‘Star Wars’ Celebration 2017: What we learned from this year’s event – NOLA.com
Disney’s plans to bolster the “Star Wars” presence at its theme parks aren’t new. In fact, construction is well under way. But while the new “Star Wars” lands at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., aren’t expected to open until 2019, key details were unveiled at this year’s “Star Wars” Celebration.
The keyword here: immersion, as the goal is to make park guests really feel as if they have walked into the world of “Star Wars.” For starters, they will be able to control the Millennium Falcon as one of the attractions. They can also plan on running into familiar characters, sampling blue milk and encountering other established elements from the “Star Wars” universe.
What they shouldn’t expect is a stroll through the Mos Eisley cantina or any other such familiar place. The “Star Wars” theme park experience won’t be set in any locations from the movies. Rather, it will be an all-new locale.
“We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations,” Walt Disney Imagineer executive Scott Trowbridge said as part of an hourlong panel on the theme park plans. “It’s a new planet. It’s a new place.”
Fan interactivity will also be ramped up: Visitors will be able to declare themselves part of the First Order, or — for the Boba Fett fans out there — they can decide to be bounty hunters. What’s more, decisions they make in one part of the park will have consequences when they encounter characters in other areas.
In addition to a focus on authenticity — with Lucasfilm being brought in as a partner help to get the details right — the new “Star Wars” lands will also be big, according to Chris Beatty, executive creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering. “This project is the most ambitious project I’ve ever seen in the history of Walt Disney Imagineering,” he said. “It is on a scale that’s unprecedented.”