Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in two days on May 31, 2019, in Anaheim and Disney’s newest theme park looks destined to be a home run for any Star Wars fan looking to further immerse themselves in their favorite galaxy far, far away. But the question of exactly how interactive the park is, and how much visitors can opt-in to some narrative adventure is still a little bit opaque.
However, we may have some minor details, so read on.
We know the experience and interactions planned for visitors of Galaxy’s Edge will differ from the general park. Most of your time will be spent at the Black Spire Outpost. But you won’t get a photo-op with Darth Vader or a high-five from a Stormtrooper. More likely, you’ll be asked about your allegiance to the First Order and don’t expect them to tell you where the bathrooms are. In Galaxy’s Edge, characters will act in a more in-universe kind of way, meaning that if you attract the attention of a bounty hunter, expect the interaction to go exactly as it would at the Mos Eisley Cantina. That is, you might get a rude hand gesture.
Want to buy a lightsaber while you’re there? Good luck. Visitors will be required to provide a password to get access to a saber guild. But how do you get a password? And, once you build your lightsaber, can you use it to battle a sith lord?
Walking around a ship hanger is all well and good, but what about visitors who want to insert themselves into the narrative of Star Wars? What opportunities will Galaxy’s Edge provide them?
Speaking to the LA Times, head “Imagineer” Scott Trowbridge had this to say about how far the park will push narrative interactivity:
“If you want to sit back and just watch the world go by that’s also fine, but I think one of the things that we know about our guests is they want more and more to lean into these stories.
They want to get closer to these characters; they want to participate more and not just be a spectator… and so more and more we’re giving our guests opportunities to do just that.”
Trowbridge confirms that guests will indeed be able to opt-in to game-like experiences that fall somewhere between simplistic choose-your-own-adventure activities and live-action role playing, but that most of that will be managed on their devices.
“Most of Galaxy’s Edge’s overt game activities will be embedded in the Play Disney Parks mobile app, which will include many exploratory quests, including a land-wide game for control of Galaxy’s Edge.“
The truth is that the engineers and planners of Galaxy’s Edge are using the new park as a test case to determine how hard they can push playable content. So while it isn’t exactly Westworld just yet, how people respond to the interactive storytelling aspects of the park will determine whether they grow or recede. If people like it and want more, they’ll get it. If Disney finds that people just want to take the Millennium Falcon, buy a pretzel and take a photo with Chewie, well, the customer is king.
As Trowbridge admits, “We won’t know until we open it.”
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