Far from an extensive list, we have a look today at just SOME of the most fascinating things we learned in the new THE ART OF STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE book that dropped this week!
Author Amy Ratcliffe has amassed an incomparable collection of stories and visual imagery used in production of the massive themed expansion built concurrently at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the knowledge here runs deep!
It’s no secret that plans change and evolve, especially at Disney Parks. Still, it was surprising to learn of the sheer volume of things considered for this impressive land. Although the book does not always share why ideas were not seen through to completion, several ideas are shared spanning both blue-sky concepts (early thought-starter ideas) and decided paths which would ultimately be left behind.
Here’s a sampling of some our favorite nixed ideas shared in THE ART OF STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE!
1. Therri transport attraction
Attractions are always the big tickets for a new land and while we did get TWO fantastic options with the impressive Rise of the Resistance (codenamed “Alcatraz” during development) and the exciting Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (codenamed “Big Bird”), there was a strong concept for a third attraction that added a little more (wild) life to the land.
A gamekeeper’s stables with “living” creatures from the Star Wars universe including wampas (and even a rancor pit) would have been situated roughly where the current Black Spire Station garage is today. Guests would also come face to face with a massive, gentle, lumbering creature known as a therri. These wooly beasts, similar to banthas, could have been the basis for a gentle transportation attraction that would have ventured through the land (into the Resistance base and back) with guests sitting in special sort of howdahs positioned on the animal’s back.
Bob Chapek shown here at the D23 Expo in front of concept art featuring a creature with human riders aboard.
2. Other attraction concepts
On the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction, guests accept a mission from Hondo Ohnaka and embark on an interactive journey. Sans the Millennium Falcon, an alternate version of this concept could have seen guests in small vessels similar to Stormtrooper transports we’ve seen recently in THE MANDALORIAN with guests working (either for or working as) bounty hunters on a special mission.
Another attraction concept that was hinted that seemingly never went past initial ideation was one in which guests embarked on a high-speed speeder bike chase.
This speeder bike is featured from a scene in THE MANDALORIAN. © Disney / Lucasfilm. All rights reserved.
3. The Kalikori Club restaurant and lounge
The Kalikori Club was the grand concept for a two-level restaurant that would have boasted a spice den lounge as part of its offerings. Situated within an old bathhouse, the restaurant would have been owned by a twi’lek who named her business after the precious familial heirlooms of her people. The colorfully-skinned alien (similar to Hera from STAR WARS REBELS) was initially conceived as main crime boss of the Black Spire Outpost although the plans for an ambitious restaurant were shifted.
Bob Chapek shown here at the D23 Expo in front of concept art showcasing a possible lounge or dinner show.
4. Animatronic Bartender
Eventually, Oga Garra would become the main crime boss of the land and instead of an expansive restaurant, she would run a gritty watering hole. During the concepting of her location, Imagineers considered having the cantina almost hidden as part of the outpost underground and for the inside there were concepts for alien bartenders that would sling drinks. Both costumed performers as well as animatronic figures were considered before capacity and demand would doom the endeavor.
An animatronic bartender was not the only animated figure to be cut from the plans. Perhaps one of the most well-known elements missing from the galactic theme park expansion was the presence of autonomous droids which we got to see during the 2017 D23 Expo. Alas, it would seem roaming astromech were not the droids Disney was looking for as part of the STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE experience. On the upside, it does look like they may well be featured in the upcoming STAR WARS: GALACTIC STARCRUISER.
Oga Garra. © Disney / Lucasfilm. All rights reserved.
5. Smuggler’s Alley
Another part of Batuu that guests cannot explore today is an area that was concepted as Smuggler’s Alley. The seedy dark under belly of the outpost would be host to a hive of scum and villainy which may have included a secret entrance to Oga’s at one point and also other shops.
© Disney / Lucasfilm. All rights reserved.
6. Explorer’s Store
There’s not a lot to experience on the street opposite of Oga’s Cantina but it seems another shopping location was primed for this area. Today, notices are posted for budding explorers to find new adventures in and around the outpost but this isn’t just part of Imagineering’s deep layers of story within the land. This space would have had direct tie into to an explorer’s store that would have been filed with helmets, blasters, and other equipment to plus up your gear cache. Imagineers jokingly referred to it as a sort of REI.
7. Shopping and Makeovers
Tons of other stalls and shopping options were considered before the final concepts were set. In the book you’ll find concepts for stalls slinging candy, veggies, coffee, tea, smoothies, even pottery!
© Disney / Lucasfilm. All rights reserved.
8. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique X Star Wars
One interesting shopping option that did not come to fruition was an expanded role for the tailor shop. Currently one of the smallest locations in the outpost, this shop was originally envisioned as a more expansive clothing store that included not just the latest Batuuan fashions but also a section for jewelry and makeup plus an entire section dedicated to Resistance makeovers where guests young and old could fashion disguises to help them carry out their covert missions.
More to Explore
9. Alien Villagers
The premise of all the people who you see working in the Black Spire Outpost is that they are all residents of the planet. But unusual residents with decidedly more interactive purpose were also conceived. Concept art in the book reveals a wide and varied cast of interesting characters including portly Mayor Baksan and a host of suspicious looking folk including characters named K-akk, Gra’la, Shadow, Sandala, and Shark amongst other unnamed sketches.
Of course, what makes STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE so interesting aren’t the things that are not there but the things that ARE and while it’s fun to consider all the woulda-coulda-shouldas, it’s still an incredibly fascinating achievement. Plus, a good idea never dies (especially at Disney), so it’s not entirely inconceivable that any of these ideas could always be resurrected later.
THE ART OF STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE is a fantastic book not just for the stories and anecdotes but most especially for the pages of gorgeous artwork within. You can see more of our thoughts on the book in our official review here.
See it for Yourself
THE ART OF STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE is available where books are sold starting April 27, 2021.
BUY IT NOW: The book is available for purchase from Amazon