On the cusp of Star Wars Day (May the 4th), Disneyland in California reopened Friday (April 30) and there is no doubt that "Star Wars" fans will be flocking to the Galaxy's Edge land in the Magic Kingdom when the rope drops. One new book aims to capture the magic of the immersive land, which can be found both in California and at Walt Disney World in Florida.
"The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" (Abrams Books, 2021), by author Amy Ratcliffe, is a lavish new art book released April 27 that reveals the Disney Imagineers' creative process in bringing life to Galaxy's Edge, the elaborate recreation of a vibrant planetary trade center in Batuu, that has been one of the hot spots at Disneyland since it officially opened back in 2019. This 256-page volume provides an illuminating look at all the conceptual magic required to breathe life into the land, plus secrets behind many of the planned shops and attractions that have been abandoned due to budget restraints or evolving layouts.
"I'm a big fan of both "Star Wars" and Disney Parks so getting to take such a deep dive into the design of Galaxy's Edge was a thrill," Ratcliffe told Space.com in an interview. "I interviewed over 20 people from Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm, and I absolutely geeked out talking to them and digging back through their memories and work.
"I've covered Galaxy's Edge quite a bit in my job as an entertainment reporter, including an intensive multi-day press preview before the land opened at Disneyland. But even with that, I learned a number of new things," Ratcliffe said. "One particularly cool fact is how Walt Disney Imagineering took Imagineers to Pinewood Studios in London to work with the production design team that had recently wrapped on 'Rogue One.'"
According to Ratcliffe, everyone she spoke to for this book, no matter their role in helping birth Galaxy's Edge, had nothing but enthusiasm and passion for the project.
"We looked back on work that happened over five years ago in some cases, but everyone recalled their thought processes and their excitement about working in the "Star Wars" galaxy. I think readers will not only get an idea of the immense amount of work that went into developing such an ambitious land, but they'll also see how much care and thoughtfulness went into it," she said.
As far as one favorite artwork from the book's 700 images, Ratcliffe admits it's a tough choice.
"So I'm going to cheat and go with a body of concept art concentrated on a general area: all the pieces and ideas for the Resistance area," she said. "The organization has inhabited a forest outside of Black Spire Outpost on Batuu and it's away from the bustle and feels quieter. I like being outside and hiking in the woods so I enjoyed seeing the lush settings they imagined for the Resistance base and picturing myself there."
"The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" is available now on Amazon.
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Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.