ORLANDO — The Disney Parks mega-project known as Star Wars Land is well underway both here and in Anaheim, California. And the Mouse House is ready to let us in on a few of its secrets.
In a panel at Star Wars Celebration on Saturday, Disney Imagineers and Lucasfilm luminaries revealed tantalizing new details on a theme park that sounds more elaborate and unusual than any yet built on Earth.
In fact, we should really stop calling Star Wars Land a theme park — it's more of an immersive role-playing experience set on a specific frontier planet in that galaxy far, far away.
Set to open in 2019, it's a place where your actions will have consequences. For example, you'll be able to go on a "ride" where you pilot the Millennium Falcon — but if you do a bad job, a certain hairy co-pilot might have some angry words for you when you visit a nearby cantina.
Lucasfilm isn't ready to say what the supposed Outer Rim planet is called just yet; just that it is located on its official galactic atlas, has a rich and ancient history, a Morrocco-like look and feel, and it's not anywhere we've seen in the movies so far.
Here's how the official Disney Parks blog puts it:
The remote village was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but the prominence of the outpost has been bypassed with the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer less attention, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe-haven for others intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order.
You'll have opportunities to work for the Resistance (yay) or to collaborate with the First Order (boo). There will be droids galore, including BB-8, according to the concept art. There will be lightsabers that look far more realistic than the cheap plastic variety. And multiple AT-ATs will tower over the village.
Disney Imagineers also revealed that they're already working on upgrading the pre-existing Star Wars ride, Star Tours, based on The Last Jedi.
Specifically, Disneyland and Disney World visitors will get to fly into the mineral world of Crait — the one from the Last Jedi trailer with the salt flats and those strange new Resistance ships that leave trails of red smoke.
In short, it seems no expense is being spared to capitalize on that $4 billion investment Disney made in buying Lucasfilm back in 2012. And rather than do something cheesy — a Hoth land, a Tatooine land — the entertainment giant really gets that sense of totally realistic immersion in a fantasy world that draws so many fans to Star Wars.
And judging from the audience response here at Celebration, Star Wars Land will make its money back in no time at all.
This post was first published on Mashable UK