For Star Wars fans, two things were always true. It is a world that we all want to dream about but never really reach. Star Wars is of course a movie. Fiction. The sets and locations exist only for a few months in remote studios or as ones and zeroes on the servers of visual effects companies. None of it exists. It is not real. Until now.
Last week io9 was among a select group of press to attend Star Wars Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The biggest land extension in Disney's history is still months before the opening (summer 2019 in Anaheim and fall 2019 in Orlando is everything the company is currently officially saying) and is still an active construction site that employs more than 1
One must actually stand beside the Millennium Falcon to cry aloud
One of the centerpieces of Galaxy's Edge is a full-scale Millennium Falcon on a 1: 1 scale. It is over 100 meters long, probably 25 meters high and covered with all the small tubes and pipes that you see in the movies. Everything. There it is. Right in front of you. The fastest junk in the galaxy is real and words just can not live up to what it's like to stand under it, especially for a massive Star Wars fan like me. It's as if your wildest fantasies have finally come to life.
"Magnificent" is not strong enough. "Awe inspiring" does not come close. It's just … perfect.
The Falcon is one of the two main actor attractions that fans will find in Galaxies Edge . The first is Millennium Falcon Smuggler's Run, allowed guests to fly the Millennium Falcon, and the second is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance resulting in a multi-faceted experience As guests become more and more popular, they become part of the Resistance, captured by the First Order, and then escaped a Star Destroyer on one of Disney's biggest, most elaborate and longest journeys in history.
Neither of the two rides was in service during my visit last week But we went through the individual and learned how to work, their stories, and got an indication of how spectacular everyone should be. However, before I venture into that, it is important to note that Galaxy's Edge is different than any other part of the famed theme park. Places like Fantasyland or Tomorrowland are just areas of the park that have similar themes. Galaxy's Edge is said to be more than that. It should actually be another world.
When you enter Galaxy's Edge you come out of Disneyland and into the Black Spire Outpost on the distant planet of Batuu, a former hotspot of the former activity that has long forgotten thanks to hyperspace routes. Now it's a relatively quiet planet (theoretically, Disney crowds might say something about that). A place where smugglers and outlaws quickly earn a few extra credits. A place where the resistance has hid to hide, and the First Order has just arrived to inhabit every corner on one edge of the 14-acre space.
Black Spire Outpost does not allow you to buy a Black Spire Outpost t-shirt. None of the merchandise openly says "Disneyland" or "Star Wars." There is a possibility that you might not even get a drink of the earth like Coke (or, if you can, it's somehow twisted to fit the theme, which is still decided). That's because the creators no longer want you to feel like you're in Disneyland, but in Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. The goal is that everything is there where you feel like a real place.
Everything is part of the story. Each actor not only selects his own outfits, but develops his own characters with their own opinions and devotion in this world. Each food has a specific reason to be as it is, whether it is a particular animal or was produced in a decided manner by Star Wars (more on this soon). In fact, Disney has figured out what Blue Milk, the most famous drink from Star Wars would taste and serve. There is a cantina in which DJ Rex, the pilot of the original Star Tours (19459004) and again hunted by Paul Reubens was spun music. Even the lettering on the walls was literally not just created to give the country a historical context. Much of it is part of a larger interactive game that you can participate in. Guests can download the Play Disney Parks app (which is already available). and finally, use a Star Wars feature that opens up a lot of new opportunities for Black Spire. (Read more about us soon.)
One of the coolest examples of this is Savis Workshop (above in conceptual form), a place where fans can build their own lightsabers. If you know Star Wars you know that lightsabers are not light weapons. Only certain people can create them. How can one compensate for this context but also stand in the park? Of course with a story.
Savi is a scrapper who has been gathering small lightsabers throughout the galaxy for years, hoping that one day a true hero would come into his shop to actually bring them together. Spoiler alert, this hero is you (and 13 other people who can experience at the same time.)
Even the layout of the country has a story. The outpost of Black Spire is a contiguous area that is actually divided into three sections. On the west side is a large forest area where the resistance hides. Fans can try out Rise of the Resistance buy resistance equipment, or take photos next to an X-Wing or A-Wing on a 1: 1 scale. The middle section is a large, lively marketplace, full of food and goods stalls and all sorts of strange features. Here guests will find Ohnaka Transport Solutions, the Millennium Falcon site and the Smuggler Run . On the eastern side is the camp of the first order, in which a never-before-seen TIE fighter named TIE Echelon has landed and the stores are filled with first-rate equipment.
And there's something new, exciting, "Star Wars" happening in every corner of the Black Spire Outpost. Most people focus on the rides. It's after all Disneyland. And even though we were unable to ride them, we got a detailed walkthrough, and hot damn they seem unbelievable.
Some of these details have leaked before, but now they are official. The story behind Smuggler's Run states that Hondo Ohnaka, the deceitful pirate seen on Clone Wars and Rebels needs help. He has been negotiating with Chewbacca to smuggle goods with the Millennium Falcon, but he needs a flight crew. Guess who they will be?
The line takes guests through the maintenance hangars of Ohnaka Transport Solutions, which offer guests a constant view of the large, outdoor parked Falcon. (Just how exactly the Hawk got there is described in detail in the book Pirate's Price by Lou Anders, but that's just fun.) Hondo himself is also there as the character for the first time has received a three-dimensional speaking form. He is the second most complex animatronic character ever created by Disney (behind the NaVi shaman in Pandora), and he tells you the full story from his shop. When you arrive at the top of the line, you will be split into six groups, receive boarding passes and are asked to spend a few minutes in a waiting area. This "waiting area" happens to be the main part of the Millennium Falcon, skillfully crafted as in the movies. Dejarik table, computer, everything is there for fans to interact with and explore as they wait for their chance to fly the Falcon. Finally, your boarding group is called and everyone goes into the cockpit.
There are some amazing things about this cockpit. For one thing, it feels like it's the only cockpit. (Of course not, if that were the case, it would take a very long time.) We believe there is a mechanism inside that turns the rooms from a hall into a hall, but as Disney has achieved this effect, they would be explicit not say. Either way, it's cool.
The other amazing thing about the cockpit is that it's a religious experience to be in that cockpit.
Every button and every switch works. The handle that you pull down for the speed of light has a nice weight. You probably need to direct the power supply to certain deflector shields. It's gorgeous But as I said, there are six of them, and the way the ride works consists of two people are pilots, two are shooters and two are engineers. Fly pilots, shoot shooters and repair engineers. And although it looks like you really just want to be a pilot, the collaboration makes for a more exciting ride and the designers of the ride assured us that all three stations are equally fun and worthwhile. (Then I just touched the controls when a pilot shook me.)
The trip will distract the fans of Batuu and a lot of action, none of which was really detailed. However, we have seen some conceptual drawings of a massive creature, similar to what the hawk used in Solo: A Star Wars Story . When the trip is over, Hondo will evaluate your group and tell you the revenue cuts. A cut that can somehow be used in other parts of the bigger story.
On the other side of the park is Rise of the Resistance . If you think Smuggler's Run be cool, it feels secondary to this experience
Similar to Smuggler's Run there is a massive, massive area that you can walk through, populated everywhere with cool little bells and whistles, such as a locker full of Resistance outfits. When you finally get to the front, an animatronic BB-8 welcomes you with a hologram by Rey, played by actress Daisy Ridley. She warmly welcomes you to the Resistance and asks you to begin a top secret mission against the First Order.
Now you are just waiting for the ride. But not on Rise of the Resistance . When you leave Rey's room, you are back outside in a part of the park that is not visible from any other location. It's a live flight deck with animated communications and the full size X-Wing of Poe Dameron being rolled up and ready to fly into space. You are rushed across the area to a transport that will take you to space and your mission. And yes, Oscar Isaac embodies his role as Poe.
Once you're done with the transport, Nien Nunb (spoken by original actor Kipsang Rotich) will take you off, but suddenly several Star Destroyers come to the party. You're trapped Poe flies away to get help while your transport is being sucked into the tractor of the Star Destroyer. And here things are getting really, really cool.
The doors to your transport open and you are no longer on Batuu. You are no longer in space. You are in a star destroyer. You enter a huge room (about the size of a high school high school) that, even when illuminated with almost none of the effects or props, brought tears to my eyes. It is all-encompassing and completely overwhelming.
In this area, a series of actions will take place on a 100-foot screen. Fifty stormtroopers, mostly stationary, but a few animatronic, will welcome you, as well as a full order first order TIE on the wall, which is docked and ready to use. Remember Rose and Finn's capture in The Last Jedi only you and your friends are. (This is the conceptual art of the above moment.)
After being welcomed by the First Order, they were led through several more specialized corridors and divided into groups of 16 that fit into detention cells. Each group is then visited by a representative of Kylo Ren, who is spoken by Adam Driver. What he says or what happens next has not been explained in detail, but we know there is a racy chase by the Star Destroyer in an ultra-progressive, car without a trace, special effects Disney has never done before (such as lasers) -Blasts) and sets containing AT-ATs in their original size. You and your friends will somehow escape the Star Destroyer (with the help of Finn, played by John Boyega) and win the day.
If you're like me, you hear it all and say, "I can not wait, when can I go and how long does it take?" One area, unfortunately I do not have much information about it. As you know, Disney is secretive behind the scenes of logistics, and we were constantly told by the trip that all the details about getting started with Galaxy's Edge whether there are special tickets, plans for extra long lines and more, were all there Still in work We were promised, however, that these answers would come and be very clear as soon as they arrived.
No matter how it all works, but Galaxys Edge will undoubtedly be something special. During the three-day event, it was consistently described as the World's Largest Star Wars Play Set with the sole purpose of living out your Star Wars dreams. And even in this rough phase of construction, this promise is already fulfilled.
As a ] Star Wars fan, have you ever dreamed that you were captured by the bad guys and made a daredevil escape? You can do that here. Did you dream about flying the Millennium Falcon? You can do that here. Build your own special lightsaber, visit a cantina or make your own droid? You can do all that and much more. The outpost of the Black Spire on the planet Batuu may be a remote location in the Star Wars universe, but it is this universe that we know and love, and it will make us very, very happy.  Guys, that's just the tip of the Star Destroyer. We learned about Galaxys Edge for three days, and tomorrow we'll tell you more about its history, development, food, merchandise, app integration, and more.
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