By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge



By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE

By Jim Korkis

Anticipation for the newest addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, continues to build at an alarming rate, since its opening is roughly only a year away.

WDI Story Editor Margaret Kerrison shared the name of the village on Batuu that will be the setting of the land: Black Spire Outpost. The planet Batuu has not previously appeared in other Star Wars media. The story is that it was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but its prominence was bypassed by the rise of hyperspace travel. It also has become a convenient safe haven for those intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order.

Black Spire Outpost is “the largest settlement on the planet and is known as being a hive of scum and villainy, where traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space can stay off the beaten path; this outpost has become a haven for the galaxy’s most colorful — and notorious — characters. Famous for its once-gigantic prehistoric petrified trees, the spires now tower over the landscape. To the first settlers, these looming spires became more than just landmarks; they became the fortress of the outpost itself.”

This new location that is the largest single land expansion in Disney theme parks history is the result of cooperation between LucasFilm, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Disney Parks.

Imagineer Scott Trowbridge says that the same teams who provide makeup, special effects, and costumes to the saga movies at Pinewood studios also contributed to creating material that will bring Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to life.

The team had to take things more than a step further than the movies by actually building elements in the real world that guests will actually experience rather than digital recreations. In other words, actual-sized AT-ATs and X-Wing fighters are under construction.

One of the attractions guests will get to board and fly is the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission. The other new attraction involves an entirely new, life-sized Resistance troop transport ship that guests will climb aboard and feel like they’re inside a hangar bay in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. There will also be a cantina serving blue milk with Rex, the troublesome pilot from the original version of Star Tours, as the DJ at the cantina.

In addition, there will be a toy stall overseen by a Toydarian, a creature first seen on Tatooine in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Eric Baker, the creative director of Disney Imagineering, is overseeing the creation of a “creature stall” as well, which is essentially a petting zoo full of aliens.

“Everyone loves the creatures of Star Wars, be they cute or cuddly or creepy and scary – you’ll get to see them all in this place,” Baker said. “The creatures will come to life, and you’ll get to take one home with you if you’re lucky.”

The team has sought out the same sources of props as those used in the films. It has also taken the additional step of working to bring many of the creatures to life, such as a loth-cat that appears in the Star Wars Rebels animated series.

Due to the popularity among fans of the supporting character Nien Nunb from Return of the Jedi who co-pilots the Millennium Falcon alongside Lando Calrissian, he will appear and interact with guests. The WDI team searched for the original voice actor, Kipsang Rotich. He was a Kenyan student studying in the San Francisco area at the time that film was made and had returned to Kenya after the completion of his studies.

He later also voiced the character in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. The character of Nien Nunb was portrayed both by a puppet and costumed actor. The character was an arms dealer of the Sullustan species who joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. He became a starfighter pilot in the Resistance who fought during the Battle of Starkiller Base. Other characters including Harkos the bounty hunter will also appear in the new land.

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Thanks, Jim! I have some forecasts for Galaxy’s Edge here. And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, More Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

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1 comment

1 Kelly B - Destinations in Florida { 08.24.18 at 10:57 am }

Great information Jim. I’ve never really been a Star Wars fan. But with the amount of detail and work going into the new land, even I’m excited!!

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