For years, the cinematic wonder of the Star Wars galaxy has captured imaginations, transporting viewers off this rock and hurtling into adventure through hyperspace. It’s a universe unlike any other, filled with planets and creatures that are at once completely alien and somehow totally familiar.
But to make the galaxy out of brick and mortar inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where fans could step onto the dusty surface of a real Star Wars planet for the first time, artists and designers couldn’t entirely rely on the same movie magic that brings those worlds to life on screen. The project is the culmination of Lucasfilm VP and Executive Creative Director Doug Chiang’s lifelong love of the saga and individual artistic expertise. “Of all the Star Wars experiences, whether it’s a video game or a film or a themed attraction, this is one of the most challenging and the most fulfilling for me,” he says. “It reminds me of when I first saw Star Wars when I was 15. When I saw it in the cinema, it was amazing. But I really wanted to go there and visit that place. And now we can.”
The truth is, from the beginning, Star Wars storytelling has been grounded in reality, an attribute that helped the design team for the new themed-land now open at Disneyland® Resort and opening August 29 at Walt Disney World® Resort. “We try to give it that layer of reality, that history,” Chiang adds. “Who has been living here? What have they done here?”
“It really just looks so realistic,” says Kirstin Makela, Walt Disney Imagineering’s art director on the project. “We want our guests to feel like they’re in a new environment that also feels familiar to the world of Star Wars, but gives them a sense of adventure that they can actually make this world their own.”
However, making something feel real in a movie and making something realistic that holds up to the naked eye and all five senses are two very different things.
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