The Skyliner aerial transport system between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios isn’t the only future addition to the sprawling Walt Disney World Resorts. The most hotly anticipated expansion for Hollywood Studios is the 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme area, providing a huge location for fans of the decades-running epic space opera film franchise to geek out at.
On the evening of Saturday, December 16, the creative minds of Walt Disney Imagineering presented an in-depth look at what’s in store for the Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars expansion at the “Galactic Nights” gala event. WDI speakers Scott Trowbridge (portfolio creative exec), Robin Reardon (exec creative prod.), and Chris Beatty (exec creative director), along with Lucasfilm VP/creative director Doug Chiang, unveiled more details about the project, expected to open in 2019.
First off, the in-story location that will be depicted on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the planet Batuu, a completely new world in the Galaxy never before seen in the franchise. Explains Trowbridge, “”Batuu is a place where we’re going to live our Star Wars story and be the hero…Everything is designed to pull you in and help you believe you are having your own Star Wars adventure.”
From the descriptions made by the Disney Imagineering team on modeling the architecture of Batuu to a marketplace in Morocco, it could be inferred that the planet might part of the Outer Rim where the desert planet Tatooine (based on the filming location Tataouine in Tunisia) is located. To further the immersion, any merchandise offered to Hollywood Studios patrons in Galaxy’s Edge will be presented as an in-universe item from the Star Wars setting; or as Trowbridge explains, there are no Star Wars souvenir t-shirts for sale there.
One other attraction of the Galaxy’s Edge theme area that was discussed during the “Galactic Nights” event was the park ride patterned after the iconic ship Millennium Falcon, an announcement that was greeted by much cheering from the guests.
Aside from Hollywood Studios in Disney World Resorts, another Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area will also open as an expansion for Disneyland in Anaheim, also for 2019.