Massive Galaxy’s Edge News Haul

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Massive Galaxy’s Edge News Haul

Display of Smuggler's Run

Display of Smuggler's Run

Photo credit to Disney

Display of Smuggler's Run

Photo credit to Disney

Photo credit to Disney

Display of Smuggler's Run

Nicholas Silva, Layout Editor

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At an event over the weekend, Disney has finally lifted the lid on many of its secretive new park’s mysteries. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has been in the works since Disney acquired the Star Wars license, and it is finally nearing completion. The parks (one in Disneyland California, and another that is practically a small city off of Hollywood Studios in Disney World, Orlando) will open as soon as late summer of this year.

As this completion date soon approaches, more details on the park’s cuisine, atmosphere, and role in the greater Star Wars universe -as it was previously revealed that guests will be brought into an immersive environment- have come to light.

 

The Story:

Photo Credit to Disney
Inside a Resurgent Class Star Destroyer, part of the Rise of the Resistance ride.

Some amazing details have been released pertaining to the park’s canon (the established Star Wars timeline) role. The park will see guests treated, in a landmark fashion, as part of the environment. It is an amazing decision, and an epic chance for devoted Star Wars fans to finally live out their fantasies. There have rarely been attractions, let alone whole 16 acre parks, that treat guests as characters in their story.

The park is based on the planet Batuu in Black Spire Outpost, which has slowly been worked into Star Wars lore over the past year, and anyone looking to be familiarized with the planet or the outpost can purchase the upcoming books and comics based in the area, which will be released soon.

As it currently stands, guests will be treated to an experience set between the events of The Last Jedi and yet untitled Episode IX. This timeframe might change after the events of Episode IX, but this is not confirmed.

Either way, guests can expect potential tension. Set up in the park are both First Order and Resistance forces. It would appear that, based on teases provided during the event, the First Order forces will not be the usual run of the mill stormtroopers. Rather, the stormtroopers and officers present will belong to the brand new 709th First Order Legion, also known as the Red Fury. The Red Fury is likely to be FO Special Forces, and has already been suspected by many fans to be Kylo Ren’s legion, similar to how Vader had the 501st in the prequels and Original Trilogy. These stormtroopers, as hinted by their name, are going to don red armor, likened to that worn by Imperial or Praetorian guards, but likely over standard stormtrooper armor. This is going to be interesting.

Also, the Resistance forces are in a weakened, scattered state. Both sides would seem to be recruiting, and guests can pick a side; or side with the local smugglers, such as a digital animatronic Hondo Ohnaka.

Whether or not the guest is a devoted Star Wars fan, this will be a unique experience. It has been stated that the villagers that inhabit the area, as well as the stormtroopers, Resistance forces, and bar keeps will all have different stories to tell or things that they can do. This means that the more involved or devoted a guest is, the more that they can get out of their visit.

 

The Park:

Photo Credit to Disney
Early model for Galaxy’s Edge.

As previously stated, there will be many factors to the human (or alien) aspect of the park. However, the park itself has also been meticulously crafted to fit in with the Star Wars universe.

The buildings are designed to emulate a classic Star Wars feel, and bring to mind images of Mos Eisley or a roughed up Naboo. Everything has the worn, lived in feel that is expected of a real city, especially in a Star Wars port environment. The streets will be lined with colorful vendors offering all sorts of merchandise, and there will also be eateries, as described below.

Also, the stores -at least the ones that were talked about- also seem to be keeping with the tradition of immersing guests in their setting. At least one of the shops, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, will be selling replicas of Sith and Jedi artifacts.

Not only will the buildings feel right, but so will the wildlife. Disney Imagineers have been hard at work designing the park, and have begun to use brand new, hyper real animatronics. There will be adorable sleeping loth cats, and more. Scott Trowbridge, Star Wars portfolio creative executive, said that they are “creating creatures … some of whom have never been seen in the real world before.”

And as previously mentioned, this new digital animatronic technology will be applied to different characters that are not played by cast members. Right now, Hondo Ohnaka will be making his real-world debut, having only appeared in The Clone Wars and Rebels. Disney released a short video of the process of making Hondo, and of him in action. It is truly something to behold. If the video didn’t show all of the mechanical innards of the animatronics, any onlooker would be hard pressed to distinguish between it and a real person. The casual motions while talking are amazing, with hands moving as in conversation, and the face seems to react naturally. Hondo has over one thousand phrases that can be engaged as he talks to guests waiting to hop onto the Millenium Falcon in Smuggler’s Run.

Also, as previously revealed, the park will be dotted with life size ships that look as though they popped right off of the big screen. However, it has now been revealed that one of the TIEs in the park will be a new model that has not yet been seen. The TIE Echelon appears to mix aspects of the Zeta class shuttle and Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced. Seen in the image is a boarding ramp spilling out of the bottom, and it is said that this is the ship which brought the Red Fury to the park. Who knows if this ship will see action in Episode IX or Resistance, but if it does, hopefully it gets more screen time than the TIE Reaper from which it seems to take inspiration.

 

The Food:

Photo Credit to Disney
Shaak roast, one of the meals at Galaxy’s Edge.

Bringing Star Wars food to life isn’t as easy as it may seem, because there is no precedent for what it should be. Any food that has been described in canon in detail is utterly alien, and nearly impossible to make unless Lothal or Felucia suddenly appear beyond the moon. As Brian Piasecki, culinary director of concept development at Walt Disney World stated, the team had their work cut out for them. “What is our creative direction of the food, because we don’t know. What does it taste like? What does it smell like? What does it look like?” However, it would appear that, despite the challenges, the food is ready. The event showed off some of the cuisine, which actually looks pretty good. If there is one thing that Disney knows how to do right, it is food.

The food tries to strike a balance between the practical and the fantastic, using real life food (turkey, pork, vegetables) to try and replicate Star Wars entrees such as Ronto Roasters and Felucian Garden Spread. In Star Wars, rontos are tall, leathery beasts of burden, and Felucia is, of course, a prominent prequel planet. The meals look appropriately odd and alien, but look to be delightful. Piasecki went on to say, “The flavors in Galaxy’s Edge and Docking Bay 7 are going to be very bold. A lot of spice-forward.”

The real draw of the food will be the actual restaurants themselves. Disney has always been great at immersing their guests in a particular environment while eating, such as a retro drive in movie theater, or a 50’s diner, and they have certainly “spared no expense” (please forgive the Universal joke) with Galaxy’s Edge. The eateries are very well designed, and thought through as places in the Star Wars universe. Not only do they fit, but they also look good and look right. For example, Ronto’s Roastery features a giant mock podracer turbine heating a rotisserie of its namesake creatures.

Of course, the culinary department also whipped up a variety of both kid friendly and adult drinks that are both very Star Wars, or simply inspired by events. There’s the tea based Tatooine Sunset, Melroon Juice, and most importantly, blue milk. Blue milk was a must-have for the park. It first got attention in the original film, A New Hope, and in the odd way of the Star Wars fandom, it received a celebrity status. The park will also be serving green milk as seen in The Last Jedi, for those fans that prefer the thala siren variety; thankfully the guests won’t have to milk the odd creatures to get it. Both varieties are plant based so that all guests can enjoy this prominent part of Star Wars history.

 

The Shopping:

Photo Credit to Disney
Artisan-style toys on sale in the park. Sold by a Toydarian

Of course, no Disney park would be complete without a heavy helping of merchandise, and Galaxy’s Edge is no exception. If anything, it has more than usual, thanks to the amazing opportunities and the monetarily flexible nature of Star Wars fans when it comes to authentic Star Wars props or merch.

However, the Mouse Merch isn’t as out of place or jarring as normal. In fact, it kind of adds to the environment. Everything that has been revealed so far is designed to feel authentic. There will be plush dolls designed to have a homemade, canvas feel similar to Stormie (Jyn Erso’s childhood toy) in Rogue One.

There will be Sith and Jedi artifacts for sale that look like they just were swindled from Palpatine’s office or the Jedi Temple respectively. Also, there will be interactive holocrons (force user flash drives) and lightsabers. The individual kyber crystal inside each custom lightsaber can be used to trigger a yet unknown reaction from the holocrons.

And finally, Disney is offering authentic costumes. Currently known are tailored Jedi robes, a Red Fury officer’s uniform, and Resistance garb. This is major for the legions of fans that love to cosplay. Until now, Disney has offered very little in the way of authentic costumes, aside from a few meager Black Series helmets, or very expensive, limited edition, kit-based stormtrooper armor from Anovos.

Of course, there will likely be more merchandise, both in-universe and out of it, but this is actually a pretty solid start. If Disney can stay authentic with their offerings, they can not only make a lot of money, but make a lot of dedicated fans really happy, which is something that they really could stand to do.