Disney Parks Imagineers and Lucasfilm Share Details of Their Collaboration on Star Wars-Themed Lands

At a panel discussion today at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando entitled Star Wars and Disney Parks: A Galaxy in the Making, creative minds from Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Imagineering discussed their unique partnership and shared additional details about the new galactic lands being created at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. Everyone in the room got to experience the excitement and commitment this team is bringing to this project.

Here’s a look at a video shared at today’s event which gives some insight into this incredible collaboration.

Star Wars Land Video

The team shared exciting new details about the story behind this mysterious destination somewhere on the Outer Rim — lying on the edge of the Unknown Regions. The remote village was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but the prominence of the outpost has been bypassed with the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer less attention, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe-haven for others intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order.

Star Wars-Themed Lands at Disney Parks

Unusual characters from across the galaxy have landed here, preferring the “no questions asked” environment as well as easy access to exotic supplies and an abundant supply of ready rogues looking to join a crew for their next adventure.

As Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced last month, Star Wars-themed lands are scheduled to open in 2019. There will be more exciting updates to share as work progresses on each of these lands.

Next Star Wars Celebration to be in 2019

Recently Star Wars Celebration announced that there will not be an event in 2018, but will return in 2019.

The official statement states:

While we might be in the thick of getting ready for Star Wars Celebration Orlando, it’s never too early to start thinking about when the next Celebration will be. 

Celebration is the official, definitive Star Wars event, with entertainment, interactive experiences and exclusives that can only be found at this Lucasfilm production. They are the ultimate community fan gathering as well, and friends will want to start planning to be together again to commemorate everyone’s favorite saga. The next official Celebration is slated for a location and date soon-to-be announced, in 2019.

Stay tuned to www.starwarscelebration.com for the latest news on Celebration Orlando programming, and for news on the next Celebration!

There is speculation that the reason that they are skipping 2018 is financial. With new Star Wars movies premiering every year, plus new seasons of Star Wars Rebels every fall, Celebration is getting bigger and better. “Bigger and better” generally indicates “more expensive.” It also means a need for more time and manpower to make the event a success. Because of the increased pace of movies and television shows being released, a year may no longer be long enough for Lucasfilm and ReedPOP – the company that plans and coordinates each Star Wars Celebration – to pull a convention together.

With no Celebration in 2018, it’s unknown where fans will get big Star Wars announcements like new movies and trailers. The D23 Expo doesn’t appear to be an option since following the Expo in July of 2017 the next D23 Expo won’t be until 2019. San Diego Comic Con may be the likely option.  Star Wars had a large presence there until Lucasfilm started relying more on Celebrations and D23 to break news. With neither Star Wars Celebration nor D23 happening in 2018, San Diego Comic Con may see a return of big Star Wars panels.

If this year’s Celebration follows the precedent, Lucasfilm will announce Celebration 2019’s location at the end of the event in April.

Star Wars Celebration to Welcome Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson

Huge news from a galaxy far, far away! Some very special guests will be appearing onstage at Star WarsCelebration in Orlando, coming up this April… namely, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson! We’ve been told there’ll be a ton of big surprises—and other special guests on that can’t-miss Last Jedi panel on Friday, April 14—to keep the excitement (not to mention speculation!) bubbling throughout the weekend.

Kathleen and Rian join the already-announced Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)—who’ll all be signing in the Star WarsCelebration Autograph Hall.

Heading down to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center for all the Star Wars fun? Visit StarWarsCelebration.com for tickets—and check back as we get closer to the event for guest updates, queuing info, and wristband details.

Significant ‘Star Wars’ Presence Planned for Disney Theme Parks

Star Wars Logo

From Variety – 

The Walt Disney Company plans for “a far greater ‘Star Wars’ presence” in its theme parks, company chief Bob Iger said Tuesday.

The first look at new attractions based on the sci-fi franchise, beyond “Star Tours” that currently operates at several of its parks, will be revealed next year, Iger said during a conference call with analysts to discuss Disney’s record third quarter results.

The move comes as Disney is readying to release a new “Star Wars” film in theaters starting Dec. 18, 2015, that J.J. Abrams is currently directing.

Lucasfilm and Disney also will host Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim on April 16-19, while “Star Wars” is expected to have a major presence at the D23 Expo, Aug. 14-16, again from the Anaheim Convention Center.

Disney opted not to inject more “Star Wars” into its parks until its $4 billion acquisition of the company was complete. Deal also gives it the Indiana Jones franchise, already represented by a ride and stunt show at Disney’s resorts.

During the call, Iger said when Disney now decides to build new attractions, “the likelihood of their success is greater” when they’re branded. “When we grow ‘Star Wars” presence, which we will do significantly, you will see better bets being made that will pay off for us than were made in the past,” adding that leveraging the collection of popular franchises and properties that the company owns for rides and experiences will deliver “better returns than we saw in the past.”

Disney has enjoyed a considerable uptick in attendance after the introduction of new rides and themed lands designed around its popular film properties. The “Cars”-themed land at California Adventure, which was part of a $1 billion overhaul of that park, has been a major draw to that park since it opened; an expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom is now complete and has guests lining up for hours to ride the “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” ride in Orlando.

“Toy Story” themed lands are now also attracting guests at Disney resorts in Hong Kong and Paris, while “Avatar” rides are being built inside Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, also in Orlando.

“These are attractions that pull people from I’m going to go to a Disney park someday to I want to go this year,” said Disney chief financial officer Jay Rasulo, during the call.

Although ESPN is a major moneymaker for Disney overall, the company has a limited presence inside the company’s parks. It does operate several ESPN Zone restaurants at its Downtown Disney entertainment complexes.

“In general, the experience people want is more of a storytelling experience, not necessarily a sports experience,” Iger said. “The presence (of ESPN at the parks) doesn’t seem to be that obvious.”

When asked if Disney was looking to broker new licensing deals with other franchise owners for attractions the way it did with James Cameron’s “Avatar,” Iger dismissed the notion, citing properties owned by Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm,

“We don’t have to license from third parties,” he said. “We own them all.”