“Star Wars” fans have a lot to look forward to in 2019. “The Mandalorian” debuts on Disney+ in November and “The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters the following month. But for those who want to feel like they’ve truly been transported to a certain galaxy far, far away, nothing will rival the immersive experience of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Billed as the largest expansion ever at Disney’s theme parks, visitors who descend on Galaxy’s Edge can fly the Millennium Falcon, grab a drink at Olga’s Cantina and rub shoulders with Hondo Ohnaka, a pirate first introduced in the “Clone Wars” animated series.
Galaxy’s Edge opens on May 31 at Disneyland in California and on August 29 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. CNN Business got an exclusive first look at the new theme land at Disneyland last month.
Scott Trowbridge, the creative force behind Galaxy’s Edge, rendezvoused with us at its space port, Black Spire Outpost, to talk about what guests can expect when they show up.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Watch CNN Business’ interview with Scott in the video above.
So where are we?
We are in the heart of the space port at Black Spire Outpost, which is the kind of the center of this thriving, bustling, remote trading port on the planet Batuu.
It’s been said that this is the most immersive land that Disney’s ever done. Explain to me what that means.
I think when we say immersive, I think that means it’s big. It has scale. It doesn’t just reveal itself all to you in one view. You actually have to explore it a little bit. There are things to discover. It’s also immersive because it has that attention to detail, and that attention to authenticity.
Why do you think that’s important?
If everything looks like a very shallow facade, and there’s no depth behind things, there’s no ability for you to believe that there’s an activity over there and someone lives in that apartment and that door goes someplace.
We want the experience to feel deep. We want the place to feel deep, so that your relationship with it can also have that kind of depth.
And that bleeds into the whole story of “Star Wars” itself.
The events that happen here in Black Spire Outpost are true in the world of “Star Wars.” They’re not isolated from the rest of “Star Wars” storytelling. The things that happen here are true throughout this entire kind of canon of “Star Wars” storytelling.
Okay, so I pilot the Millenium Falcon in Smuggler’s Run, and let’s say I lose my shipment. What would happen to me in the rest of this land?
You might sidle up to the bar, and the bartender at the cantina might lean over and say, “Hey, word on the street is Hondo’s not too happy with you. I’d watch out if I were you, because I think your name’s on the list of the local bounty hunter.”
For those guests who want to play “Star Wars” with us, we have ways. Using their own personal technology, if you opt in, and want to play with us, you don’t have to, there’s no obligation, but there’s an invitation to come and play “Star Wars” with us.
Is there anything you can tell me about the “Star Wars” hotel?
I can tell you it’s not a hotel.
Okay, what is it?
Think of that as a sister project in Florida. At that experience we’re going to invite you to spend a couple days in a “Star Wars” story — in a focused “Star Wars” story that takes place over a couple of days. More on that to come.
What is the most innovative technology you have in this land?
We have an experience here called Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance that’s going to open later this year. And for the first time, we’re actually making an attraction concept that I think is as epic in scope and scale as “Star Wars” is. So it’s the biggest attraction we’ve ever built. It utilizes multiple, what we might call ride systems, all working together to create one experience.
Are you feeling a little bit of pressure?
We know we have to get it right for the fans. That’s been something we felt from day one. People have been dreaming about stepping into this world for 40 years. There’s a lot of high expectations about paying off 40 years of dreaming. On day one we knew we had to address that, over-deliver against those expectations. I hope we have.
How’s the experience in Galaxy’s Edge different than anywhere else in the Disney parks?
[Disneyland] is the park that Walt Disney himself oversaw personally and built. He created this. You can kind of think of it as the world’s first virtual reality. He created these environments that you could walk into, believe that you were in these places, whether it was some tropical jungle or the Wild West, or some kind of futuristic world of tomorrow. He built these places, invited you to step into them, meet the characters who lived there and pretend.
I think what we’ve built with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is so far, the best example, the most, the largest and the most detailed example of what Walt [Disney] set out to do with the original Disneyland, that we’ve done yet to date.
How is this place going to tell the “Star Wars” story for the next 50 years?
This trading port is really a stepping off point for all kinds of new stories and we have so many stories we want to tell.
That’s one of the great things about “Star Wars,” there will never be an end to the number of “Star Wars” stories that we can tell.