Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
The Millennium Falcon at Galaxy's Edge
|Area||14 acres (5.7 ha)|
|Opened||May 31, 2019|
|Replaced||Big Thunder Ranch|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios|
|Opened||August 29, 2019|
|Replaced||Streets of America|
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is a themed area inspired by the Star Wars franchise, located within Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The area encompasses 14 acres (5.7 ha) at each park. Galaxy's Edge is set within the village of Black Spire Outpost, on the remote frontier planet of Batuu, and features attractions, shops, restaurants, and entertainment offerings.
The lands were announced on August 15, 2015, and construction at both parks began on April 14, 2016. The Disneyland version opened on May 31, 2019, and Disney's Hollywood Studios' version opened on August 29, 2019. Walt Disney Imagineering executive Scott Trowbridge supervised the development and construction of the new land at both parks.
Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) initially developed plans in the early 2010s for a Star Wars-themed land at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Based on characters and settings from the original trilogy of Star Wars films, including Tatooine and Endor, the area would have encompassed the park's Echo Lake area, replacing the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and Sounds Dangerous attractions and incorporating the existing Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. However in 2014, after consultation with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, The Walt Disney Company CEO and chairman Bob Iger cancelled all of WDI's development on Star Wars-themed projects, postponing any creative development until the release of the sequel trilogy and anthology films.
After a creative shift in design, a Star Wars-themed land was first publicly announced by Iger for both Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland at the D23 Expo on August 15, 2015. According to Iger, the unnamed land would be "occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids … the attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology." Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, stated that the land "will introduce you to a Star Wars planet you've never seen before — a gateway planet located on the outer rim, full of places and characters familiar and not so familiar." In an interview for the winter 2015 issue of the official Disney fan club publication Disney twenty-three, Trowbridge stated: "[O]ur intent is to make it feel as if you just walked into one of the movies... Bringing Star Wars to life in the physical world gives us the opportunity to play with a whole bunch of things we've never done before... to really engage all of the senses. What does that street feel like? What does that animal smell like? What does blue milk taste like?"
Iger announced in March 2016 that construction on both versions of the land would begin in April 2016. Construction began at both locations on April 14, 2016. In February 2017, Iger stated that the lands are scheduled to open in 2019 at both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios. In July 2017 at the D23 Expo, Chapek revealed that the themed lands would be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Chapek also announced that the Disneyland version would open first.
In May 2018, Trowbridge revealed the village in which the land is set would be called Black Spire Outpost, a location briefly mentioned in the 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story. It was also announced that the Disneyland version of the land would open in summer 2019, followed by the Disney's Hollywood Studios version in late fall 2019. The names of the two new attractions at each location were announced in November 2018 during the D23 Destination D event held at Walt Disney World. A five-issue comic miniseries by Marvel Comics introduced the area's location in April 2019. Iger announced the opening dates for both locations on March 7, 2019.
The Disneyland version was dedicated on May 29, 2019. In attendance at the dedication ceremony were Iger, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and series actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Billy Dee Williams. The Disneyland version opened to the public on May 31, and because of its high popularity, a virtual queuing system was implemented on June 24. The land at Disney's Hollywood Studios opened on August 29, 2019.
Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) designed the project in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, with Imagineer Scott Trowbridge supervising the project, Asa Kalama and Chris Beatty serving as executive creative directors, and Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo and designer Doug Chiang of Industrial Light & Magic involved as consultants. Together, the team decided to set the lands on a new planet, located within the Outer Rim of the Unknown Regions. Described as a "remote frontier outpost", the planet Batuu has not previously appeared in other media, although it has existed within canon "for thousands and thousands of years." The team chose to create a newly designed world instead of using an existing planet from the films such as Tatooine or Hoth, because those locations evoked a pre-existing familiarity with guests, with Trowbridge explaining, "We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations." He says of the new planet,
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. 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.
The development team drew inspiration from real-world locations, including Istanbul, Morocco, and Jerusalem, and traveled there to study the architecture, culture, and weather. The team also cited Ralph McQuarrie's concept art for the original Star Wars trilogy as a basis for the architecture and aesthetic look of the land. The landscape of Galaxy's Edge features 135 foot (41 m)-tall spires standing amongst the rockwork that are intended to be the petrified remains of massive trees of an ancient forest; Imagineers based this landscape from the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. WDI used in-house virtual reality programs to realize where to use forced perspective and place thematic details in relation to sightlines to hide the park's show buildings from guest view. Disney consciously modified traditional theme park attributes throughout the lands—such as having signs written in the fictional Aurebesh language rather than English, and omitting attraction marquees and Star Wars-branded merchandise—as a way of maintaining the natural theming of the land. Being located in California and Florida, both iterations of Galaxy's Edge are situated at different latitudes and also face in separate cardinal directions; Disneyland has an east-west orientation and Disney's Hollywood Studios has a north-south orientation. This contrast in layout means both locations receive different amounts of sunlight at various angles throughout the seasonal year. As a result, both locations were designed with distinct shades of paint and color palettes in mind.
The story events are set between the films Episode VIII – The Last Jedi and Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, and depicts the presence of both the First Order and Resistance. At the time of their openings, both locations of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge had one attraction: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which allows riders to control the Falcon during a "customized secret mission". This would be followed by Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, that will place guests into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Concept art depicted a full-size Millennium Falcon situated among alien buildings built into tall cliffs. Rise of the Resistance is a 28 minute long experience with more than 300 animated objects; housed within one of the largest show buildings Disney has ever built for a dark ride. Film actors Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, and Kipsang Rotich reprised their roles in the attraction as Rey, Poe Dameron, Finn, Kylo Ren, General Hux, and the voice of Nien Nunb, respectively. Frank Oz also reprised the role as the voice of Yoda, for the character's vocal appearance in Savi's Workshop.
In addition, the area features Oga's Cantina, which is the first location in Disneyland Park to sell alcoholic drinks to the public. Riders' performances on the Millennium Falcon influence how they are treated at the cantina, adding to the immersive experience. According to the Disney Parks Blog, "perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harkos' list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina." The cantina's music is provided by R-3X, a droid that was first seen as RX-24 (a.k.a. Captain Rex) in Star Tours, and is now the cantina's DJ. Paul Reubens returned to voice the character.
The Black Spire Outpost marketplace contains a toy stall run by a Toydarian, an alien species that was seen on Tatooine in Episode I – The Phantom Menace. There is also a creature stall. A TIE Echelon, where Kylo Ren makes his daily appearance, was developed by Colin Trevorrow during his work on Episode IX before being replaced as the film's director.
Longtime Star Wars composer John Williams returned to compose the main musical theme for Galaxy's Edge. Williams' theme is interpolated and arranged diversely throughout the land as ambient music, instead of in its traditional symphonic format. William Ross, who conducted the symphonic recording of the theme with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) on Williams' behalf, was also responsible for arranging Williams' original composition in different musical contexts for use. Ross and the LSO recorded nearly an hour of musical material at Abbey Road Studios in November 2018. The musical score for Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance attractions feature reprisals of previous Star Wars themes written by Williams, adapted and conducted by Ross. A five-minute symphonic suite was released digitally by Walt Disney Records on May 3, 2019. The suite was first heard in its entirety at Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019. In addition to Williams's score, 29 original songs were commissioned to the music team for use as ambience as well. On September 6, 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Oga's Cantina: R-3X's Playlist #1 was released by Walt Disney Records, featuring eighteen tracks heard at Oga's Cantina inside Galaxy's Edge. Music from Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Oga's Cantina: R-3X's Playlist #1 was publicly played for the first time at Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019.
Williams won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Symphonic Suite. The suite currently has over 278,000 views on YouTube.
At Disneyland Park, Galaxy's Edge is located in the northwest portion of the park, with three entries from Frontierland, Critter Country, and Fantasyland. As a result of the expansion, Disney closed Big Thunder Ranch and adjacent backstage areas, and purchased nearby properties to relocate the office and warehouse space that was on the land.
The construction of Galaxy's Edge required a reconfigured route for the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America. A first look at how these changes would impact the park was revealed in January 2016, when concept art was released depicting the northern bank of the river after construction was completed. On January 11, 2016, several attractions in Frontierland and Critter Country were closed. Big Thunder Ranch closed permanently, including the multifunction event space, barbecue restaurant and petting zoo. Other attractions closed temporarily, including the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America. Tom Sawyer Island reopened on June 16, 2017, and Fantasmic! reopened on July 17, 2017. The Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes reopened on July 29. The land opened on May 31, 2019.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
At Disney's Hollywood Studios, Galaxy's Edge is located in the southwest portion of the park, with two entries from Grand Avenue and Toy Story Land. Galaxy's Edge replaced the majority of the park's former Streets of America area, including the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure attractions, which closed on April 2, 2016, as well as the surrounding New York-San Francisco backlot facades, restaurants, and shops. The remaining operating portion of Streets of America, containing Muppet*Vision 3D and a surviving block of the New York facades, was rethemed as Grand Avenue, a Los Angeles-themed street. An earthen berm with a Figueroa Street themed-tunnel was constructed between Galaxy's Edge and Grand Avenue to divide and connect the two lands. The land opened on August 29, 2019. The land will be accompanied by the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
- Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – Smugglers Run – a simulator ride in which guests pilot the Millennium Falcon.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – a dark ride in which guests are involved in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The attraction opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios on December 5, 2019, and at Disneyland Park on January 17, 2020.
Restaurants and shops
- Oga's Cantina – a restaurant to sample custom drinks and snacks.
- Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo – a restaurant inside a working hangar bay.
- Ronto Roasters – a stand to purchase grilled sausage and roasted pork wraps.
- Kat Saka's Kettle – a stand to purchase a sweet and savory popcorn snack.
- Savi's Workshop – a shop where guests can create and purchase their own custom lightsaber.
- Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities – a store where guests can purchase Jedi or Sith Holocrons, artifacts, and lightsabers.
- Mubo's Droid Depot – a shop where guests can create and purchase their own custom droid.
- Bina's Creature Stall – a shop with plush creatures and critters from around the galaxy.
- Toydarian Toymaker – a workshop with handcrafted toys made by local artisans.
- First Order Cargo – a shop where guests can outfit themselves for their alliance to the First Order.
- Resistance Supply – a shop where guests can outfit themselves to battle against the First Order.
- The Milk Stand – a stand where guests can purchase blue or green milk.
- Black Spire Outfitters – an apparel shop to dress like the citizens of Batuu
The Disneyland version was named one of Time magazine's "World's Greatest Places 2019". While the themed area initially drew crowds to the point of leaving the rest of Disneyland relatively empty, a drop in attendance after the first few months led to the resignation of Catherine Powell, who oversaw the U.S. and Paris themed areas. However, in October 2019, some visitors reported that Disney's Hollywood Studios area was crowded during their visit.
|Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge|
|Original work||Theme park land|
by George Lucas
|Owned by||Disney Parks|
|Novel(s)||A Crash of Fate|
|Short stories||Star Wars: Myths and Fables|
|Comics||5 issue mini-series|
|Original music||John Williams composition|
|Theme park attraction(s)|
|Theme parks (pending)|
- The land's theme music was composed by John Williams and then recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios conducted by William Ross. A 5-minute symphonic suite was released digitally by Walt Disney Records on May 3, 2019.
- Batuu's Black Spire Outpost is the focus of the five-issue mini-series Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge from Marvel Comics. It was written by Ethan Sacks with art by Will Sliney, and began in April 2019.
- Black Spire (Del Rey, September 2019) by Delilah Dawson; General Leia Organa dispatches a spy to the planet Batuu looking for possible Resistance allies.
- A Crash of Fate, a young-adult novel (Disney Lucasfilm Press) by Zoraida Cordova; childhood friends reunited as they are chased by the planet's smugglers.
- Star Wars: Myths and Fables, a middle reader novel (Disney Lucasfilm Press) written by George Mann, with art by Grant Griffin; an anthology that includes two stories based on Batuu.
- A two-hour behind-the-scenes TV special, titled Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge – Adventure Awaits, premiered on September 29, 2019.
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- Avengers Campus, themed lands being developed at Disney California Adventure, Walt Disney Studios Park and Hong Kong Disneyland.
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