Last week during Star Wars Celebration, a not-insignificant period of time was spent discussing Star Wars within the Disney Parks. With both Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and the brand-new Galactic Starcruiser being there to enjoy, and of course Star Tours still going strong. there’s plenty for fans of a galaxy, far far away to enjoy at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. There were no new attractions or major initiatives announced over the weekend, but it was revealed that Boba Fett and Fennec Shand are set to appear inside Galaxy’s Edge, and have since done so. And while that might seem like a minor new addition, it’s actually an earth-shattering change to Galaxy’s Edge.
New characters walking around a land isn’t usually a big deal. Disney California Adventure adds a new character to Avengers Campus every time Marvel releases a new movie or Disney+ series, which at this point feels like about once a month. However, in the case of Boba Fett, as well as The Mandalorian and Grogu, who will also arrive at Galaxy’s Edge later this year, this is a much bigger deal, because it means Disneyland Resort is reversing course on a core component of Galaxy's Edge.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Is Part Of Star Wars Canon
From its inception, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was designed not to simply be a theme park land full of Star Wars stuff, but a piece of the larger Star Wars universe. You wouldn’t be able to buy a t-shirt with the Star Wars logo on it because the land was created to be a planet in the Star Wars universe, so the merchandise on sale was to be the sorts of things people from that planet might make.
As part of that, Galaxy’s Edge is also set in a certain time period. When you walk on to Batuu, you are (or were) walking onto the planet at a point in time between the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The two attractions told stories that reinforced this. When wandering the land, you might come across Rey or Kylo Ren, but you wouldn’t find Han Solo.
The decision to drop Boba Fett and Fennec Shand into Batuu changes all this. Now Batuu is a place that is hosting stories from multiple eras of Star Wars simultaneously. If you walk past Rey, you’re in the Sequel Trilogy, but later you might walk past Boba Fett and find yourself in the era post-Original Trilogy, when The Book of Boba Fett is set.
Galaxy’s Edge Was An Incredible Concept That Never Fully Executed
With its elaborate setting and fixed time period, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was something new and different when it came to theme park creations. What Universal Parks and Resorts had started with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by creating Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, i.e. areas that made you feel like you were walking in the footsteps of Harry Potter, Walt Disney Imagineering took to another level with Batuu.
There were concessions that had to be made with the creative decision. You couldn’t have Qui-Gon Jinn and Luke Skywalker both walking around Batuu if you wanted to make guests feel like they were inside their own Star Wars adventure. These characters could never exist in the same space. And, of course, since Disney wanted to support and promote its own new trilogy, the decision was made to set the land there.
From the beginning, there were people that were unhappy with Galaxy’s Edge as it was. If you wanted to see Darth Vader at the new Star Wars land, you were out of luck, and for many much more casual fans, as well as serious fans of the Original Trilogy, that was exactly what they wanted.
In the end, we saw a clash of ideals. What Walt Disney Imagineering had done with Galaxy’s Edge was a new level of theme park storytelling and guest immersion, but its very nature meant limiting which familiar Star Wars elements would be included.
But the storytelling built into the land involved risks. Food, while not being actually strange or unusual, had names that were. Some experiences, like the lightsaber building workshop, were not posted as such because followers of the Jedi did not want to run afoul of the First Order, and thus were meant to be hidden. These ideas were exciting and fun for some guests, but confusing for others. They slowly faded away to make things easier for guests.
One of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’s biggest selling features was the fact that the new land was absolutely massive, but that also presented a hurdle. Because the land was so big, it would have required a lot of characters walking through it to make it feel “alive” in the same way that the much smaller Avengers Campus does.
In the end, it may have been impossible to make everybody happy with Galaxy’s Edge. People simply wanted too many things out of the new Star Wars land. Now, with the addition of characters outside the Sequel Trilogy timeline, it seems that the land is swinging the pendulum the other way.
Why Walt Disney World Probably Won't Be Getting These Changes Anytime Soon
However, if there’s a silver lining to those who really loved what Galaxy’s Edge used to be, there’s good news. These changes to the land have specifically only been announced for Disneyland Resort’s version of the land, not the one at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.
While Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney World are functionally identical, to see the Florida park go through similar changes seems unlikely, at least in the short term, because of the other new Star Wars addition there, the Galactic Starcruiser. The Starcruiser has a story of its own to tell, and that story is also set during the Sequel Trilogy era. The Galactic Starcruiser is also interlinked with the attractions at Galaxy’s Edge.
You can be assigned missions on the Starcruiser that you must complete on Batuu, so adding Star Wars characters from other eras would do some pretty significant damage to the immersion the Starcruiser is working so hard to achieve. For that reason, it seems unlikely that Boba Fett or The Mandalorian will be showing up in Orlando in the near future.
Maybe in the end, this is a good move. There are now two slightly different versions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, potentially giving guests more reason to visit both. If however, you really want a particular version of the land, there’s only one place to get it.
The idea with this change is that Galaxy’s Edge will now host multiple Star Wars stories. While all still anchored to the planet Batuu, they will cover various time periods, and the characters from different eras will not cross paths. How well this will ultimately work remains to be seen, but for fans simply happy to see Boba Fett in a Star Wars theme park attraction, it likely doesn’t matter.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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