Don’t know a Tauntaun from a Bantha? Have NO CLUE what a parsec is? Don’t worry — by the end of this post nobody’s gonna call you a scruffy-looking nerf herder!
Let’s travel to a galaxy far, far away to get you up to speed on EVERYTHING you need to know before you head to Batuu.
Where and When Are We?
Ok, first things first — the Star Wars universe is HUGE with SO MANY different stories and plots taking place across thousands of years, so we’re just gonna break down the essentials for visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland and Disney World (unless YOU wanna be here for thousands of years 😉).
[NOTE: there are DEFINITELY some spoilers from ALL of the Star Wars films in here, but hey you’re the one looking for Star Wars cliff notes.]
When you enter Galaxy’s Edge you’re walking into Black Spire Outpost, a village on the planet of Batuu that lies on the very edge of known space. Black Spire Outpost is a haven for smugglers and merchants looking to stay off the radar.
Galaxy’s Edge Story Line
The story line of Galaxy’s Edge takes place after the events of The Last Jedi, or Episode 8 in the Star Wars saga, but before the yet-unnamed Episode 9 that will be released December 21, 2019. So, what does that mean?
You’re not gonna find many characters from the original trilogy; there’s a war going on that’s resulted in A LOT of casualties (we’re talking Game of Thrones level death counts). Luke and Han Solo are definitely gone and Leia…we’re not quite sure how that will pan out in the next film (R.I.P. Princess 😢). You will spot Chewbacca and R2-D2 along with some characters from the new trilogy, like Rey, Finn, BB-8, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren. You’ll also come across plenty of Stormtroopers and members of the First Order (the bad guys) and members of the Resistance (the good guys!).
What’s there to do around here?
Well, for starters, Black Spire Outpost is a marketplace — hope you brought your credit card (or Galactic Credits) because we’re goin’ shopping!
The Toydarian Toymaker Stall — run by Zebaka who is a Toydarian (yep, it’s a species of alien AND a very on-the-nose shop name) — will feature artisan-style toys, while Bina’s Creature Stall is where you can pick up a new pet. By the way, a Tauntaun is that white fuzzy lizard creature that kind of resembles a kangaroo. You can find it on the ice planet in Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back. And a Bantha is a buffalo-looking creature that produces everyone’s favorite — blue milk! Bonus points to anyone who knows the internal temperature of a Tauntaun 😉.
You’ll also find a droid depot, a clothing shop (so you can dress the part of a Star Wars aficionado), a place to build your own lightsaber and Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. You’ll actually get to meet Dok-Ondar (or an animatronic version of him) and barter for some of the items in his collection. This guy is connected and basically runs the black market on Batuu, so tread carefully.
Now, on to the food! You’re gonna find lots of galactic treats, including blue milk, in Galaxy’s Edge. The first stop on everyone’s list will likely be Oga’s Cantina. So, this isn’t the cantina featured in Star Wars: A New Hope and droids are allowed, but if you’ve seen one cantina you’ve seen ’em all! We don’t have a cantina band, but we do have a DJ! If you are a Star Wars and Disney nerd you might recognize DJ R-3X, originally known as RX-24 and a former character in Star Tours.
What do I need to know about Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run?
The Millennium Falcon is a ship with a lot of history; it did make the Kessel Run in slightly more than 12 parsecs (12 parsecs if you round down). A parsec, by the way, is an astronomical measure of distance equivalent to 19 trillion miles, and the Kessel Run is basically a difficult-to-navigate “spice”-trade route. The Falcon is most famously piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, who acquired it during the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story (the Han Solo origin story and prequel to the “original” trilogy starting with A New Hope). In the new trilogy, Rey uses the now abandoned Falcon to escape Jakku, the desolate planet she grew up on as an orphan.
After the Battle of Crait in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (the scene with all the ships kicking up red dust from the salt plains), the Millennium Falcon ends up at Black Spire Outpost after Chewbacca makes a deal with a character that fans of the Clone Wars series already know — Hondo Ohnaka.
This sassy space pirate, who has quite a history with Skywalker’s mentor Obi-wan Kenobi, is recruiting new members to help pilot the Millennium Falcon on a mission to transport some cargo. That’s right, you really get to pilot this famous ship! And with the non-traditional queue line, you’ll also be able to take in a round of Dejarik, a holographic chess game.
How about Rise of the Resistance?
Rise of the Resistance, opening with date-yet-to-be-announced “Phase 2” of Galaxy’s Edge, will bring that war we mentioned earlier front and center. The land of Galaxy’s Edge exists in the midst of a Galactic Civil War between the First Order and the Resistance and this ride drops you right in the action.
To explain our current bad guy line-up, let’s go back in the Star Wars timeline for some pre-Darth Vader recaps.
A long time ago in…well the same piece of space we’ve been talking about this entire article, the Galactic Republic ruled over a peaceful galaxy, which was governed by an elected Senate with the Jedi Knights serving as dogmatic mediators. During the events of the prequel trilogy (Episodes 1-3, Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker’s origin story) the Sith, followers of the “dark side” of the force, quietly gain power by manipulating corruption and chaos in the Senate to get the Sith Lord elected as Supreme Chancellor. Once in power, the dark side destroyed the Jedi Order and formed the Galactic Empire, which governs with fear and intimidation. At this point, the Jedi Order is nearly forgotten and any remaining Jedi are viewed as zealots. This brings us up to the events of the original trilogy and the film that started it all, A New Hope.
The original trilogy covers the birth of the Rebellion, the destruction of not one but two Death Stars (as well as the Galactic Empire), some family reunions and the establishment of the New Republic. Of course, the Empire isn’t completely gone and you guessed it — they’re planning another secret coup.
The remnants of the Empire are now calling themselves the First Order and by the end of The Last Jedi, they’re led by Kylo Ren who — in case you missed it — is Han Solo and Leia’s son and turned to the dark side after a serious misunderstanding with his mentor Luke Skywalker. So, we’ve got the militaristic First Order pitted up against the “new Rebellion,” now calling themselves The Resistance and both of them have arrived in Black Spire Outpost.
It’s worth noting that A LOT of other stuff happens in between the events of this seriously shortened recap — enough to fill 8 movies, 6 seasons of an animated TV show, and over 100 “George Lucas approved” books — but, how else are you gonna fit 3 generations of civil wars into a few paragraphs?
Back to Batuu — did we mention that you can play along?
It’s a good thing you just brushed up on all your Star Wars knowledge because YOU can be a part of the action!
To say this new land is going to be interactive is probably a huge understatement. Every Cast Member will be in character and merchandise may not come bearing a Disney logo. Every single detail of Galaxy’s Edge is meant to convince you that you’re no longer in Southern California or Central Florida, but rather on an alien planet in a far off galaxy. One familiar piece of technology will help you interact with this strange land — your smartphone.
Using a smartphone and Disney’s Play Parks app guests can interact with droids, media screens, and door panels; intercept coded transmissions; and translate Aurebesh (that runic Star Wars language). You’ll also be able to accept jobs and complete tasks to aid either the First Order or the Resistance. Oh, and we hope your mission on the Millennium Falcon went well because you might run into a character that heard about your bumpy landing on Batuu.
So, are you following the path of the Jedi or succumbing to the dark side of the force? You’ve only got a few months left to decide — Galaxy’s Edge opens in Disneyland May 31 and Walt Disney World August 29!
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