A Galaxy Not So Far Away

Here’s the thing: I am a huge Star Wars fan. Like, even just saying “huge fan” doesn’t really scratch the surface of how much I love that saga. I’ve watched the movies and the cartoons (and I sat through the Holiday Special), I’ve read the books, and I wear the clothing. My home is littered with merchandise. I have a playlist that encompasses every soundtrack in story order. I named one of my cats Kit, after Jedi Master Kit Fisto. I convinced my wife that we should get married on May the 4th, so that our anniversary would be “Star Wars Day”. I have a Star Wars themed Instagram feed (galactic_rep). Yet, even all of that doesn’t really do my love of Star Wars proper justice.

So yeah, it’s safe to say that I’m a wee bit excited for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

If you’re a Disney parks or a Star Wars fan (or, like me, you’re both) you’ve probably been keeping up on the news as it’s released. You’ve likely seen concept art and actual photos, maybe you’ve watched some videos. So it’s not my intention in this post to rehash any of the information that’s already come out. I’m not going to go on about how excited I am to fly the Millennium Falcon in Smuggler’s Run, or to experience the Rise of the Resistance in what’s being called the most ambitious Disney attraction ever, because let’s be honest: we all are.

Instead, I’m going to use this space to chat about some of the weird random things about Galaxy’s Edge that I’m geeking out about. Those things that a casual fan may not find interesting, but as a hardcore “ZOMGSTARWARS” type person I simply can’t wait to experience. So, without further ado:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

(Sorry. I’ve always wanted to do that)

I think it’s safe to say that the cantina scene in A New Hope wouldn’t have sucked us into that wonderful world if it hadn’t been populated with all those weird aliens. Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi wouldn’t have been as interesting if it were just a bunch of humans hanging around. It’s these aliens that bring life to this far away galaxy, and as such I’ve always had an odd fascination with them.

One of my favorites, for some inexplicable reason, is Momaw Nadon. You know, that hammerhead creature (an Ithorian, from the planet of Ithor) that popped up for a split second in the aforementioned cantina scene. I’m sure you all know who I’m talking about, right?

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My love of obscure Star Wars characters, like Momaw Nadon here, has become a sort of “thing” over the years. The more obscure, the better. 

Yeah, I don’t fully understand it either, but it’s become part running joke and part just a real interest in the creatures that have filled the periphery of the saga. In Galaxy’s Edge, one of the things that I am giddily excited about, is that you’ll get to actually talk to an Ithorian! His name is Dok Ondar, and he runs a shop in Black Spire Outpost. From what I’ve gathered, there’ll be an animatronic figure of Dok in the shop and when purchasing an item you (or the cast member cashier, it’s a little unclear at the moment) will have to converse with him to determine how much he’s willing to accept for the item. This is something that many people might find weird, or maybe just mildly entertaining, but I am full-on thrilled for the chance to see Dok Ondar up close and maybe even interact with him. I mean, Ithorians have two mouths and they talk in stereo! How cool is that?

It’s not just Dok Ondar that I’m looking forward to seeing, it’s really all of the aliens that will hopefully be a part of the land. Even at Star Wars Weekends a few years back (for our honeymoon), I was drawn to meet & greets with lesser known characters: Asajj Ventress, Kit Fisto, etc. So the fact that I’ll be able to interact with the populace of Black Spire Outpost, and not necessarily just the famous characters that everyone knows and loves, definitely has my interest piqued.

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I loved meeting Asajj Ventress at Star Wars Weekends. Not only is she a fave of mine, but the performer playing her here was spot on with the character. If this sort of interaction is what we can expect in Galaxy’s Edge, consider me beyond excited to meet everyone there.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I have a lot of Star Wars merchandise. Action figures, bed sheets, giant Tsum Tsums, and even a print hanging over the kitchen table. It’s possible, I suppose, that the last thing I need is yet more Star Wars stuff (a sentiment that I’m guessing that my wife would agree with). However, I’m pretty excited about what I’ll be able to buy in Galaxy’s Edge. From everything that I’ve seen so far, it’s not going to be the usual assortment of shirts and toys, but rather items that fit within the story of this “outer rim” spaceport. Toys that look handcrafted, clothing that would fit within the Star Wars universe, and the like. Above and beyond all of that, though, there are two particular things that I want to own (and should have likely started saving two years ago to afford):

The first is a lightsaber. At a shop called Savi & Son Salvage, guests will be able to pick parts with which to assemble their unique saber in what’s being touted as a true immersive experience rather than just picking parts from bins. They’ll even be able to choose the kyber crystal that powers it and affects the color of the blade. Employees of the shop known as Gatherers, who are in tune with the Force, will be on hand to assist with the construction of the saber and help you choose which one is right for you based on the different Jedi and Sith disciplines. A lightsaber will run about $110 for the hilt, and $50 for the blade, but can you really put a price on such an ancient and elegant weapon? As someone who has spent countless hours waving sticks around and making lightsaber noises, I don’t think so. (For the record, I’ve been informed by my editor/wife that I’m wrong and that that we actually can put a price on it, which is considerably lower than $160). Truth be told, I don’t even much need the lightsaber, but I kind of want to go through the experience itself. I wonder if you can do that but then not buy anything?

Even more exciting to me than a lightsaber, though, is the one thing that I really want to get at Black Spire Outpost: a droid. At the Droid Depot shop, guests will be able to build their own remote control droid from a variety of parts. When constructing a droid you’ll even choose a “personality” chip — First Order, Resistance, Smuggler, etc — and then that droid will react to the rest of Galaxy’s Edge based on that personality. For example, if you have a Resistance droid and you wander into a section of Black Spire that’s controlled by the First Order, you may hear your little friend making some nervous noises. As much as I want to build my own droid, though… there are pre-built ones for sale too and one is a DJ Rex that’s also a bluetooth speaker. I think what I’m saying here is that I need a lot of money so that I can just fill my home with droids. Honestly, as cool as the idea as a personally constructed lightsaber is, I’m way more excited about building my own droid and giving it a smuggler personality so it can come around Galaxy’s Edge with me and make neat droid noises that are probably sarcastic remarks (it will be made by me, after all). Really, the only issue that I see with all of this is the risk of spending too much time trying to build my perfect droid companion. In video games that offer character creation options, I can spend literally hours designing an avatar (sometimes for longer than I actually play the game itself), so I can see myself losing a fair bit of time here.

Fun fact: my wife just told me that I’m not allowed to have charging privileges on my MagicBand when we go to Galaxy’s Edge. That’s probably wise.

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We have a running joke that I’ve put George Lucas’s kids through college with all of the Star Wars merch that I’ve bought. Well, I joke about it. My wife mostly just shakes her head and sobs softly…

Speaking of DJ Rex, I’m thrilled that I’ll get to see the former Star Tours pilot again in his new role. It actually sounds like there are going to be just a ton of references and nods to the entire Star Wars saga peppered throughout Galaxy’s Edge, so I expect to be spending a rather insane amount of my time seeking them out and then giggling happily when I find one. As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in the Parks looking for hidden film references already (I detailed some of them here), the fact that I’ll be able to look around and find Star Wars “Easter eggs” is very thrilling. Plus, I’ll get to point every single one out to my wife. Or to random strangers after she ditches me. Or to my custom droid companion. He appreciates me…

Let’s talk a bit about the Play Disney Parks app. So far I haven’t really used it a lot, finding it entertaining enough but not generally worth the battery usage. With the stuff they’re planning for Galaxy’s Edge, though, I expect that’ll change. Allow me to direct your attention to this teaser:

Yes, I want to do all of the things that they say I’ll be able to do in this video. I mean, I usually don’t keep my head buried in my phone when I’m at the parks, but I’m absolutely going to be using the “datapad” as a part of my Star Wars adventure. I already try to translate all of the Aurebesh (the written language used in Star Wars, but I’m sure you knew that already) that I see around, and this app will make that even easier. Also, some of the stuff I’ve translated around the Launch Bay and such is pretty entertaining, so I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of messages the Imagineers have incorporated into Black Spire Outpost.

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This wall, found in the cantina area of the Star Wars Launch Bay in Hollywood Studios, says “Binary Sunset Drink Specials, Twice the Suns Half the Price”

Mostly, I figure that I’ll need to bring a couple of spare batteries to keep my phone juiced up. I hope that I don’t run into anybody or anything while I’m trying to look at everything and also at my phone. Or get bumped into by all of the other nerds doing the exact same thing.

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If I were a gran, like Ree-Yees from Return of the Jedi here, I could look at my phone while also absorbing the wonder of Galaxy’s Edge.

OK, I know that I said earlier that I wasn’t going to go on about how excited I am to fly the Millennium Falcon, but… I’m super excited to fly the Millennium Falcon! It’s always been my favorite ship in the Star Wars universe, and I’ve always enjoyed the immersion of Mission: SPACE (despite it not being Horizons), so the melding of these things into one attraction is probably going to blow my geeky mind. Plus, the fact that you can get different outcomes on your mission, which affects how the denizens of Black Spire Outpost Heck react to you, means that I’ll need to ride it multiple times (I have, for the record, attempted to crash the ship in Mission: SPACE, but it doesn’t let you). I expect that I might get a little misty-eyed seeing the ship right there in front of me. I’m sure it’ll just be the humidity or pollen or something, and not me crying like a baby because this iconic ship is really right there in front of me. Yeah, that’s it…

Obviously, by the way, I’m very excited to finally try blue milk. Also ronto steak seared under a starship engine, and all of the other odd and exotic space foods that’ll be offered. I’ll have to get some green milk too, though I hope that I don’t need to actually milk some weird alien sea cow thing to get it. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t, mind you, just that I hope that I don’t need to.

Ever since I was a little Star Wars nerdling, I’ve just wanted to immerse myself in that galaxy. I wanted to be a Jedi, a pilot, a smuggler, and a bounty hunter (sometimes all at once). I spent countless hours of my youth spent playing out these fantasies, imagining a large climbable rock near my house as my ship and a stick as a lightsaber, and creating vast stories in my room with action figures. So the very idea that I’ll soon be able to really play in this world — interacting with aliens, flying a ship, building a droid — is beyond exciting. You can bet that I have every intention of someday doing the Star Wars immersive resort experience thing that they’ve talked about, too. I’ll be reading all of the novels and comics coming out that further the story of Black Spire Outpost, too, to whet my appetite until I finally get to travel to Batuu and see it all for myself.

After decades of dreaming about what it would be like to live in Star Wars, Disney is finally giving me the opportunity to play in a galaxy far, far away. The biggest problem that I see will be returning to this boring, Ithorian-less one.

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