It takes an army of Imagineers… writers, artists, crafts people and more to build a planet the size of Batuu. But to build a land within a Disney Park that is solely about Star Wars, you’re also going to need merchandise. A lot of it.
Enter the merchandising wizards of the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, with an emphasis in products that also serve the experience… which in turn services the story of Star Wars. D23 hosted a string of panels that you can watch from the comfort of your own home, but if you simply don’t have the time, here’s a list of what we learned from Storytelling Through Merchandise with panelists Brad Scoeneberg, John Cody Hampton, and Tracie Alt.
Work on Merchandise Began in 2013
According to Brad Schoeneberg, he was among the first Merchandise Cast Members assigned to the portfolio as early as January 2013, over six years before Galaxy’s Edge would open to guests! It would be about six years before anyone could take a look behind the curtain of what the team cooked up during Star Wars Celebration Chicago in April of 2019. That’s a long time to keep a secret!
The Rogue One Influence
What makes the merchandise in Galaxy’s Edge so authentic? Extensive research was done on the products while working with both Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Imagineering to flesh out the Black Spire Marketplace. The team even had the opportunity to visit the set of Rogue One to see Jedha’s bustling marketplace, where getting up close with the costumes and props influenced a lot of the products found in Galaxy’s Edge today.
Lucasfilm Archives and Costumes
Dressing up Star Wars is a huge part of recreating the story of Star Wars, and Tracie Alt talked about bringing in guests of all levels, from hardcore fans to the casual fan, there is something for everyone. Costumes and accessories sold at Blackspire Outfitters are intended to be used in pieces, combination of, or a completed look based on your favorite character. The team was able to visit the Lucasfilm Archives to recreate the costumes as closely to the original as possible, down to the very patterns that we can’t physically see on screen.
Toys of the Galaxy
For the Toydarian Toymaker, John Cody Hampton explains the use of toys in the actual Star Wars films and television series that inspired what direction to take. From Luke Skywalker’s T-16 Skyhopper model all the way to the dolls and Dejarik seen in Rogue One, you can get your own version of it at the Toydarian Toymaker (with exception to the Skyhopper). The creation of these toys of course lead to the rest of the line up of plush toys and wooden dolls, instruments, and more.
The plush at Toydarian Toymaker were each created with different materials and made according to how the Toydarian Toymaker might have heard the stories about those characters.
No detail was too small in creating the toys. The Ewok Drum, for example, was made using a 3D scan of the original prop from Return of the Jedi.
Pet shops were spotted in marketplaces around the world, so the Creature Stall at Blackspire Marketplace, the wildest pet shop in the galaxy, is a nod to that. Creatures found in films and television can be found here in a much smaller take-home scale. The creature, Worrt, for example, found outside of Jabba’s Palace became one of the creature “pets” you can adopt. A 3D scan of the original puppet helped bring this creature to life.
More creatures will be joining the Creature Stall in the future, and coming in December is the Dianoga! First seen in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Brad talks about the multi-generational impact of Star Wars in creating artifacts for Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities: “…whether you came in with the Original Trilogy or the latest films or even through animation, there’s an artifact to be discovered by you at Galaxy’s Edge.”
“I think fans would really appreciate the level of research, the depths that we went to to try and capture every single detail. And when details didn’t exist because they weren’t needed on camera, we went back to the Lucasfilm story team and they helped us fill in the blanks.”
All of the jewelry sold at Dok-Ondar’s were recreated meticulously from the film props and some even using the original molds used during A New Hope.
New Lightsabers are Coming! But some will be Retired…
Legacy Lightsabers are a hit with guests and more are on the way! We’ve already seen the new Darth Tyranus and Ahsoka Tano lightsabers, as well as the announcement of Cal Kestis’ lightsaber from Jedi Fallen Order – but there will be more Legacy Lightsabers arriving to Dok-Ondar’s in the near future. But as more sabers arrive, many older models will retire, so keep checking Dok-Ondar’s for updates on that.
Holocrons had to be created from Scratch
For the Jedi and Sith Holocrons, only renderings were first seen in Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, so building Holocrons to take home were a new challenge since there wasn’t a real-world prop reference to base it on. In the ‘exploded’ illustrations below, it’s still missing batteries, lights, and complex gearings that bring the Holocron to life.
Holocrons Feature New and Unique Star Wars Storytelling
The Holocrons come to life with the help of the Kyber Crystals, which unlock exclusive and NEW Star Wars content never before seen or heard prior. The wisdom of the Kyber Crystals were created with the help of the Star Wars Story Team and the voice talent (Ashley Eckstein reprises her role of Ahsoka Tano for the White Kyber Crystals).
Saavi’s Workshop is the Longest Running Idea for Galaxy’s Edge Merchandise
Constructing your own Lightsaber has always been a part of the Jedi or Sith experience and the team wanted their guests to experience the same. The very same Kyber Crystals used in the Holocrons carry over to the building of these unique Lightsabers, and with the help of references seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a breakdown was created.
Four different themes were created for each type of lightsaber: Peace and Justice; Power and Control; Elemental Nature; and Protection and Defense. We were given a look at early concepts of all four:
There’s a Hidden Lightsaber built into the logos
Some of them are quite obvious… some not as much.
You can find out more from the panel with the full panel below! Meanwhile, you can get merchandise at Galaxy’s Edge East at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, at the Star Wars Trading Post at Disney Springs. West Coast can obtain some merchandise from Star Wars Trading Post at Downtown Disney District, and some limited items can be purchased (when available) at ShopDisney.com.