Star Wars is, famously, set in a galaxy far, far away, but pretty soon "far, far away" will mean California or Florida. In 2019, Disney will open two Star Wars theme parks located in Anaheim's Disneyland and Orlando's Disney World. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge promises to be an exciting and unique experience for any fan, Force-attuned or not. Here's everything we know about Galaxy's Edge.
Disney first announced it would be building the Star Wars parks in August 2015, with construction beginning in April of the following year. There were few concrete details about what the then-unnamed theme parks would look like, but top Disney and Lucasfilm brass promised an immersive experience that was fully faithful to Star Wars' iconic feel, mythology, and canon.
"Our intent is to make it feel as if you just walked into one of the movies," Scott Trowbridge, the Walt Disney Imagineering executive heading up the parks' development, said in a 2015 interview. "What does that street feel like? What does that animal smell like? What does blue milk taste like?"
Galaxy's Edge won't be set on any Star Wars planet that fans have seen before, meaning visitors won't be exploring familiar Tatooine bars, Dagobah swamps, or palaces on Naboo. Instead, the park will be set on a new planet, called Batuu. Disney revealed the name of the planet in November 2017, along with some details about what to expect from the new world, which was modeled after parts of Istanbul and Morocco.
"This used to be a vibrant trading port back in the old sub-lightspeed days, but now with advent of hyperspace, its prominence has kind of fallen and faded a little bit, which has made it a great spot for those who didn't want to be on that kind of mainstream path," Trowbridge explained in an interview. "The smugglers, the bounty hunters, the rogue adventurers looking to crew up, the people who don't want to be found — basically all the interesting people."
Despite being a new addition to Star Wars canon and not appearing in any films, Batuu has been given a rich place in the franchise's lore. After it was announced, Batuu appeared in the 2018 book Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances and the main town in the theme park is Black Spire Outpost, which is named after an organization that's alluded to in Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Timeline-wise, Galaxy's Edge will be set during the sequel trilogy, meaning the Stormtroopers will be from the First Order and heroes from the Resistance might make appearances.
RIDES AND ATTRACTIONS
So, Batuu will be a fresh experience for Star Wars fans. That's by design, because the creators didn't want visitors to feel they were simply replaying Star Wars' greatest hits rather than having their own immersive and new experience. But, what will those experiences be?
The two biggest rides are Smuggler's Run and Rise of the Resistance. The former places visitors in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, albeit a version of the cockpit with a few extra seats. Every guest will have a specific job that they'll need to do as the ship zips around space trying to accomplish its mission. The outcome of the mission will affect other aspects of the guests' Galaxy's Edge experience. Let the ship take on too much damage and a bounty hunter may come after you as you explore the rest of Batuu, for instance. It's also going to be possible to lose Smuggler's Run, but it's okay — just get in line and try again.
The second ride, Rise of the Resistance, is "the most epic ride we've ever built," according to Trowbridge. In a behind-the-scenes promotional video release in late December, Trowbridge explains that the ride "invites you to be a recruit for the resistance and stand up against the first order and even come face to face with Kylo Ren. If you make it through that, you get back to the planet, you are going to be a hero of the resistance and be celebrated throughout the land."
The full details of the ride aren't clear yet, but it looks like at least part of it will see guests riding a First Order Fleet Transporter through a Star Destroyer's hanger.
Other non-ride attractions include a toy stall run by a Toydarian (the same species as Anakin Skywalker's original slaveholder, Watto). Toy stall, Toydarian? Kinda on-the-nose. Anyway, there will also be some sort of creature stall and possibly the ability to buy the most realistic toy lightsaber ever.
Finally, Galaxy's Edge will also feature Oga's Cantina, which is a big deal because it will be the first place that sells alcohol to the public in all of Disneyland. There will also be blue milk, natch.
FAMILIAR FACES AND SOUNDS
There will be a couple familiar Star Wars characters who make appearances of some sort in Galaxy's Edge. There's Kylo Ren, as mentioned in the Rise of the Resistance Ride, but he appears to be wearing a helmet so you likely won't see Adam Driver anywhere. Non-human characters include BB-8, Chewbacca, and a droid named RX-24. The droid, Rex, was the pilot in the old Star Tours attraction that opened back in the '80s, but in Galaxy's Edge, he'll be the DJ at Oga's Cantina.
John Williams, the composer behind all of Star Wars' most famous and beloved themes, did the music for Galaxy's Edge, so it'll certainly sound good.
WHEN WILL IT OPEN?
The Disneyland location will open in Summer 2019 while Disney World's will open in the Fall 2019.