Movie fans, these days, are always looking for new ways to carry the experience of a beloved film out of the theatres and into their day-to-day lives. Virtual reality satisfies some needs. Other fans seek out memorabilia and collectibles. But 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, whether it’s by attending annual conventions (like Star Wars Celebration, set for Chicago this April) or lining up for weeks to see the latest installment of the Skywalker Saga.
Walt Disney understands this passion, and they are hard at work on a unique experience that will meet the needs of die-hard STAR WARS fans while they wait for the next cinematic installment to reach AMC theatres: J.J. Abrams’ STAR WARS: EPISODE IX. The final chapter in the Skywalker Saga will extend the storyline from Rian Johnson’s STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, bringing the nine-part movie arc to a close. But it doesn’t open until December of 2019 — a full year away!
What on earth will you do while you wait?
How about a vacation in a STAR WARS land? Construction currently is well underway on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, two separate theme park areas that are being developed in Orlando and Anaheim, at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Park, respectively.
The goal of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is to put guests into the world that George Lucas first created in 1977. They 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.
Recent videos that dropped on the Disney Parks YouTube page took interested parties behind the scenes of the creation of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park areas, and the attention to detail is extraordinary.
For starters, those who walk around the park will interact with live-action droids, beasts and characters from the STAR WARS universe.
But you want to be IN the movies, which is why you are going to want to ride on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, a ride that will have guests piloting Han Solo’s famous spaceship on numerous missions across the galaxies. The Millennium Falcon has been integral to the success of STAR WARS since the movies were first introduced. Han and Chewbacca are as synonymous with STAR WARS as Luke and Leia, and when J.J. Abrams brought STAR WARS back to the big screen with THE FORCE AWAKENS, he made sure to bring the Millennium Falcon back with it. So important is this ship that it now belongs to Rey (Daisy Ridley), and in the last shot we saw of the hero in THE LAST JEDI, she was piloting the ship away from Crait — so we know it will be important in J.J. Abrams’ STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.
Apparently, Smugglers Run will be the appetizer at Galaxy’s Edge, while Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be the full meal. The YouTube video describes it 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 only helps make guests feel like they have stepped into movies like THE FORCE AWAKENS and THE LAST JEDI. And it can only help build anticipation for the action Abrams has in store for STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.
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 movie-going experience, because they know that going to see the latest movie is only the latest 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 will deliver it.
Galaxy’s Edge will open both in Orlando and Anaheim in 2019. As for the next STAR WARS movie, J.J. Abrams returns to the saga to conclude the trilogy he started with STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. While plot details are currently under wraps, we expect to learn a lot more about the direction of EPISODE IX as 2019 progresses, and we will have that info on the AMC Scene. But we expect to see a conclusion to Rey’s journey, as well as her standoff with Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). And in that story, we hope to see some closure for General Leia (Carrie Fisher).
STAR WARS: EPISODE IX is set to reach AMC theatres on December 20, 2019.