Some big news broke this morning on D23 for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
Adventures abound in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, coming this summer to Disneyland Resort and this fall to Walt Disney World Resort. Encompassing 14 acres in each park, the immersive lands build off decades of collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm Ltd. Droids and humans alike will be transported to the planet Batuu, located along the galaxy’s Outer Rim on the fringe of Wild Space. There, they will discover the Black Spire Outpost, an infamous port for explorers, smugglers, and traders who want to fly under the radar—literally and figuratively.
In their efforts to defeat the First Order, the Resistance has temporarily set up shop in an abandoned, ancient base encircled by forests, mountains, and rivers on the outskirts of Black Spire Outpost. Throughout the land in both parks, fans may see some familiar faces, including Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, BB-8, and Chewbacca—and even find themselves in a face-off with the First Order.
There are three carefully designed entrance points to Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, allowing guests to enter via Critter Country, Fantasyland, or Frontierland, and two entrance points at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Short enclosed passageways between lands are designed to compress and then expand the views of visitors, like a movie fading out and then back in, to ensure that the first sight of Galaxy’s Edge is a carefully framed, cinematic view.
As previously announced, Academy Award®-winning composer John Williams has created original musical themes, especially for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land and its attractions; composers and songwriters from all over the world, also contributed original songs for Oga’s Cantina.
Altogether, between 5,000 and 6,000 people have touched the projects on both coasts. “We wanted to build a place where guests could feel, ‘I could be meaningful here,’” says Scott Trowbridge, portfolio creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “[But] if you want to be passive, you can just watch, too.” Long before construction began, Trowbridge says Star Wars fans would almost all tell him the same thing: “Oh, my gosh! I want to fly on the Millennium Falcon.” Thanks to Trowbridge, the Imagineers, and Lucasfilm, that shared dream is about to become a reality.
The attractions of Galaxy’s Edge can only be summed up as thrilling and an entirely new type of experience. Think you are brave enough to take on the First Order, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for quite a ride. Find yourself in the cockpit of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Riders will assume the role of pilot, flight engineer, or gunner as they race through space in “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy”.
D23 met with Imagineers Robin Reardon and John Larena who were a key part of creating the attractions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is a level of guest participation in a ride that we haven’t done,” says Robin Reardon. Reardon is the portfolio executive producer at Walt Disney Imagineering. “When you step into that cockpit as the only flight crew of the only Millennium Falcon for the day that’s going on that mission, that’s a pretty amazing leap in terms of storytelling from the very beginning. And the payoff and participatory nature of the experience are, so far, unparalleled.”
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the second attraction that will open with Galaxy’s Edge. This attraction will be one Walt Disney World guests have never experienced. It is described as not only immersive but also one of the most advanced attractions Walt Disney Imagineering has dreamed up. In this experience, riders will find themselves recruited by the Resistance. The will join an epic battle to fight the First Order as the ride progresses. Along the way, guests will find themselves aboard a Star Destroyer and a starship. Finally, what would an epic battle be without facing off against the one and only Kylo Ren? Riders are soon to find out.
The experiences in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge should be as authentic as possible. Disney Imagineers came together with not only Lucasfilm Ltd., but also the directors of the films and J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, the producers to create the attraction. During the D23 interview John Larena, executive creative director, Walt Disney Imagineering said, “It’s more than just a ride,” and “It’s a cinematic immersive experience.”
Reardon further describes Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as “one of the most complex things we have ever done,” complete with “experiential, jaw-dropping, how-did-they-do-that? moments.”
Larena continued with the importance of the cinematic experience, “We have had wonderful cooperation with Lucasfilm, coordinating shoots with [the actors’] shoots. Turns out, they’re fans, as well. We’re thrilled to get them on a ride, and they’re thrilled to be on a ride. Fitting this within the framework of the movies is very important.” He noted the actors are used to filming in front of facades, “To see it all around is amazing for them.” Showing fans that even those who brought the story to life, are now able to get the true experience of the wonder that is Star Wars.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens Summer 2019 at Disneyland and Fall 2019 at Walt Disney World
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