Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Initially Based on Original Trilogy, Imagineer Confirms
Apparently, during the initial planning stages Galaxy’s Edge was set to feature Tatooine and possibly Endor, Hoth or other planets from the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
That is, until Disney CEO Bob Iger saw the dailies for The Force Awakens and decided he wanted Imagineering to switch over to Disney-created the sequel trilogy.
The interview with J. Daniel Jenkins was conducted on the August 13, 2019 episode of the Dreamfinders podcast, and Jenkins seemingly confirms what many fans have felt to be true around the 40 minute mark…
SO THERE WAS THAT EXPECTATION (OF THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY) WHICH YOU KNOW CERTAINLY I WOULD SAY IS PROBABLY EQUAL WITH THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE GUESTS FOR HARRY POTTER.
SO YOU HAVE THOSE EXPECTATIONS, YOU HAVE THE PHYSICAL O LIMITATIONS THAT WE HAD TO DEAL WITH OF GETTING THAT PARK READY FOR SUCK LARGE EXPANSIONS, AS TOY STORY LAND AND STAR WARS. AND THEN ON TOP OF THE STORY LINE, THE ORIGINAL CONCEPTS FOR STAR WARS LAND WAS NOT GOING TO BE BATUU. IT WAS GOING TO BE EITHER ONE OR TWO KNOWN PLANETS WITHIN THE STAR WARS ECOSPHERE IF YOU WILL.
(…) SO THEY HAD BEEN WORKING AND I HAD BEEN WORKING ON STAR WARS LAND AND TOY STORY LAND SIMULTANEOUSLY FOR A YEAR AND BOB IGER BASICALLY SAID HE HAD SEEN SOME OF THE EARLY DAILIES FROM THE SEQUELS AND HE SAID “NO WE’VE GOT TO USE THE THREE NEW MOVIES’ STORY LINE. WE’RE NOT GOING TO BE USING THE OLDER 6 MOVIES. JUST BECAUSE HE SAW HOW GOOD THEY WERE GOING TO BE.
The entire interview is fascinating. Most fans and casual park goers certainly did expect to be transported into the movies they grew up with, like Universal has done with Harry Potter.
Why didn’t they go with well known Star Wars material?
blooloop.com published the following about the Galaxy’s Edge approach to Imagineering in April 2019:
“The answer really is we know those places and we know those stories that happen there and we know that we’re not in them,” said Walt Disney Imagineering portfolio creative executive Scott Trowbridge.
Those two core ideas framed all the decisions made by Lucasfilm and Imagineering throughout the development of Galaxy’s Edge. One: We’re going to a planet we’ve never seen before. Two: You’re the hero of this Star Wars story.
Fandom.com published the following in May 2019:
As Walt Disney Imagineering’s Scott Trowbridge explained, they knew early on that they wanted to build a new location and that the intention was that Galaxy’s Edge was “Not a memory of someone else’s Star Wars story,” but rather a brand new story each guest can directly feel they are a part of, making them “An active participant in the world of Star Wars.”
But their non-familiar approach was predicted to do poorly.
Generation X grew up on Star Wars. But fans won’t find Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Darth Vader when they visit Galaxy’s Edge. Disney has decided to exclude almost all of this franchise’s beloved characters from the land. If fans hated seeing their Han and Luke getting killed off in the new Star Wars movies, at least they got to spend a little time with them on screen in those productions. They will be absent in Galaxy’s Edge, which instead creates new storylines unconnected to the original trilogy that made Star Wars, well, Star Wars.
Galaxy’s Edge might turn out to be the biggest bait and switch in theme park history, as thousands of fans spend huge amounts of money to visit the Star Wars of their youth, only to discover that Disney has created an unrelated land that is, in many ways, “Star Wars” in name only. Imagine the social media backlash when that word gets out.
Just as Galaxy’s Edge will not feature the most popular Star Wars characters, it will not feature any iconic Star Wars locations, either. No Death Star. No Tatooine. No Coruscant. Instead, Galaxy’s Edge will be set in the Black Spire Outpost on the up-until-now never-heard-of planet of Batuu.
Thanks to Critical Equation for the tip.