Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Disneyland Resort is billed as the ultimate Star Wars experience, but guests won’t encounter iconic characters Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader when they step into the 14-acre land now open in Anaheim.
Though the land is steeped in Star Wars lore and boasts a rich history of its own, creatives from Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm envisioned Galaxy’s Edge as a stepping off point for new stories of guests’ own making.
“Ultimately what we want to do, as we were talking about building this land, is we want you to live your own Star Wars story. We don’t want you to be walking in the footsteps of another hero, we want you to be the heroes of your own stories, and we want you to be able to choose a path that you want to follow,” Margaret Kerrison, managing story editor for Galaxy’s Edge, explained.
“Whether you’re more light side or dark side or more independent as a scoundrel, that’s up to you. And you can live that life and go about your way in this land, and have a land of, basically, a playset that’s responding back to you. All those times that you played in the backyard wearing your Star Wars costumes and fighting your plastic lightsabers, now this is a place where you can live those dreams.”
Sequel trilogy stars Rey and Kylo Ren pop up intermittently throughout the land — and Kylo will menace thrill seekers when they embark on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the second anchor attraction opening later this year — but only a handful of classic characters can be found within Galaxy’s Edge, set during the Disney-produced Star Wars sequel trilogy.
When Chewbacca isn’t strolling throughout the land recruiting space travellers to the Resistance, the Wookie co-pilot makes an appearance in the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction.
Famed astromech droid R2-D2 loiters in the Droid Depot where guests can build their personalized droids, and an old friend makes a voice-only cameo appearance when Force sensitive visitors construct their own lightsabers within Savi’s Workshop - Handbuilt Lightsabers.
Disney and Lucasfilm “really wanted to create something brand new,” said Lucasfilm story group creative executive Matt Martin.
“Not only does it give us as creators kind of more freedom to build a custom experience, but to allow guests to live exactly the story that they want to tell, and be the adventurer, the hero, the scoundrel that they have always wanted to be.”
Creators “could have easily done a ‘greatest hits of Star Wars’ thing,” Martin added, “but then you would have just been seeing things that you’ve seen before.”
“Now not only do you get to experience to tell your story, but Batuu becomes a world within the Star Wars galaxy, and we will get to experience that throughout other mediums. It lives in Star Wars the same way that Tatooine and Mustafar does. It’s all connected.”2comments
Classic elements of Star Wars still exist within Tomorrowland, where guests can encounter Darth Vader within Star Wars Launch Bay, and Star Tours - The Adventures Continue, which randomizes experiences set during the prequel, original, and sequel trilogy eras of films.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now open at the Disneyland Resort. No reservations will be required after June 23. The Florida version of the land opens August 29 within Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort.