Anaheim, Calif. • Immersive. That’s the word the cast and creators use to describe the new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”
The park, which opens at Disneyland Friday, is set on the fictional world of Batuu in a settlement called Black Spire Outpost in the Outer Rim of the galaxy. That’s the “Star Wars” way of saying the planet is in the middle of nowhere.
So if immersion is the goal, why did Disney decide to create a whole new world, with unknown stories and characters, in a universe known for fans that revel in minutia?
Doug Chiang of Lucasfilm says it’s so attendees can be their own hero in their own “Star Wars” story.
With the movies, he said, “You’re experiencing that place through a very specific point of view of the director. Here, the point of view is you.”
It’s “Star Wars” without the baggage of knowing what happened on planets like Tattooine or Takodana. And while Black Spire Outpost has been known for many years to characters like Han Solo, thanks to a number of newly released comic books, the planet is here for fans to discover for the first time in this corner of the galaxy.
Here are some of its highlights.
Take the controls of the “fastest hunk of junk” in the galaxy during this ride’s mission to steal coaxium, the fuel first introduced in the film “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” from the First Order. The mission is headed up by Hondo Ohnaku, a pirate known from appearances in “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” animated series. Hondo has worked out a deal with Chewbacca to borrow the Falcon for the mission. Hondo needed a fast ship; Chewbacca, and the rest of the Resistance, needed the fuel. It’s sort of a win-win, but this is the Falcon, so things don’t exactly go according to plan.
Merchandising is a key part of any theme park experience. All merchandise available in the park is exclusive to “Galaxy’s Edge” and is in keeping with the spirit of letting people create their own experience. For example, at Savi’s Workshop, located in the Marketplace at Black Spire Outpost, guests can construct their own lightsabers — longtime fans know that building a lightsaber hilt is an important part of a Jedi’s progression.
The lightsabers cost around $200, so this isn’t necessarily for every visitor. But there are plenty of other options. People who like the original “Star Wars” trilogy can find stuffed wampas and wookiees, while those more interested in the television series, like “Rebels,” will find puffer pigs and loth cats. Jedi robes and First Order uniforms are also available.
You’re going to get hungry walking around the outpost. Fortunately, there are many places to get a bite or a refreshing drink. The blue milk Luke Skywalker’s aunt liked to serve back on Tattooine is available, as is the green stuff he milked from a space creature in “The Last Jedi.” Oga’s Cantina is a must-see. Here visitors can get a cocktail and listen to music in a setting reminiscent of the dive where Luke first met Han and Chewie a long, long time ago. At Ronto Roasters you will find a large barbecue pit powered by a repurposed pod racing engine. A droid named 8D-J8 is on kitchen duty, making roasted pork and grilled sausage dishes. Vegetarian options are available.
Stolen plans, datapads, it’s all part of the “Star Wars” mythos. Many of the signs in the park are written in the “Star Wars” alphabet, aurebesh, and a Disney app acts as a kind of personal C-3PO, translating for you. It also lets visitors play games with others in the park. You can even intercept and decrypt coded messages from Resistance fighters and First Order Troops.