Maybe it isn't so far away after all...
This weekend gave the Walt Disney World theme park enthusiasts a lot to be excited about: Soarin’ Around the World, new details about the world of Pandora, new and expanded experiences coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Skipper Canteen, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, sans the expected name change announcement, looking forward to 25 acres of new entertainment between Toy Story and Star Wars. There are a lot of juicy tidbits to dig into with all of this, but let’s venture over to highly anticipated, still amazing that it’s going to be reality Star Wars land.
Star Wars land is actually a pair of sibling lands that are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. I stop short of calling them twins or, more appropriately, clones, as there will likely be some different structures to how the lands are set up. Regardless, this announcement answers a lot of questions and provides just enough information to be fodder for rumor mills from now until we get further details confirmed. Let’s hope the distance between the announcement this weekend at the D23 Expo and our rendezvous with the Millennium Falcon is shorter than Han’s express trip through the Kessel Run. Until then, however, there are a plethora of things to daydream about and consider. To my mind, there is one particular detail revealed this weekend shows there is reason to believe that this land is going to be amazing and that the attention to detail is being thoroughly examined.
The otherworldly spaceport that the land will inhabit is on a planet on the edge of wild space, a planet with no name that has never been visited by Star Wars before. So, why would a no name planet in a galaxy filled with wonderful, established planets be a sign that we’re on the right track? Think of the planets as attractions in Walt Disney World, there are people who love Big Thunder Mountain (Tatooine) or the Jungle Cruise (Endor), and that’s to be expected. What about the person whose absolute favorite attraction is the Maharajah Jungle Trek (Vortex), because believe me every attraction has someone who believes it is the quintessential attraction and their personal favorite.
If Disney had announced the spaceport on a planet already established through the films, books, comics, or television shows two things would have happened. One, you would have fans bemoaning that their favorite planet isn’t getting the respect it deserves and that whatever planet was chosen is getting more attention than it’s due. Let the Comment Wars begin. Two, if it was an established planet, then the choice of location on the planet, and the details that thread together the story of that planet would have been under every guest’s microscope.
Now, you’re talking to the man who has always considered his copy of The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons to be one of the greatest Star Wars resources ever, regardless of the fact that it was released in 1998. You would think that not seeing one of those planets would hurt, but the fact that we get to discover a new planet together, and that it will be a tactile experience, is thrilling for me. The imagineers get to instill this planet with all the things that make Star Wars incredible, and do it with the wit, flair, and attention to detail Imagineering is known for. There was blue milk in the cantina concept art for goodness sakes!
We have years to pour over the scant details we’ll be provided between this past weekend’s announcement and when the land officially opens. Aerial photographs, peaks between construction walls, brief attraction descriptions, and more concept art will come as time goes on. For now, however, we get to dream of an undiscovered planet far, far away, a planet filled with new surprises, creatures, and stories, that we’re all racing towards together. How exciting is that?