The Walt Disney Company has mentioned over and over again (and seems proud of the fact) that when guests are surveyed, character interactions in the parks are always among the top-rated aspects of a Disney vacation. Whether it’s seeing your favorite characters in a parade, show or for a meet and greet, this is always a delight for many Disney fans. That’s why it’s so baffling when we hear of Disney projects where classic characters won’t be found. (I’m looking at you early-years Epcot and Disney California Adventure.)
The same can be said about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The Star Wars universe is full of memorable and iconic characters that fans would love to have the opportunity to interact with or see inhabiting the highly-detailed land. But because Galaxy’s Edge was created with a specific timeline in mind, that leaves many characters that simply can’t exist in this world.
Characters like Darth Vader, Han Solo and Padme Amidala are all dead in the land’s place in the timeline, which takes place after “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and before “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” This also means that the highly-adored Grogu (aka The Child/Baby Yoda) from “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ doesn’t fit into the land.
That’s why, lately, there seems to be a lot of rumors swirling about the possibility of a new timeline—or perhaps the exclusion of one altogether—for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I understand and appreciate the desire to make a fully immersive and story-driven land that sticks to strict continuity rules, but I don’t think the general public cares unless they are die-hard Star Wars fans.
The Imagineers know this; I’m not saying anything revolutionary. I have to assume that by them knowing this, the timeline for Galaxy’s Edge is somewhat flexible. Details in the land could be changed, new characters could be introduced, and even the film portion of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run could be swapped out. The most difficult updates would be for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
You can find an interesting article from Nerdist describing how they think the timeline of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge could change throughout the year in order to experience all of the various timelines. They even suggest that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance could be changed in a reasonably simple manner to make sense within the different versions. The benefit in doing this for Disney is that it would encourage repeat visitors. Who wouldn’t want to experience the land in all of its different iterations? I like this idea as well, but let’s take it a step further.
Why go through the hassle of swapping out one land when you already have two to play with? With nearly identical versions of the planet of Batuu existing in both Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, why not set each of them in a different timeline? This would not only ease the time and cost of needing to make changes if they did want to offer multiple timelines, but would also encourage coast-to-coast vacations for the ultimate Disney and Star Wars fan. Plus, we can’t forget that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser (aka the Star Wars hotel) is coming to Walt Disney World and would likely make it even more difficult to swap out timelines in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Another possibility is getting rid of any sort of timeline altogether and just letting Star Wars characters exist amongst each other. As a person who appreciates continuity, I hate this idea, but I also recognize its benefits. It’s not any different than seeing Ariel with her mermaid fin when we all know she turns into a human at the end of the movie, but I digress.
Continuity barely exists in Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and theme park fans seem to forgive that easily. I don’t think the average guest would mind this at all. As much as the Imagineers love the highly-detailed and continuity-driven story, the overall company is most interested in pleasing as many guests as possible and getting the Grogu plush (and other merchandise) flying off store shelves.
Let’s not forget that we still have another Star Wars land coming to Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. This is part of a major expansion to the resort, but there has been no mention of the new Star Wars land being a full-blown Galaxy’s Edge. This might be the perfect location to have more of a “celebration of Star Wars” type feel to it instead of sticking to a strict story.
At the very least, I think it would be easy enough to play around with the story and time of Galaxy’s Edge during hard-ticketed special events. Not only Star Wars events, but I would love to see “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” featured in the land if Disneyland were to do another Disneyland After Dark: ’80s Nite, and “The Phantom Menace” if they were to do another ’90s Nite. With hard-ticket events, the options seem almost endless.
The Walt Disney Company and Imagineering have a lot of options as to what they can do with these lands. Ultimately, they will most likely want to please as many guests as possible. Therefore, I would expect to see some big story changes coming to Black Spire Outpost at a time not so far, far away.
What would you like to see happen with the land? Would you like it to stick to a specific timeline or have it more open-ended? If you do want it more open-ended, what if that meant a Jar Jar Binks meet-and-greet was part of it – would that change your mind? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
If you have any theme park topics you would like to hear my opinion on, let me know in the comments. You might just see it pop up in a future DePaoli on DeParks.
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com.