Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Could Have Been Way Different
What Could Have Been
The most popular recent addition to the two most popular theme parks in the world, Disneyland and Disney World, has been the Star Wars section of each park. Once Disney purchased the rights to the most popular film franchise in history, it was a foregone conclusion that there would be some additions to the Disney parks. While the Small World ride wasn't replaced with a VR Death Star run ride, each park got their own Star Wars section called Galaxy's Edge. There were costumes, rides, and even a shop where you could create your own personalized lightsaber. While it saw some initial success, the numbers dropped significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Things are starting to open back up in Florida, so the 2021 season should see more of an uptick in attendance, depending on how things go.
While it's no surprise that Star Wars got its own section, what is interesting is that the two parks could have had two different experiences. The original idea was for each one to be unique from the other one. During a case study webcast by the Themed Entertainment Association, Walt Disney Imagineering executives Scott Trowbridge and Robin Reardon discuss some ideas that they had at the beginning of the project. Said Trowbridge,
“Early on, you can imagine the conversations we had about Tatooine, Hoth, or Dagobah — all these classic places that we have seen in Star Wars storytelling in the past. But for us, from the very beginning, we said, ‘No we don’t want to do that.’ We wanted to build a place that felt like it was the perfect stepping off point for your adventure. A place rife with opportunity, rife with possibility.”
There was naturally a big risk on that, since the only thing Star Wars fans hate more than change is...
Things staying the same? I'll get back to you on that. In any case, Trowbridge also goes into more detail about the original unique park designs.
“We did have a moment where we considered building a different project in each location, but it was a very short moment. We pretty quickly realized that the right thing to do was for us to build sister versions of the same place on each coast. We knew that it was going to be more inefficient to design two different things. We built two of everything at the same time.”
While this would have been interesting and given people incentive to visit both parks (COVID notwithstanding), it would have been twice as expensive. When you combine the ideas of settings outside of the usual Star Wars canon with each park having its own worlds, the first roadblock that comes to mind is obviously expense. It's far cheaper to make two of everything from established canon than two completely unique worlds that you're building pretty much from the ground up. This doesn't even take into account the fact that the two parks would have their own defenders and detractors, with likely most fans favoring one over the other. Galaxy's Edge will be a must-see attraction for anybody going to the parks, and if one is seen as noticeably better than the other one, it'd hurt attendance at the sister location.
Regardless, what we ended up getting was a mirror image of the two centered mostly on the era of the sequel trilogy, a series of films that are somehow more divisive than the prequel trilogy. It makes sense, really, given that the sequel trilogy is the first one that's all Disney. It just owns the other six films, while the rest of them were made by Lucasfilm after Disney purchased it. Like the films themselves, Disney had Galaxy's Edge grounded in familiarity. Maybe as time goes by and the parks evolve, we'll get to see more of the original ideas implemented here and there.
Written By Paul Durbin
Syndicated From Culture Slate