Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the sprawling, 14-acre Star Wars-themed experience at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, is a remarkable accomplishment in many ways, with highly themed elements and a rich (if somewhat cumbersome) mythology. But one of the more frustrating aspects of the land is how specifically it’s wedged into Star Wars canon: everything you see and do is set in the very narrow amount of time in between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. This leads to minor problems like many of the characters in the signature attraction, Rise of the Resistance, now being fully dead and larger ones like little kids coming to the land and not getting to, say, meet their favorite characters like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. (Chewbacca is a walkaround character and you can hear Yoda’s voice in the lightsaber-building experience.) But as a new rumor suggests, Disney could be loosening the land’s specificity, and could soon be opening it up to characters from The Mandalorian.
According to Disney historian (and my co-host for animation podcast Fine Tooning) Jim Hill, on the most recent episode of his Disney Dish podcast, characters from The Mandalorian may soon roam freely in Galaxy’s Edge. Hill states that The Mandalorian, The Child, and characters like Boba Fett and Bo Katan, could soon make appearances at Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu (a new chunk of Star Wars mythology invented by Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Imagineering specifically for the parks). He even suggests that Kylo Ren’s ship (a leftover design from Colin Trevorrow’s version of Episode IX) could be swapped out for a full-size version of the Razor Crest, the Mandalorian’s signature ship (that, spoilers, was destroyed midway through Season 2).
Whether or not the timeline for these new characters totally works is up for debate. The Mandalorian takes place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi; the first “sequel trilogy” installment The Force Awakens takes place around 30 years after Return of the Jedi. So conceivably these characters could still be crisscrossing the galaxy at this time. And additionally, one of the promised features of Galaxy’s Edge that we’re all still waiting for was the presence of assorted aliens, bounty hunters, and droids, who would interact and mingle with guests, taking note of your adventures in the land (the idea that a “reputation” would follow you around the area of the park is tantalizing and as-yet-unrealized). Perhaps the presence of these new, more familiar characters could also lead management to prioritize some kind of live stunt show in Galaxy’s Edge; all of the infrastructure is in place and a version of one of the stunt shows originally planned for the land was seen (however fleetingly) at the opening of the area of the park at Disneyland. (It was neat.) Injecting the characters from The Mandalorian (and, Hill posits, potentially Rogue Squadron for an update of the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction) into Galaxy’s Edge would be a great way to give guests characters that they are familiar with while also slightly disrupting the rigid setting of the land and adding some much-needed fun.
This kind of interchangeability also isn’t new to Star Wars experiences at Disney Parks. Back in 2011, they introduced a new version of classic 80s attraction Star Tours. This new iteration, now dubbed Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, featured different sections that could be rearranged to give guests an entirely new experience each time. When The Force Awakens opened in 2015, there were new locations and interstitials that were added to the mix (and variations on previous locations, which were once locked, now provided even more variety). New sequences were added around the release of The Last Jedi (the crystal cave sequence in the film was a direct reference to the original version of Star Tours, and now that sequence is a part of Star Tours) and The Rise of Skywalker. Damnably, as of now, you cannot visit the beach planet of Scarif, as seen in Rogue One.
Another thing to keep in mind is how severely the Disney Parks have been hit during the past year, with every theme park on the planet being closed at one point (several others have opened only to re-close and Disneyland has never reopened). Nearly $1 billion was cut from forthcoming projects, which lead to things like the Mary Poppins attraction at EPCOT being canceled outright and several other projects (including the TRON Legacy rollercoaster at Magic Kingdom and the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at EPCOT) being severely postponed. So when we will see these new walkaround characters or attractions overlays happening is another big question mark.
Watch your backs, Fred and Ginger.
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