reach your hand in.
Then there is a treasure trove of smaller easter eggs on the inside, just waiting for you to discover in room after room of the queuing area. The first thing you'll notice is a pair of Gonk droids and a lamp that looks an awful lot like the one Luke used in his camp on Dagobah.
There are massive display cases in each room, all disguised as storage lockers that give you a look at different items you'd find around an active Resistance base. In one case, you can see breathing masks like the ones on the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back as well as one of the lamps that Yoda stole from Luke on Dagobah. If you look closely, you can see that it appears to be the same model that you can buy for yourself at Dok Ondar's shop, elsewhere in Batuu.
Pilots are incredibly well represented in the easter eggs throughout the queue on Rise of the Resistance. One thing to note in these photographs is that the helmet featured is double-sized and shaped unusually. I believe this is a helmet designed for an Abednedo pilot and not a human one, which is something I hadn't seen in a queue situation like this before.
There are many other things to look out for from all of the films, especially The Last Jedi. You can spot some of the equipment they used to send their desperate message from Crait, as well as Finn's medical suit from the beginning of the film.
THE MISSION BRIEFING AND SHUTTLE
After you make your way through the queue, there are a lot of things to look out for or listen to in the mission briefing. Not only is Nien Nunb, hero of the Battle of Endor, the pilot who will be whisking you away from Batuu, but he'll also be commanded by a new character, named Lt. Bek. Bek is a Mon Calamari and named after Carrie Beck, the vice president of animation and live-action series development at Lucasfilm.
More than that, Lt. Bek is voiced by none other than James Arnold Taylor, the actor who provided the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi for the duration of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
When Rey appears to you in hologram form at the mission briefing, she says she is sending you to a planet called Bakura, where General Organa is hiding. Fans of Star Wars Legends will remember this world from the novel Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers.
In that book, an alien race is invading a far-flung planet named Bakura, and Luke Skywalker, in the days immediately following the Battle of Endor, volunteers to defend them. Since the new era of the canon, this planet has also been mentioned in Vader Immortal and on the show Star Wars Resistance.
Another thing to keep a careful eye out for is Blue Five. Blue Five is one of the pilots flying escort for your I-TS transport alongside Poe Dameron. At first glance, I thought she was human, but as I looked closer, I realized that she was a Mirialan. The most prominent members of that race were Jedi Master Luminara Undulli and her padawan Barris Offee.
After a trip on the transport, the Rise of the Resistance brings you to the Finalizer, the first ship we saw in the sequel trilogy with that striking opening shot of The Force Awakens. This is the flagship of Kylo Ren and is where you are brought to be interrogated. As you step into the interrogation room, you'll recognize its odd, triangular shape instantly as the same room (or style of room) that Poe Dameron was brought to when Kylo Ren interrogated him at the beginning of that film as well.
As you board the ride vehicle, there are plenty of things you're going to see that are tied to various moments in the Star Wars saga, from Kylo Ren and General Hux to full-size AT-ATs. I wasn't able to take any pictures during the ride, but this is the video Disney provided me with of the experience.
Things to note: Kylo Ren does not yet have his red-lined mask as we see it in The Rise of Skywalker. Matt Martin from the Lucasfilm Story Group told me in an interview at the opening event that there is a story to be told there explaining this discrepancy, but it requires our patience.
You'll also notice the old-school AT-ATs rather than AT-M6s like those that were fielded by the First Order on Crait. You'll also travel through a room full of turbo laser batteries that is an updated version of a similar room we saw in Revenge of the Sith in the opening battle of Coruscant. These are very much like the flak guns that were part of General Grievous' ship, the Invisible Hand.
Additionally, the final fate of the Finalizer on Rise of the Resistance has interesting ramifications for what we'll see in The Rise of Skywalker, but that's more observation than easter egg.
Rise of the Resistance is chock-full of things to notice. I was able to ride it eight times and still didn't catch everything. By the last time I rode, I was still noticing little details and nuances, which is the mark of a great attraction. There are more easter eggs and hidden gems to find, and I can't wait to see what else I notice in the future.
In the meantime, you can check them out for yourself. Rise of the Resistance is currently open at Disney World's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. The ride opens on January 17, 2020, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Be there; the Resistance needs you.