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5 Reasons Why The Setting For Galaxy's Edge Was a Genius Move

2. Keeping the options open (and mitigating fan backlash)

Savi's Lightsaber shop

Image: Disney

Setting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in a new world also solves another major problem—it will keep Disney’s options open as the Star Wars universe unfolds.

Star Wars fans are an extremely opinionated and diverse group. Older fans are fiercely loyal to the original trilogy and proved the fiercest critics of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. Indeed, even references to the prequels in Star Tours made some fans cringe when they were announced. What many adults don’t realize, however, is that younger fans don’t necessarily feel the same burning hatred for Jar Jar Binks and midi-chlorians that we do. Today’s college-age students grew up on the prequels, to the point many saw them before they ever saw the classic trilogy. Today’s teenagers spent their childhood playing pretend as Clone Wars cartoon characters rather than as Leia or Luke Skywalker. Different groups of fans like different things, and it would have been a mistake for Disney to back themselves into a corner committing to just one fanbase.

Consider the insanely divided fan reactions to The Last Jedi. Some loved it, applauding it as one of the finest achievements in the franchise. Others thought it was an unmitigated disaster. Indeed, they hated it with a burning passion that set the internet ablaze (and apparently drew the mimicry of a surprising number of Russian troll-bots). In similar form, many fans loved Solo: A Star Wars Story while others found it predictable and blasé, to the point it technically bombed in Disney’s eyes.

Setting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in a new, flexible location gives Disney the freedom to course-correct if a film or other project doesn’t go over well. It’s impossible to mitigate all fan backlash, but this was a smart move that will give Disney lots of wiggle room to expand smartly in the future.

3. Immersion meets role-playing

Girl and father running into Galaxy's Edge

Image: Disney

The experience at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge isn’t going to just be about fan-service—it’s about immersion. Universal Studios knocked this concept out of the park with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Hogwarts section of Islands of Adventure doesn’t just feel like an homage to Harry Potter. It feels like the real place, right down to the butterbeer and the claustrophobic insides of the castle. Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Orlando is so well hidden (to match lore) that some guests can’t even find it their first time without a map. Disney’s Animal Kingdom pulled off a similar feat with the World of Pandora, especially on the Avatar: Flight of Passage attraction. Whether you like the film Avatar or not, the experience isn’t about appealing fandom—it is about immersion in another world that feels utterly real and exhilarating.

Galaxy’s Edge will take this concept to the next level by giving fans of all ages the opportunity to enjoy the same thing every kid does when they step into Walt Disney World—freedom to play pretend. It’s not just about remembering a favorite film. It is an opportunity to participate in the story as a character in your imagination.

Every element of Batuu is going to feed this experience. Lucky press members who got to take an early look have described the Black Spire Outpost as mind-bogglingly realistic. Both attractions will be set up to feel like quests rather than rides—a smuggling run and a mission for the Resistance that flow in real time. There will be actual stakes since the choices you make on the attractions will affect your “reputation” (attached to your MagicBand) in the park, changing the way characters interact with you. We’ve also already talked about how the resort attached to Galaxy’s Edge sounds like a role-playing experience. This theme will carry throughout, and the setting is going to make the whole thing feel even more realistic, right down to integrated PlayDisney games you can enjoy while you explore. Unlike recreating the films, the tales told on Batuu will take guests into entirely untraveled territory.

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