2015 Disney Stories Countdown #1 – A Year of Star Wars

You may be thinking “Isn’t Force Awakens the biggest story of the year?”  Well, not quite.  The movie was highly anticipated and had a lot throughout the year.  But, the box office results are too recent to be the biggest story.  Yet, Star Wars has proven itself bigger than just Force Awakens.  There are several reasons why…

Star Wars Rebels

This plucky little cartoon show has gathered fans in multiple generations. It’s been a great way to keep interest in Star Wars as everyone waited for Force Awakens, but it’s proven to be just a great show on its own.  When I say on its own I mean that it has produced characters not dependent on a movie to generate the initial characterization.  Kanan, Ezra, Hera, Zeb, Sabine, and Chopper are already fan favorites.  There are books, comics, toys, and other consumer spin-offs that are quite popular.  Within this year there has been the end of season one and the beginning of season two.  Both have had rave reviews and the second season continues to grow.

Celebration (1)Star Wars Celebration

In April, many fans gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center for the biggest Star Wars convention yet.  This multi-day event had such premieres as the Force Awakens second trailer and the season premier of Star Wars Rebels’ second season.  Yet, those were just a couple of the big highlights from Celebration.

Rogue One had a keynote revealing more on this stand alone film set in the Star Wars universe.  It was a proving ground to see if such Star Wars films have merit among fans.  The answer was a resounding yes.

One of the highlights of every Celebration is the R2D2 competition.  Model makers from around the world brought their homemade droids to display and even race.  A room was dedicated to show off the impressive Artoo units.  They came in roughly the same size, but no two were identical.  Each had their own style and uniqueness.  Races were held on the show floor to determine the fastest.  It was quite a sight to see!

Besides great panels and keynote presentations, the show floor had quite a lot going for it.  Throughout the whole convention center were great set recreations of memorable moments in the Star Wars franchise.  And they were all for people to get their photo taken at them.  Besides this were many booths of merchandise and cosplayers making this an amazing place for fans to gather and geek out about Star Wars.

Star Wars Battlefront and Disney Infinity

From its first appearance in the news, this game has intrigued gamers and Star Wars fans.  At the Celebration, a hit trailer was shown at the EA Games booth.  Many lined up to see a glimpse of the upcoming game.  When the D23 Expo rolled around, Disney Interactive was able to have more previews at their big presentation.  It was already a certifiable hit after that.  It’s been in the top 3 game sales this holiday season and spawned a bundle package with the PS4.  It may not be the best Star Wars game, but it has gotten a lot of attention.

One of the big hits this year has been the Star Wars addition to the Disney Infinity franchise.  I know quite a few people that picked up 3.0 because of the Star Wars games additions.  It’s been one of the bigger hits of the whole Infinity franchise and continues to add a lot to the game.

Star_Wars_Vader_Down_1_Cover-1Marvel Comics

One of Marvel’s best selling series, or several for that matter, have been the Star Wars line of books.  Mostly taking place after Episode IV, these stories have been original and canon.  Such shocks as Han Solo having a possible wife before meeting Leia, to Vader Down – a crossover event showing just how powerful Darth Vader have garnered praise from readers and critics alike.  They are terrific comics that perpetuate the wonder of Star Wars.

Force Awakens

Yesterday I went into depth about how Force Awakens became a huge hit before it was even released.  It has helped make this a very Star Wars year.

Star Wars Land and Season of the Force

The theme parks got in on the Star Wars act with what started as surprise announcements at the D23 Expo.  Bob Iger confirmed the rumor of a Star Wars Land coming to Disneyland at the end of the live action movie presentation.  What was even more of a surprise was that it’ll also be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  More details emerged at the theme parks presentation, but it wasn’t the only Star Wars announcement.  Season of the Force, an overlay for both Disneyland and DHS was announced to come into effect by the end of the year.  And so it did.

At both theme parks it’s become a big hit.  At both parks you’ll find Star Wars Launch Bay which features props and costumes from the various movies.  A special behind the scenes video is located here, as well as meet and greets with Chewbacca and Darth Vader.  A cantina area also has Boba Fett posing for photos.  Along with the exhibit is Path of the Jedi, a film highlighting scenes from Episodes 1-6.  It’s a crash course for those wanting to see Force Awakens, but don’t have time to go through each Episode.

Outside the Launch Bay are two more things that are the same in each park.  Jedi Training – Trial of the Temple is a new variation of the long running show.  Star Tours received a new scene destination in the form of Jakku, and variations on previous scenes.

Season of the Force (3)Each park has their own unique offerings too.  Food options are one variation to the parks.  But, a couple of attractions are only found in their respective parks.  Hyperspace Mountain is only found at Disneyland.  It may be an overlay to a current attraction, Space Mountain, but it has proven to be one of the most popular attractions already.  An average wait seems to be an hour since its opening.  Over at DHS, Star Wars Symphony in the Stars has started entertaining guests at night.  This fireworks show featuring music from the franchise is a grand send off from a day in that park.

In all, these additions to Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have shown that Star Wars is as popular, if not more, than ever!  This year has been full of Star Wars, and has become one of the biggest highlights of 2015.  With more episodes of Rebels, more merchandise, and another movie set to premier in 2016, will this year of Star Wars be eclipsed?  Only time will tell.  But, for now, it has certainly been a year with the Force with us!

Star Wars Celebration – Rebels Panel

Star Wars Celebration – R2D2 And More

Season of the Force

Star Wars Rebels Review

About the Author:

Murray the Bellhop covers Knott’s Berry Farm, Marvel, and also helps with DAPs Magic’s Disneyland coverage. He also hosts DAPscast and helps produce Geeks Corner.

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