Star Wars Celebration was held in Chicago this past weekend and a huge amount of exciting Star Wars news was revealed including Galaxy’s Edge, TV series, video games, and the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX. I’ll summarize all the highlights for you below.
Because this news is important to the parks, we are bumping our normal Disneyland Update to tomorrow to bring you this comprehensive look at a Galaxy Rising. (Disneyland Update Now Available HERE)
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Much of what was discussed at Star Wars Celebration was Galaxy’s Edge related. Primarily, a lot of it had to do with merchandise, with full booths set up with more merch than we could cover in this article. In an effort to prevent overload, I’m mostly focusing on new things or things that were clarified by Disney and LucasFilm. If you need to catch up, we have a whole section of MiceChat dedicated to Galaxy’s Edge information HERE. Let’s take a quick peek.
Soon we’ll be able to join Hondo at “Ohnaka’s Transport Solutions” and sign up to fly the Millennium Falcon. The Imagineers worked with Dave Filoni, the creator of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, to bring Hondo to life. The Hondo character in Galaxy’s Edge is an aged version based off a sketch done by Filoni.
The exit hallway for the Millennium Falcon will look different depending on how well you fly. Did you hit a bunch of things? The hallway will look more banged up with broken lights, sparks flying, and comm chatter about the incredible damage you did to the Falcon.
Here’s a clip of Hondo’s animatronic asking you to join his crew:
Rise of the Resistance
While Rise of the Resistance won’t be opening until later this year, Disney did mention a few things. Kylo Ren, Rey, Poe, and BB8 were confirmed to be on the attraction. Nien Nunb was also confirmed to be on the attraction and is voiced by the original voice actor, Kipsang Rotich.
The ride vehicle will be a troop transport vehicle, with an R5 unit on the front. R5 moves, beeps, and otherwise acts like an R5 droid.
Disney Parks Play App (Star Wars Datapad)
The Galaxy’s Edge panel also gave us a tease as to how the Star Wars datapad will work in the new land. The app will help you with all sorts of information and puzzles around the land, which is generally what you’re seeing on some of the GIFs I’ve included for you below.
Interact with droids, light panels, and ships.
Scan barcodes and see what’s inside of crates.
Translate signs and audio into English.
Tune into satellite dishes and antenna arrays to eavesdrop onto different stories.
This will be an overarching game for the whole land. The purpose will be to control things like surveillance panels and give them over to a faction. It lasts until a faction is successful in controlling the most blips, then the game starts over.
The Imagineers were kind enough to fill us in on some of the backstories of Batuu and Black Spire Outpost, as well as comment on their motivations for doing things a certain way. First off, why a new planet instead of visiting a place like Tatooine? Established places are reflections of the characters and they wanted to avoid guests being spectators. Having a new planet puts the focus more on this being your unknown Star Wars adventure.
At the same time, Batuu has been around in the background of all the established media, so there are references to every trilogy. They expand upon this in a series of books and graphic novels that happen in different eras of the Star Wars timeline. Characters in the land have stories that interact with each other, and the village has a believable culture full of diversity of languages and species. We just published an article a few days ago on the topic of how they came about building all of the unique culture, architecture, etc of Batuu which you can read here.
Many of the beloved characters from the Star Wars universe will physically be at Black Spire Outpost, but others will be there solely in audio. A certain little green Jedi named Yoda, voiced by Frank Oz, was mentioned as someone you might hear and not see.
Booths set up around the Galaxy’s Edge area at Star Wars Celebration were letting guests tell their Star Wars “fanfessional”. All those stories will be collected and put into the big holocron above that will be in Galaxy’s Edge itself.
The star of Oga’s Cantina will truly be DJ Rex, who’s been given an elaborate backstory. Rex flunked his way out of Star Tours and joined the Rebellion. During the Battle of Jakku (the off-screen battle that takes place after the battle of Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi as seen in Star Wars: Battlefront II) he is chased to Batuu where he crashes. Mubo, the owner of the Droid Depot, repairs him and sends him to Oga as a DJ for her cantina. Rex’s original voice actor, Paul Reubens, returns to voice him.
Here’s a clip of some of the music that DJ Rex will be playing in the cantina:
It was sort of funny to see a bunch of Coca-Cola bottles wheeled out on stage during the celebration. However, they weren’t your standard Coke bottles. Coke partnered with Imagineering to design bottles and labels that were not only translated into Aurebesh but looked like they belonged in Star Wars. While they look a little like a thermal detonator (basically Star Wars grenades), they’re rather neat and the fact that effort went into details as small as soda bottles tell you how no detail was glossed over.
Also, I believe this means that Coca-Cola is now technically canon in the Star Wars universe.
The creature shop is the place to be if you want to “adopt” your own Star Wars creature to take home. The idea behind each creature (which are custom made for Galaxy’s Edge) is “creatures with features,” meaning each creature will either have some sort of sound or movement element. For example, in the photo above, you’ll see a Kowakian Monkey-Lizard which is similar in function to the banshees at Pandora: The World of Avatar. It can fully articulate and perch on your shoulder. Other examples included Porgs as puppets with sound and Tauntauns that make noise.
Other creatures revealed included Banthas, Dewbacks, Krykna, and Mynocks. With such a mixture of creatures from all eras and media forms, both cuddly and creepy alike, it looks like there will be something for everyone.
The Toydarian Toymaker is hard at work making adorable toys for all the children of Batuu. Even more artisan plush than we previously have seen were on display. They included Jabba the Hutt, Ahsoka Tano, an Ewok, a Tooka Doll (similar to Jyn Eryso’s Tooka “Starrie”) Darth Vader, Lando Calrissian, and Leia Organa.
There was a focus on toys made of in-universe materials, generally made of fabric, wood, or tin. There are quite a few different ones, including the wooden “Stormy” the Stormtrooper (similar to Jyn Erso’s doll from Rogue One). There also was an array of small wooden toys of everything from X-Wings to characters like Boba Fett and Admiral Ackbar. If you’re looking for games from the Star Wars universe, a few were on display including the classic Sabaac, a physical version of the chessboard from the Falcon, and chance cubes. Just don’t bet your ship on a game of Sabaac.
Instruments like the Kloo Horn will also be available. It seems like some, if not all, are more like toys than actual instruments. For instance, you don’t blow in the Kloo Horn, there are buttons on the side with a speaker.
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities
Dok-Ondar’s shop is said to be full of an “unbelievable” amount of easter eggs from all eras of Star Wars. If you missed it, he was actually originally introduced as a very brief mention in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Dok-Ondar’s shop is full of all kinds of incredible black market items. A major item that I’m sure will be popular are legacy sabers. A pair that were shown off were Ahsoka Tano’s iconic Star Wars: Rebels white-bladed sabers.
Each legacy saber comes in a snazzy box with the character’s logo on it (in Ahsoka’s case, the “Fulcrum” symbol denoting she was a Rebel spy). It looks like the blades come as separate pieces that drop in and light up, meaning you can change the saber to be useable or as a prop on your belt. I’m assuming custom sabers at Savi’s Workshop will work the same way. Ahsoka’s lightsabers are also the first time white blades have been available.
Black Spire Outfitters
While adults won’t be able to wear costumes in Galaxy’s Edge, the costumes themselves are still meticulously designed. All outfits have a place on their belt for a lightsaber as well as food pouches (perfect for that Resistance MRE). Some of the different outfits we hadn’t seen yet included Rey’s Ahch-To outfit from The Last Jedi, Obi-Wan’s robes from the prequel trilogy, Rey’s main robes from The Last Jedi, and Kylo Ren’s robes.
The outfits are mix and match, meaning that individual pieces are sold separately. That’s probably a great idea considering I’m definitely going to want a belt that holds my lightsaber, but I may or may not want to buy an entirely new outfit every time I need an accessory.
Universal Studios encourages guests to wear robes and Hogwarts house sweaters in the Wizarding World, should Disney allow a similar use of approved costume types?
We’ll leave Galaxy’s Edge with this flyover of the new land. It’s all footage we’ve seen before, but this version has John Williams’ brand new original score for the land and you need to listen to it.
Now let’s briefly go over some of the other Star Wars announcements from this weekend.
Star Wars: Episode IX
The final part of the Skywalker saga will be coming to an end this December with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This movie will take place several years after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is an interesting point as Galaxy’s Edge takes place in that in-between time period. Both should tie into each other in potentially interesting ways. The teaser does a great job of hitting us with tons of questions and no answers, but the real question is “will this film save the franchise?” I’m not personally in that boat, but The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story left a bad taste in many longtime fans’ mouths so it will be interesting to see if and how this movie pivots that viewpoint.
I can probably make a whole post about this teaser, there’s that much going on, but I’ll break down a few highlights. The first thing you might notice is that Luke is narrating, so we can assume that he’ll be back as a Force Ghost. Rey’s obviously more confident in her skills, doing backflips over TIE fighters, but something you might have missed is that her lightsaber exploded in the last film and she has what appears to be a new one.
Kylo Ren repairs his helmet, I guess he decided not to “let the past die, kill it if you have to.” Episode IX will also see the return of Lando Calrissian at the helm of the Millennium Falcon. There’s a small clip of First Order stormtroopers with jetpacks (maybe the Red Fury we’ve been hearing about?) chasing Poe, Finn, and C-3PO through a desert with some serious original trilogy vibes.
For those wondering, the medal shown briefly is the medal that Luke and Han receive from Princess Leia in A New Hope. Carrie Fisher is in this film, not in spirit but physically, which will be really interesting to see. A new character will be D-0, a small droid that looks like a cone attached to a wheel.
Now, the really interesting bit is the very end where all our heroes are standing on a grassy cliff overlooking a rolling sea. Right in the middle of it is a giant piece of a Death Star (remember, there were two). Luke’s statement of “No one’s ever really gone” seemingly comes true when you hear Ian McDiarmid’s classic Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious cackle. In fact, after the teaser rolled at the panel, he came out and demanded “Roll it again” in his best Palpatine voice. The crowd exploded.
Thinking about my earlier question on if this will save the franchise for all the longterm fans who feel dissatisfied, I feel that a twist like this certainly pushes the Star Wars saga in the right direction. When it comes to Sheev Palpatine, there’s a lot of history there, including six films of it, and he’s definitely a well-developed bad dude. Beyond that, Palpatine is probably one of the most popular and consistent memes due to his hilarious prequel trilogy lines that I can only hope are retained in this new film.
As for the title, “The Rise of Skywalker,” LucasFilm has been pretty mum as to what that means so it’s safe to assume that’s a major spoiler. I’m sure everyone’s assuming Rey’s heritage will be revealed and she’ll end up being a Skywalker, but that might not be what actually happens. We’ll have to wait and see.
I also have a couple bullet points from the Episode IX panel that aren’t prevalent in the teaser.
- Leia scenes were all pulled from The Force Awakens.
- Some years have gone by since The Last Jedi.
- Practical effects are used, similar to The Force Awakens.
- “Was it easy to find Lando again?” “Lando never left me.”
- Naomi Ackie plays a new character named Jannah.
- Naomi was asked if Lando was Jannah’s father and she only said that “Lando was charming and could have children all over the galaxy.”
- Boyega confirmed Phasma is dead.
- We’ll likely see some real Finn+Poe bromance.
- This is an adventure all of the characters take together.
- The lightsaber Rey inherited from Luke and Anakin lives (in some way).
- Rose has a book that tells her backstory with her sister Paige that her actor, Kelly Marie Tran narrated. She stated that narrating it helped her get more into the character of Rose.
- JJ Abrahms stated he loved that Kelly Marie was cast and it was one of the greatest things Rian Johnson did. Is all this love for Tran indicative of a better character arc for this film?
- Porgs taste best fried according to Joonas Suotamo.
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series
LucasFilm is really expanding on their different storytelling platforms and this spring a new VR series, Vader Immortal, will be hitting Oculus headsets. Tying into The VOID experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Vader has captured a smuggler and a story unfolds as to why he’s chosen you (the smuggler) for a special task related to the mysterious object in Secrets of the Empire.
Since this is a VR series, it’s meant to be experienced rather than just watched. That means you’ll be physically interacting and moving around Mustafar, including a chance to go to the lightsaber dojo, interact with Vader’s temple on Mustafar and the inhabitants therein (including Mustafarians), and get to know a little more about the man behind the mask.
Episode 1 of Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series will be available this spring on Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
EA and Respawn (Titanfall, Apex Legends) revealed their new game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order this weekend. The game is set just after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’s Order 66 where you play as former Padawan Cal Kestis. EA has gone out of their way to make sure everyone knows this is a single-player experience with no multiplayer or microtransaction elements in an effort to distance it from their last two Star Wars games, Battlefront and Battlefront II. Both were colossal disappointments in the gaming community due to lack of single player, story, content, and a predatory microtransaction system.
Watching the reveal, there’s quite a lot of promise and it looks like Respawn has made it their goal to nail down the world, story, premise, and characters. The proposed gameplay (no gameplay has been shown yet) looks to be interesting, thoughtful and varied in an attempt to really make you feel like you’re a Jedi (including some wall-running reminiscent of Respawn’s previous title, Titanfall).
The story is set during an incredibly interesting and potentially intimate point in time as well, which might really reel in the original trilogy fans. It’s likely we’ll see a great mixture of classic characters like Vader and the Emperor with new characters like Cal Kestis. The Jedi hunting Inquisitor, Second Sister, who appeared in Marvel’s Darth Vader as well as Star Wars Rebels, will assumedly be the big baddie as well.
Considering the veteran status of most of the members of the development team, it’s safe to be cautiously optimistic of this upcoming title. Below is the official reveal trailer.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order launches November 15, 2019, on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
A glimpse at The Mandalorian, a mysterious figure with no name and an unknown identity hidden behind iconic Mandalorian armor was revealed this weekend. The Disney+ show will mark the first live-action Star Wars series. While the footage was exclusive to those at the panel, Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and the director of the first episode Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) were keen to let us in on a few details.
The series will take place about five years after Return of the Jedi, one of the first times we’ve seen much in the time period between that film and The Force Awakens. The main character was designed around western heroes and samurai, creating a gritty tone of a classic gunslinger film. Supporting characters will include a former shock trooper Cara Dune and Greef Carga, the head of a guild of bounty hunters.
Favreu was adamant on making sure that the film looked and felt like Star Wars, going as far as building the main character’s ship, the Razorcrest, as a practical model versus a computer-generated effect.
The Mandalorian will be coming to Disney+, which will release on November 12th.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Clone Wars animated series was brought to a close shortly after Disney purchased LucasFilm back in 2012, but will soon be reborn on Disney+. Ahsoka Tano was mentioned heavily during the panel, leading us to believe that she will be a major focus for this new season of the show.
Two upcoming major events were mentioned, an epic lightsaber duel between Ahsoka and Maul, and Ahsoka venturing into the infamous level 1313 of Coruscant where she meets two new characters, Trace and Rafa Martez. The former will be an interesting counter to the brief lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Maul in Star Wars: Rebels. Maul will also receive a Solo-style makeover and will actually be a motion capture of Ray Park, the original actor for Maul in The Phantom Menace.
As for Ahsoka, this still takes place before Revenge of the Sith and after her departure from the Jedi Order, so she’ll be a teenager and not yet the adult, wise, mature Fulcrum we see in Star Wars: Rebels.
Considering this series was the last thing George Lucas touched before selling LucasFilm to Disney, there’s a bit of that foundation in everything that Filoni does with it. Bringing back this series marks a major shift in the way Disney is approaching Star Wars and its importance to its fans. I put together the three clips (one is pre-viz) and the trailer that were shown during the panel below:
Star Wars: The Clone Wars will continue on Disney+ when it launches on November 12th.
That does it for today’s roundup. There certainly was a lot of info to cover, but it just means that there’s that much more to look forward to for all things Star Wars. What do you think of Coke products in Galaxy’s Edge? Are you excited to watch all the new Star Wars shows coming to Disney+? Let us know in the comments.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a Disneyland Update and there is all sorts of content throughout the week.
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