Last night Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosted a special Star Wars: Galactic Nights event. During the Inside Galaxy’s Edge panel guests could attend a special panel with updates on the progress and direction of the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge park additions.
The panel comprised of Scott Trowbridge, Robin Reardon and Chris Beatty from Imagineering, and Doug Chiang from Lucasfilm.
The panel kicked off with an opening and introduction from Warwick Davis and then it was handed over to the guest speakers.
It’s All About the Characters
Focusing on character and immersion, the panel discussed everything from research and development to and some upcoming details. They want the new addition to have a “lived in Star Wars look…with merchandise and exotic food and beverages from across the galaxy.” Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be full immersion where guests will have opportunities to explore an area “rich with discovery…alleyways to explore and new adventures around every corner.” You won’t just watch the story, you will be the story.
They discussed the Millennium Falcon. Guests will be able to walk through the Falcon and go into the cockpit for a “customized intergalactic joy ride” where you choose where you want to go. They showed some photos (that I couldn’t see clearly) of new segments they are working on. Then they announced something very exciting. There will be a fleet of X-Wings at Galaxy’s Edge.
These will not be movie type props, built from wood and fiberglass, but fully built, steel and aluminum, X-wings. They will have “real bolts and latches”…and “the graphics on the X-wings will really say something in Aurebesh.”
After the crowd calmed down from that announcement, they discussed the research and development efforts they put into designing Batuu and making it feel like a “real place.” They also talked about how they went back to the roots of Star Wars with the art of Ralph McQuarrie as he was the original concept artist for the films and the “gold standard” for the authentic look and feel of the galaxies far, far away. Current concept art was given the question “is this something Ralph would have done?” As a Star Wars fan from way back, this made me smile.
Chris Beatty then discussed traveling to places like Marrakesh and Istanbul. There they studied the architectures and busy market places to create a “history” for this “ancient” and “mysterious” Star Wars outpost. Authenticity is important so they researched the sights, smells, sounds and the overall feel of the old trading ports. These qualities are what give a place “life.”
Telling a Story
He told a story about taking photos of the worn plaster walls, for the look and textures, or how an old electrical box was rigged up to a wall. While they were there the people in the marketplace would see them photographic a door knob and they would point to the palace and tell them they should photograph that instead. I’m sure it did seem strange to have visitors taking photos of old electric boxes and door knobs instead of the elaborate palace and other more photogenic places.
After they got their images and research they took those to help design the final product. They took inspiration form the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul with many stalls full of artisans and vendors. Each stall had a back story and in Batuu, each place will have a backstory for Imagineers, even if the public never gets to see the story. That’s so they can make each space as authentic as possible. In among these spaces there will be a female Toydarian, like Watto, who’s seen in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” who will make and sell toys.
To make sure even the Toydarian’s toys are authentic they sat down with the merchandising teams to discuss authenticity. They want that from their vendors for all merchandise and especially the exclusive items that will be sold at the parks. An example of an AT-AT walker toy was shown.
Also during the panel they discussed the progress of the parks.
Here is a photo of current construction at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
Here is a photo from Disneyland. They are getting ready to start the rock work there.
At the end they announced that guests would receive a special pack of trading cards, for some backstory on Batuu, on the way out of the park. What a great surprise!
From AT-AT Walker toys to blue milk, yes blue milk, will be created to make you feel like you are visiting a galaxy far, far away.