Star Wars Celebration, held this year in Chicago, was a massive tease of what’s to come in the STAR WARS galaxy, from comic books and TV shows to movies and interactive VR games. Fans were most excited by the first look at J.J. Abrams’ upcoming STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, which reaches AMC theatres December 20.
STAR WARS fans routinely take things to the next level. They want the most from their fandom, and they go to great lengths to meet it. And soon enough, fans will be able to actually step inside of a STAR WARS story when the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme parks open up in May and August, in Anaheim and Orlando, respectively.
The goal of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme parks is to put guests into the world that George Lucas first created in 1977. Disney Parks want guests to believe that they just walked into one of the many STAR WARS movies, and there will be all sorts of rides, activities and locations for people to interact with that will help with that immersion.
During a panel AMC attended at Star Wars Celebration, we learned the different ways that Disney Parks plan to bring the STAR WARS movies into the Galaxy’s Edge experience.
The Imagineers at Disney explained that when constructing Galaxy’s Edge, they contemplated recreating familiar locations like Tatooine or Mustafar from the STAR WARS movies. But those two locations in particular are tied so closely to characters like Luke and Anakin Skywalker — and Disney Parks really wanted the guests to feel like the story that is playing out in Galaxy’s Edge is their own — Disney Parks went with an original location, like the Black Spire trading post.
Those who walk around the park will interact with droids, beasts and characters from the STAR WARS universe. Yoda will return to the park and will be voiced by Frank Oz. He’s one of many STAR WARS characters that reportedly will have a role to play in Galaxy’s Edge.
At the panel, the Imagineers at Disney explained that every merchandise vendor and food booth will be part of the world of the Black Spire trading post, so guests will always feel like they are immersed in the STAR WARS world and not part of any theme park in the U.S.
Additionally, guests will be able to pilot the Millennium Falcon as part of the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride. But it’s not just the pilot who will be important. Guests on the ride will also serve as the flight crew of the ship, as pilot gunners and engineers to ensure that the Falcon returns from its mission intact.
Apparently, Smugglers Run will be the appetizer at Galaxy’s Edge, while Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be the full meal. The panel described this section of Galaxy’s Edge as the biggest attraction the park will contain, and it recruits guests to stand up to the First Order, staring down Kylo Ren and the forces of evil. Incorporating characters from the new STAR WARS trilogy of films will only help make guests feel like they have stepped into movies like THE FORCE AWAKENS or THE LAST JEDI. And it can only help build anticipation for the action Abrams has in store for STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.
There’s already a decent STAR WARS presence in the Walt Disney theme parks. But in the contemporary age, all of the major movie studios are looking for new ways to expand the moviegoing experience, because they know that going to see the latest movie is only one step in a lifelong journey for rabid fans. We all want more from the movies that we love. And attractions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge appear to be ready to deliver it.
STAR WARS has a very exciting year to come. In addition to the launch of Galaxy’s Edge, J.J. Abrams will deliver STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER in December, so keep following AMC for the latest updates on all things STAR WARS.