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Disney Parks are in the middle of the largest expansion in history as they create an entirely new area dedicated exclusively to Star Wars. We got an inside look as well as new information about what you'll find at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. However, the thing that's perhaps more interesting is what you won't find in the new theme park, Star Wars merchandise, which is to say, Star Wars branded merchandise. I was able to attend a special inside look panel during the recent Galactic Nights event at Disney's Hollywood Studios where Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Producer Chris Beatty explained that, in order to create truly authentic experience that felt like you were on a planet from the Star Wars universe, they'd only sell certain merchandise, and it won't be Star Wars-branded items. According to Beatty...
When we came back from our research trip we met with our lines of business, the foods team, the merchandise team and really sat down with them talked a lot about authenticity. The product that we sell here, the things that we want you to buy as fans...you want something unique, you want something different, you want something that feels like it came from this planet.
As an example, Chris Beatty revealed one of the characters who would exist in the marketplace of the planet Batuu, the planet that will be the location for the events of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The alien came from a race called the Toydarians, and this person would be a toy maker. The toys for sale in the shop would be the sorts of things you would expect this alien to have built. This lead panel host David Collins to ask a simple question that had a somewhat surprising answer
Collins: So I'm not going to go and buy a Star Wars t-shirt from this Toydarian person?
Beatty: No, you will not buy a Star Wars t-shirt.
Clearly, there will be enough places both at Disney's Hollywood Studios and at Disneyland to purchase Star Wars branded gear. Star Wars Galaxy's Edge t-shirts were on sale during Galactic Nights at the gift shop connected to Star Tours. However, you still wouldn't be surprised to see the Star Wars land add several more places to buy such things. Instead, the focus for Galaxy's Edge is to create an experience so immersive that the merchandise won't break the illusion.
There are no illusions that Disney doesn't want people to buy lots of stuff at the new theme park, but it does say something that the stuff the park will be selling will be designed to enhance the experience. One example of a toy you will be able to purchase from a Toyderian is this AT-AT Walker that was shown off during the panel. What sets this version apart from the one you'd buy in any toy store, is that it looks like it was handmade, with rivets that connect the different pieces, and patches of miscolored material, as if it was assembled by whatever pieces happened to be available at the time.
It really feels like Disney Parks are trying to take things to the next level with Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. It's not simply about adding a couple of rides and playing ambient music that reminds you of the films. The goal to really place the guests inside the galaxy far, far away. There's a lot we still don't know about this new land, but there's a lot of time left before the two parks open in 2019.