New details about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge have been unveiled during a panel at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago. The panel, Bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Life at Disney Parks, featured Chris Beatty, Asa Kalama, Margaret Kerrison and Scott Trowbridge from Walt Disney Imagineering along with Doug Chiang and Matt Martin from Lucasfilm.
The panel began shortly after 9:00 AM PT. Imagineer Scott Trowbridge came to the stage first to kick things off. Before talking about anything else, Trowbridge announced that FIRST is a Force For Change partner. He then introduced a video showcasing the new partnership. The video included stories about youth who had been impacted by FIRST and also an announcement by Mark Hamill. It focuses on working with students within the realms of STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This is a natural fit with Star Wars and its technology, especially with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Force For Change is trying to reach out to kids that wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to explore possibilities in technology, in particular with robotics. With this, there will be a sweepstake that could give people an opportunity to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Looking at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Things then switched to a video of Josh Gad taking the camera on a tour of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland… or so he thought. When security doesn’t let Gad into Galaxy’s Edge things get humorous and interesting. After calling Scott Trowbridge out in an attempt to get in, he is again denied entry. Finally, Gad makes a break for it to run into the land, only to be stopped by Storm Troopers. Following the video, Josh Gad was introduced and brought to the stage to host the panel.
Josh Gad then did a brief humorous introduction of the panel before introducing Scott Trowbridge, Margaret Kerrison, Chris Beatty, and Matt Martin to the stage. First things first, each person introduced themselves. These are the people who are truly bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to life in the Disney Parks.
The first question for the panel was directed to Scott Trowbridge. Josh Gad basically asked to be told everything about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Trowbridge responded by sharing the backstory behind Batuu. It’s a place that once was more prominent than it is today. It’s fallen from that place and is today a place where people go who don’t necessarily want to be found. It is also a place for guests to experience Star Wars and be a part of the story. “It is the biggest project Disney has ever done.” It is also one of the most “epic and immersive” projects Disney has ever done Trowbridge explained. As he detailed the land, photos were shown on the screen. There will be experiences that really encompass all of the senses. There will be shops and food and of course the attractions! On Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, guests will get the chance to become the flight crew aboard a “customized truly interactive” adventure. The video of the attraction was then shown to those in attendance.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of the most epic, biggest, and complex attractions Disney has ever built. The Resistance will be found in the forest outside of Black Spire Outpost. However, things never go according to plan. While visiting the Resistance base guests may be captured and find themselves prisoners on a Star Destroyer. While on board, guests may face the First Order and face Kylo Ren, Ray, Poe, and BB-8. If guests survive the escape, they will be celebrated as heroes! A teaser video for this attraction was also shown. It sets the stage for what happens right before guests arrive on Batuu. The video was completely shot inside of the attraction and looked exactly like it came from a Star Wars movie.
Authenticity of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Next Doug Chiang was asked about the level of authenticity of the land. It is going to be very real and not just smoke and mirrors. The next question was about the location of the land. Chiang explained that the land was designed for a purpose, a storytelling story. Chris Beatty then piped in and shared that this wasn’t about Luke or Rey but “it was about you” and that it was about the guest’s adventure. He shared that it was a bit scary but it was also about building a timeless land where guests could go on adventures with Star Wars characters.
Stories of Batuu
The stories of Batuu and how they fit into the Star Wars universe was the next topic of discussion. Matt Martin shared how they wanted to make sure that everything fit within the Star Wars narrative. Margaret Kerrison added that while this fits into the Star Wars story, but also has a deep story of its own. Many of its stories can be found courtesy of Disney publishing as well. Martin continued to explain how both in past and coming books Batuu has been included in the stories. This started with Thrawn: Alliances. There is even a book that explains how Hondo gets possession of the Millennium Falcon.
Dok-Ondar is the head of the Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities in Black Spire Outpost and is an imposing figure in the land. In his shop, there will be so many Easter Eggs to be found. Guests will be able to return over and over again to see the many references to different Star Wars story. There will be so many things to be purchased in this shop, including lightsabers!
The design for the shop was influenced by shops from around the world. The team really wanted things to be authentic. The goal is to really make guests feel like they are actually there and in the story. During the research process for this, Imagineers spent time in Istanbul and Morocco to check out the markets there. The market in Black Spire Outpost have influences from these markets.
Lightsabers will also be available for guests to either purchase or to build. Obviously, they can be purchased from Doc-Ondar or build their own high-end lightsaber. These will be customizable and mean that guests will have their own one of a kind lightsaber when they leave Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Chris Beatty also shared about how the details leading into the food of the land. Great care was spent to not just create incredible foods, but also have the smells be right as well.
Coca Cola on Batuu
Scott Trowbridge also announced during this panel that is new to the land. He then introduced a video about this new experience he is teasing. A red box, that had been teased on social media was shown in this video. It introduced new Coca Cola bottles for both soda and water. Trowbridge then introduced two people from Coca Cola to explain the process behind these new bottles that look a little bit like a thermal detonator. They shared about how these new bottles were designed to fit into the story of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as if they were bottles that could be found and reclaimed as bottles. On the outside, the Coca Cola logo is written in Aurebesh. Guests at the panel were then told that they would be receiving t-shirts with the new logo on their way out.
Next came details about the cantina. It will have drinks that will “be so amazing, they are cool. They are strange, they are out of this world. We had a lot of fun coming up with these beverages,” Beatty explained. Beatty continued, “The drinks are great, but the star of the show is DJ Rex.” The pilot of Star Tours is now on Batuu. Rex’s story about how he came from Star Tours to Batuu was a 17-page long story written by Matt Martin. After flunking out of Star Tours, he ends up in the rebellion. After the final battle of the civil war (battle of Jakku), he ends up crash landing on Batuu. He is rescued and repaired to become a DJ. He also shared about the music that will be played. In fact, music was played for the panel. The first piece is very reminiscent of what was heard in the cantina in Star Wars: A New Hope. The second piece played came from an all droid band and had a much more modern feel to it. Both will most likely be loved by guests very quickly.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Asa Kalama was then asked about the Millennium Falcon attraction. He shared about how guests will get to see the ship. Seeing the ship itself is an experience in itself. Doug Chiang shared that the Millennium Falcon in the parks will be the definitive Millennium Falcon. Kalama continued that the team really wanted to create an experience where guests could control the Millennium Falcon. The pilot will steer the ship left or right or up or down. Engineers will be working to keep the ship in working order in the back. Gunners in the middle will be fighting the tie fighters that are attacking the ships. “Everybody has a very important role to play,” he shared. How things turn out will be up to the ship. If things don’t go well, it will be shown as guests exit that iconic hall in the ship. A rough flight will be shown as things will look rough in the ship as guests exit.
Hondo is also a big part of the story for the Millennium Falcon. The animatronic for Hondo is absolutely incredible. He was brought from animated form to real life, including using the voice of Jim Cummings. A clip of the animatronic was then shown. This animatronic is ridiculously detailed and lifelike as he recruits people for Hondo Transport Solutions.
The Voices of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Margaret Kerrison also shared that Paul Reubens was brought back to voice DJ Rex. Scott Trowbridge shared that he wanted to make sure things were done by making sure “that we are working in a way that you would want us to,” even in regards to voice casting. The team even went as far as going to Kenya to record the voice of Nien Numb to make sure they nailed it. Other voices will also be heard in the land. It also was hinted that “Jedi from the past”… “maybe a small green jedi” was teased by Chris Beatty will be heard in the land. Frank Oz will be voicing this character for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. “John has composed some amazing new music” for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Trowbridge shared about John Williams scoring the land.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Playground
Asa Kalama shared about how the land really is meant to be a “playground.” It is “a place where you can live your own Star Wars adventure.” While this isn’t mandatory, people will have the opportunity to become a part of the story. This really will be a “living land.” The Play Disney Parks app will be a part of this. On it, a Star Wars datapad will transform mobile devices into an interactive tool. It will have four main functions. The first will be a hacking tool that will allow guests to interact with droids, panels, and ships. Second guests will be able to scan some of the props in the land. The third will be a translation device. And finally, there will be a tuning tool that will allow guests to tune in to the satellite dishes and communications happening in the land. Basically, it will allow guests to listen in to different stories in the land. Guests will also be able to play a game called Outpost Control. This game will allow guests to help either the Resistance or the First Order. The game lasts until one side controls all the blips on the doors and panels in the land. Once a side has won, the game begins again. He continued to explain that guests choices in the land will influence the experiences that are had.
Scott Trowbridge then shared that the Star Wars stories being shared at the Galaxy’s Edge pavilion will be put in a holocron and then they will become a part of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There will be lots and lots of stories that will be launched from this land Trowbridge shared.
Touring Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Josh Gad then announced that he had fibbed when he said he didn’t get to go into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. “It is the single most insane thing I’ve ever seen built in any park.” Gad shared at how amazing. “The scale and scope of it, I don’t think any of you guys are ready for it.” He then asked Trowbridge if they could see what he saw. Trowbridge said yes and then shared how he couldn’t’ wait for guests to visit before showing the video.
The video was shot entirely in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the land looks stunning. The music is beautiful. The X-Wings look ready to take off and fight the First Order. Black Spire Outpost looks lived in. The Millennium Falcon looks gorgeous and will remind people about how much they love the ship and the stories it is a part of. This land looks incredible.
“It really is insane” Gad shared. He also shared how he started to cry while standing in front of the Millennium Falcon. Trowbridge shared that this is just the beginning. There are more stories to tell, places to visits, adventures to be a part of. While sharing, Trowbridge started to get choked up and earned a warm hug from Gad. This is a project that they are passionate about. This passion clearly runs deep. “We hope you like what we’ve put so much love and passion into.” As the panel ended, the entire Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was played for those in attendance.
What do you think about the details announced for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Share your thoughts in the comments below!