New details about the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme park were revealed during a special panel at the Galactic Nights event at Walt Disney World this weekend. Set to open in 2019 (at Disney's California and Florida locations), the expansion transports park attendees to Black Spire Outpost, located on the planet Batuu. It's envisioned as a safe haven for smugglers, traders, and others. Batuu is set to become a more meaningful part of Star Wars canon, as evidenced by its inclusion in an upcoming Thrawn novel by Timothy Zahn.
Of course, Disney is sparing no expense when it comes to constructing Galaxy's Edge. Since the park has the daunting task of bringing the galaxy far, far away to life, authenticity is of paramount importance. Disney's top-notch imagineers are going the extra mile to ensure Batuu is an extremely memorable experience for fans and they used Galactic Nights to promote more of what's in store.
Screen Rant was in attendance at the panel, learning firsthand Galaxy's Edge will feature life-sized AT-ATs. Unlike the movies, which used either miniature models or CGI for the massive vehicles, the makers of Galaxy's Edge have to construct full, 360-degree walkers practically. They received an assist from Doug Chiang, a veteran of the Star Wars films who has worked in the art, production design, and visual effects departments of various franchise installments. Specifics on the AT-AT attraction were scarce, but it was hinted attendees will be going up against them after a mission goes terribly wrong.
We've know for a while that the Millennium Falcon is going to be a centerpiece attraction at Galaxy's Edge, but the team is working on another ship for fans to enjoy. During the panel, the team discussed plans for the Resistance troop transport, which was first teased at the D23 Expo last year. Just like the Falcon, it is a full, physical ship that attendees will be able to board and head out on an adventure. The attention to detail on the modeling (pictured above) is very precise, with battle damage markings giving it the classic Star Wars lived-in aesthetic. The troop transport is an all-new vehicle created specifically for Galaxy's Edge, but since Batuu is part of canon, it'll be interesting to see if the ship comes up in any other mediums.
Another major reveal during Galactic Nights was the announcement fan-favorite Nien Nunb is going to be on Batuu. To illustrate Disney's commitment to making things as authentic as possible, they tracked down Kipsang Rotich, who performed the character's voice in Return of the Jedi, to record the dialogue. Of course, Nunb won't be the only alien fans can see on Batuu. Galaxy's Edge will also feature a creature stall where attendees can see a variety of Star Wars creatures. It won't be limited to just movie ones, either, as creatures from the novels and animated series (including Loth-cats) will be there as well. All in all, Galaxy's Edge looks like it will be a tremendous addition to Disneyland and Disney World next year, allowing Star Wars fans to live out their dreams of stepping into the galaxy.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019