Walt Disney Imagineering Briefly Considered Different Versions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has become a popular spot at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But thanks to a recent interview with Walt Disney Imagineering’s portfolio executives, Scott Trowbridge and Robin Reardon, we now know that there was a chance that each park’s land could have been very different.
The Orange County Register‘s Brady MacDonald reported that Trowbridge and Reardon spoke about the land’s development as part of a case study webcast by the Themed Entertainment Association.
According to Trowbridge, the plan from the beginning was to create lands inspired by the iconic sci-fi film series for both parks. But unlike Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, they wanted something that simultaneously built on locations and characters from the movies, but also an independent concept, as he explained: “Early on, you can imagine the conversations we had about Tatooine, Hoth or Dagobah — all these classic places that we have seen in Star Wars storytelling in the past. But for us, from the very beginning, we said, ‘No we don’t want to do that.’”
Rather than follow the paths of existing characters, they wanted a place where guests could find their own journey, as he later added: “We wanted to build a place that felt like it was the perfect stepping off point for your adventure. A place rife with opportunity, rife with possibility.” Thus the plans eventually led to the planet Batuu, a world not yet explored in the existing Star Wars media.
Then discussion turned to creating different versions of the land for both coasts, but to keep things practical, the plan was quickly scrapped, according to Trowbridge: “We did have a moment where we considered building a different project in each location, but it was a very short moment. We pretty quickly realized that the right thing to do was for us to build sister versions of the same place on each coast.” Reardon also discussed this, saying, “We knew that it was going to be more inefficient to design two different things. We built two of everything at the same time.”
Thus, Black Spire Outpost and the attractions it holds would come to both parks. The land opened at Disneyland in May 2019, followed by Disney’s Hollywood Studios that August.
Their plan seems to have worked. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run both earned TEA Thea Awards for outstanding achievement, and are loved by fans in California, Florida, and across the galaxy.