Star Wars Galaxy's Edge is the incredible land located in both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The land's setting is the planet Batuu, a galactic outpost full of scum and villainy, and houses both Star Wars rides Rise of the Resistance and Smuggler's Run. Also in the Star Wars land are a cantina, a build your own lightsaber or droid shop, and many restaurants and shops all themed to the saga. Well, one part of the saga more than others, as the Disney era of Star Wars is well represented. All eras can be found in the land through winks and nods, but the majority is sequel area themed. In a new interview with WDW Radio, Walt Disney World VP Dan Cockerell teased that the plans for Star Wars Galaxy's Edge were almost vastly different, including centering the land around the planet Tatooine.
Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Almost Destroyed Hollywood Studios
Under the first plans, Disney's Hollywood Studios would have been drastically altered: "The Indiana Jones theater, that was going to be the heart of the Star Wars land…the Mos Eisley Cantina, that was going to be right across from Star Tours, and we had all kinds of great concepts with that. We'd gotten way down the path on art drawings, we hadn't gone into architectural drawings or anything." It also sounds like that would have majorly overhauled Echo Lake, the body of water that sits in the center of the park. That would have been a disaster, especially for those Disney park-goers who already felt Star Wars was infringing on their turf.
As to why they abandoned the plans for a more OT focused park, Cockerell says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was the one who questioned that decision: "They said, 'Well, yesterday Bob Iger met with Kathleen Kennedy', who as a lot people may know was sort of George Lucas' protege and headed up Lucasfilm. And they had a conversation. They had a meeting. And Kathleen Kennedy, her point of view was, there are way more Disney Star Wars stories ahead of us than behind us. So we really should think about do we want to build a Tatooine, and build what all the fifty-somethings remember Star Wars is or do we want to build something else which is going to appeal to all the upcoming generations who are going to know the new stories. And that day Tatooine was killed at the Studios. And all of those concepts were put on a shelf and I'm sure they are sitting in a vault, and I'm sure they're going be shown someday about what that land looked like and what the attractions were going to be."
I understand her logic, but I will ask: why not everything? While ripping apart Hollywood Studios would have been a terrible idea, Galaxy's Edge is set back so far from the rest of the park that when you walk in, it feels like you left for another planet. My one complaint with the land is that it doesn't do enough to pay homage to all eras of Star Wars. I am not saying that Tatooine should have been the setting at all. I love that they created a new planet for the land. But it does feel a little…strange that the presence of prequel and OT trilogies in the land are a bit lacking, especially from how much was cut from the land that we were shown was coming when it was announced. It is a cash cow for the parks, so you cannot tell me they couldn't afford it, or that it would be a bad thing to do. And I don't mean just things to buy either. It is so big; they could have easily done a bit more to cater to fans of all eras of Star Wars storytelling in significant ways.