Black Spire Outpost is a place with a rich and deep history. As the setting for Disneyland’s new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, fans and park goers alike will have a chance to explore it in very unique ways.
The planet is no stranger to the world of Star Wars. It’s featured in multiple books and comics leading up to the opening of this new theme park attraction. Everyone from Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker to Thrawn and Darth Vader have made stops at Batuu in the canon. The city and one of its most important denizens both warranted shout outs in Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s a wretched hive of scum and villainy, which makes it a perfect place for a beleaguered Resistance, still smarting from their defeat on Crait in The Last Jedi, to hide. Unfortunately, the First Order isn’t far behind.
At Galaxy’s Edge, this is merely the background. The story really revolves around you and allows you to step inside the world of Star Wars and become an active participant. How much you participate is entirely up to you, though. If you want to go in and shop and hit the rides without talking to a single person, it’s fully possible. You’ll still have a great experience, even though you’re only getting a fraction of it. Want to get deeper though?
You’ve come to the right place.
If there’s anything the combined might of Lucasfilm and the Disney company do better than almost anyone else, it’s storytelling. And there’s so much of it going on in the park, with every interaction you have. Every prop has a story. Every building casts a shadow through history. That cantina? Vader once set foot inside it. The DJ at the cantina? Used to fly Star Tours shuttles. Want to know more about it? You just need to ask.
That was the thing I was struck most by as I explored Galaxy’s Edge. I found myself wanting to adopt a character of my own, just to collect the details of the story. I naturally found myself talking to cast members in character, as though Star Wars was real — because to them, it really is. My first taste of this came when a Resistance soldier brushed past me and I almost spilled the drink in my hand. He steadied me and apologized. Then he leaned in and whispered a question about where my loyalties lie. “Tell you what,” he finally said as he handed me a card. “I think you’re on the right side. And I’ll tell you something else. If you see anyone with the Resistance, give ‘em a code phrase: 'Let the Wookiee win.' Say that and they’ll have something for you.”
The card he handed me was one of many. One one side, it looks like an average trading card. On the other? It’s a map of Batuu. “When you put the map together, there’s a mission,” he told me.
And then he was on his way.
I felt as though I’d been initiated into the world of Star Wars and it felt to be a complete accident.
As I talked to members of the Resistance, both in their base and mingling in the neutral parts of Galaxy’s Edge, I learned that Vi Moradi herself had scouted the location for the Resistance to camp out on Batuu, but that the First Order had arrived. They were looking for Vi and they would stop at nothing to find her. If I saw her, I shouldn’t tell the First Order what I’d seen. That would be bad for everyone.
I also learned there was a handshake and a different code phrase. If someone shook your hand forearm to forearm and said, “Ignite the Spark...” you’re supposed to reciprocate and offer back, “Light the fire.” It was a common refrain.
Anytime someone said “Ignite the Spark,” every Resistance member within earshot would shout back, “Light the fire!”
But there are factions there on Batuu that have nothing to do with the Resistance. The merchants all seem to be more interested in minding their business, though some seem to have tendencies that vacillate between the Resistance and the First Order. And there are some only interested in profit.
Perhaps my favorite interactions with cast members were with those blue-vest wearing crew that worked for Ohnaka Transport Solutions. They oversaw the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride for Honda Ohnaka and they all seemed to be having the time of their lives, even when they were acting completely disinterested.
You see, the Falcon is in desperate need of repairs and Chewbacca has agreed to let the one and only pirate extraordinaire, Hondo Ohnaka, borrow the Millennium Falcon for a quick heist. Hondo will employ an expendable flight crew (read: you) to steal a shipment of Coaxium from Corellia and bring it back. Half of it will go to the Resistance, Hondo will get the other half and (hopefully) pay you out of his tidy profit.
Any fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels will be familiar with Hondo and his selfish antics. When you come face to face with him in the ride queue, it’s magical. But don’t just pay attention to him. Pay attention as well to the crew there in the room with you. One time I rode it, there was one of his employees rolling her eyes and acting visibly upset by everything Hondo said.
When I made it into the Falcon, I asked one of the crew what it was like working for Hondo and he just laughed at me before explaining that it was fine when he got paid. He didn’t seem convinced.
I’d also bought a creature from the creature shop and so I was hefting around one of the crates that they come in. Every single crew-person sternly warned me that if I let one of those creatures out on the Falcon, they would be decidedly upset with me. “We’ve already got enough problems with porgs, buddy. You let one of those out and we’re gonna have a problem. Keep it in the cage, right?”
Indeed, there are porg nests hidden everywhere around the Falcon. I didn’t actually see a porg, but I did hear them. If you’re quiet in the hallway right outside the cockpit, you can actually hear them in the pipes. One crew member filled me in on that when I asked about the porgs. “They’re in the pipes, man,” he whispered to me in a way that made it sound as though he hadn’t slept in weeks because of it.
Anywhere you go on Batuu, there’s a language being spoken that seems unnatural at first, but you quickly get the hang of it. “Bright suns,” you’ll be greeted during the day and you don’t even realize that you’re parroting it back after about thirty minutes. “Rising moons,” they’ll tell you in lieu of good evening and you’ll be using that back at them in just as short time.
And I have to say, explore everything. There are non-descript doors that lead to places, but since they’re all opaque, Star Wars-style automated, sliding doors, you’d never guess unless you actually walk up to them. If you end up in the wrong place, there will be people there to direct you.
In short, there is nothing in the park that doesn’t feel interactive or that it doesn’t tell a story. To get the full experience, to understand the full story of Galaxy’s Edge, you’re going to want to spend as much time as you can there. It’s literally a different world and it will take a long time to explore.
The best way to go is feet-first. You’ve got all the knowledge of Star Wars, use it to pry stories from the cast. Ask in the cantina about Darth Vader and the time he tore the place up. Ask the Ronto Roasters where they got their podracer engine. Ask around about specific items in Dok Ondar’s shop. Ask around about the Resistance and the First Order. You’ll be rewarded for your curiosity and the level of dedication that the cast members put into their parts are infectious.
Galaxy’s Edge opens May 31, 2019 at Disneyland park in Anaheim.