If the rumors are true, and let’s hope they are, then Disney Parks are preparing to make a change that many Star Wars fans are going to love.
According to WDW Pro, change is coming to a galaxy far, far away as the Galaxy’s Edge is looking to go out with the new and in with the newer. By that, we mean Rey and Kylo Ren will be retired as park characters, and Mando, Ahsoka, and Baby Yoda will be taking their place. Battle lines have been drawn.
For some reference, Galaxy’s Edge opened in California’s Disneyland on May 29, 2019, and in Disney World in August of that same year. Many Disney execs expected a massive uptick in attendance but what they found instead was that attendance actually dropped 3 percent during the quarter Galaxy’s Edge premiered. These same execs blamed the attendance drop on visitor’s waiting out the expected rush for the massively and overly hyped Star Wars land. Disneyland also managed visitor entry into Galaxy’s Edge for the first few weeks of opening in an effort to have visitors enjoy a higher level of satisfaction. The bottom line, so far, is that Galaxy’s Edge is not the runaway success Disney was hoping for and now they are trying to turn that around. Enter Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, The Mandalorian, and maybe, hopefully, a little bit of Luke Skywalker.
The question that always surrounded the creation of Galaxy’s Edge, since it was a Star Wars property, was where are the true Star Wars characters? If you’re going to build a ride centered around the famed Millennium Falcon, then where are the original players? For many fans, Star Wars is Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, C3PO, and R2D2. How do you have a Star Wars land without the Star Wars stars? If another rumor is to be believed, it was at Kathleen Kennedy’s behest that then Disney CEO Bob Iger decided to follow her lead and move away from original plans which would have seen Galaxy’s Edge encompass all things prequel, original, and sequel Star Wars related. But Kennedy reportedly wanted to focus on the sequel trilogy. Fans were not unanimously positive about the trilogy, and Galaxy’s Edge, while a visual treat, lacks the heart of Star Wars.
Favreau and Filoni are trying their best to rectify all the wrongs they, as well as the many fans, feel went wrong with the sequel trilogy. They are slowly creating a Marvel Cinematic Universe-type world for Star Wars and if the initial reaction to their runaway hit The Mandalorian is indicative of a Favreau/Filoni-led Star Wars future, well then, the future looks good for that galaxy far, far away.
Back to WDW Pro and the rumors that are gaining traction. They state that according to a source very close to the Walt Disney World management, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro has begun the process of determining the logistics and eventual cost for transitioning both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios (at Disney World) to the very popular The Mandalorian timeline.
Obviously, how big they plan on going with this is still to be determined but what exactly could they be looking at? Would it just be window dressing? A removal of Kylo and Rey characters that walk Galaxy’s Edge and replacing them with The Mandalorian characters? Would D’Amaro and company look to bring Galaxy’s Edge back to its originally conceived design and merge more of the original Star Wars characters within Galaxy’s Edge?
What about the rides? How does Disney change Rise of the Resistance? Is Disney willing to invest even more money to make that happen? They know you have to spend money to make money but in the current COVID landscape, that is easier said than done. Of course, it may be easier to make changes to the Millennium Falcon by finally including Han Solo and Chewie and maybe even Lando, but to make the changes necessary to Rise of the Resistance to have it fall in line with The Mandalorian timeline may be a costly venture at this point.
So, we have two camps. The Kathleen Kennedy Lucasfilm side that has bought into her “vision” and the Favreau/Filoni side that has given fans what they want and more with the creation of The Mandalorian. Hopefully, the rumors are true, and fans will soon see Mando, Ahsoka, Cara Dune, Boba Fett, Grogu, and maybe, just possibly, Luke and friends walking around Galaxy’s Edge. It looks like the Force may finally be with us.