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Hidden Gems and Attention to Detail Create Authenticity in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Photo Credit: Richard Harbaugh/Disney Parks

With more than four decades of films, television series, novels, comic books, video games and more, Star Wars has a deep history that has inspired generations of devoted fans. In creating Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm were driven to fulfill the dreams of anyone who ever imagined visiting this galaxy far, far away by telling new stories that feel authentically Star Wars.

Photo Credit: Richard Harbaugh/Disney Parks

Inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, guests explore a land filled with rich details meticulously researched and crafted by Imagineers and Lucasfilm. Though the planet Batuu and its Black Spire Outpost may be new to fans, this setting offers a genuine Star Wars experience for all who enter as they discover a plethora of hidden gems and other details drawn from across the galaxy.

Photo Credit: Matt Stroshane

Hidden Gems to Look for in the Land

  • While Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set during the current trilogy of Star Wars films, the land features elements representing many different eras of the Star Wars Examples include:

    • Several creatures seen throughout the land will be familiar to some fans, such as the dianoga from the Death Star trash compactor in “Star Wars: A New Hope” found in a tank above a Black Spire Outpost drinking fountain, or the taxidermic wampa from the ice planet Hoth in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” in Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities.

Photo Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

  • A podracing engine in the Ronto Roasters food stall calls back to “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” while the former smelter droid turning the spit of meats is similar to a droid seen in Jabba the Hutt’s palace in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.”

  • A mural on the wall of Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities depicts an ancient battle between the light and dark sides of the Force. The original bas-relief of this mural was seen in Chancellor Palpatine’s office in “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.”

  • Hondo Ohnaka, best known from the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” animated television series, gives guests their mission in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

  • Nien Nunb, who served as Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot when the Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star, pilots the Intersystem Transport Ship in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Photo Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

  • Batuu’s landscape is dotted with tall petrified tree trunks, and Black Spire Outpost takes its name from a trunk in the center of the village that is darker than all the others.

  • Imagineers took rubbings from the feet of the R2-D2 droid used in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and turned those into a set of three-dimensional wheels. Then they built a trolley with those wheels and rolled it through the land before the concrete pathways fully dried to leave behind authentic droid tracks that guests might spot as they explore the outpost.

It’s All About the Story

  • One reason Imagineers set Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on a planet never before seen in the Star Wars universe was to give everyone a chance to step into the story at their own levels – whether a guest is a lifelong Star Wars fan or has never watched a Star Wars film, everyone visiting the land sees Batuu for the first time.

Photo Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

  • Batuu and its residents are starting to appear in and inspire other Star Wars stories:

    • Both Black Spire Outpost and Dok-Ondar were referenced in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Photo Credit: Matt Stroshane

  • Characters in the Timothy Zahn novel “Thrawn: Alliances” visit Oga’s Cantina.

  • “Star Wars: Pirate’s Price,” a young-adult novel by Lou Anders, details a previous trip Hondo Ohnaka made to Batuu.

  • A five-issue Marvel comics series, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, delves into some of the famous antiquities found in Dok-Ondar’s shop on Batuu.

  • “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – A Crash of Fate” by Zoraida Cordova is a young-adult novel about two childhood friends from Batuu who are reunited later in life and have a series of adventures.

Photo Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

  • “Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire,” a novel by Delilah S. Dawson, tells the story of Vi Moradi, Leia Organa’s top spy who chooses Batuu for the Resistance’s secret command post (guests may encounter Vi as they explore Black Spire Outpost).

  • During Star Wars Celebration 2019, April 11-15 in Chicago, many attendees who visited the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge booth recorded video testimonials sharing their personal Star Wars These videos were embedded into a Jedi holocron that is now placed inside Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

Photo Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

Inspiration and Authenticity

  • The architecture of Black Spire Outpost is anchored by strong geometric forms. Many architectural components are fragmented and asymmetrically arranged, with thick walls often coated with heavy, ancient plaster to tell the story of a mysterious land with a deep, rich history. Imagineers studied real-world locations to learn how time and history reveal themselves in architecture and environments through erosion and visual wear.

  • In search of aesthetic inspiration for the land, Walt Disney Imagineers visited George Lucas’ private archives in California to study original Star Wars concept artwork created by Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who helped Lucas shape the look of the Star Wars

  • Imagineers traveled to Morocco and Turkey to experience ancient open-air markets. These sources provided Black Spire Outpost’s authentically earthy, yet otherworldly environment. Going beyond typical tourist locations, Imagineers took thousands of reference photos for street market items, cracks in the pavement, ancient stonework, landscaping, lighting, electrical wiring and much more to shape the look and feel of Black Spire Outpost.

Photo Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

  • To ensure authenticity in their designs for the land, Imagineers visited active Star Wars film sets in the United Kingdom. There they studied everything from ships to costumes to props to help inform their work on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

  • Walt Disney Imagineering worked closely with Lucasfilm to develop key design criteria that ensured every detail felt like it belonged in the same style and tone of the production designs from Star Wars

  • For the merchandise in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney designers were granted access to the Lucasfilm archives to study original props and costumes. In many cases, a digital scanner was used to take 360-degree images of these artifacts; 3D prints were used to create new molds for items replicated as merchandise.

  • To re-create Princess Leia Organa’s iconic necklace worn at the end of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” Disney reached out to the original European designer, who still had the piece’s mold from four decades ago. That mold was then used to create the new item, available now at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities.

  • The Meal, Ready-to-Eat snack kit offered in Resistance Supply is based off Luke Skywalker’s kit from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” Disney used set references as well as recollections from actor Mark Hamill (who played Luke Skywalker in the film) to select many of the snacks featured in the kit.

  • The robes and tunics available for purchase in Black Spire Outfitters are inspired by the costumes for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” as well as Rey from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Photo Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

  • The Custom Astromech Units available in the Droid Depot are inspired, in part, by young Anakin Skywalker tinkering with C-3PO in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.”

  • The guest experience inside Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers* draws some of its inspiration from episodes of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” where Jedi younglings learn how to build their own lightsabers.

  • The toy stormtrooper seen in Toydarian Toymaker is modeled after the prop young Jyn Erso holds in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”</li

  • To deepen the immersion of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Imagineers worked with Skywalker Sound to create more than a thousand sound effects that play throughout the land. Skywalker Sound provided classic sounds from the Star Wars films and collaborated with Imagineers in creating new audio effects specifically for Batuu.

  • Trees in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge were selected for distinctive bark, wild character and smaller or pendulant foliage. These characteristics suggest the trees are survivors and descendants of a cataclysmic event that claimed the ancient forest and left the large petrified spires now scattered across Batuu.

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