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Exclusive Peek: Soar Inside 'The Art Of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge'

The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
(Image credit: Abram Books)

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.

The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. $37 at Amazon
Voyage to Batuu from Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in this stunning art book behind the immersive amusement park.View Deal

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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

“When we were trying to figure out a setting for the Millennium Falcon, I thought of Episode IV when we finally saw the Falcon in Docking Bay 94. We wanted to try to capture that spirit without repeating it exactly. So we wanted to set the Falcon, stage it in a scene, surround it by this beautiful hangar, and then contrast that with the rocky spires of Black Spire. This is an early idea of trying to incorporate that. " -- Doug Chiang, Lucasfilm lead art director for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)
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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

A cantina bar concept from for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge by Erik Tiemens. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)
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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

“Our ideas for the cantina space were actually quite ambitious in the beginning. We had this huge fish tank, and the bartender and owner of this cantina was this creature who lived inside this fishbowl. It was going to be an animatronic in the water. It would’ve been fantastic, but the practicality of doing that was just too immense. I mean, for one thing the fabrication of this big glass alone. That on top of trying to figure out the technology of actually animating or puppeteering this character within that was going to be just as challenging. It was one of those sad moments where it was a great idea; we just didn’t have the technology or the resources to do it at this time.” - Doug Chiang. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)
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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

A new layout for Alcatraz at Galaxy's Edge. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)
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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

“At the very beginning, we wanted to make it look like a souk—maybe something that you see in Asia. They’ve got lots of things that hang in the air or from the ceiling. Everything is very organic. You can’t really see a structure in it, but slowly you can make sense of the place. But the first take got to be really messy.” - Ric Lim. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)
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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

Petrified tree studies by Erik Tiemens for Batuu. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)
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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

A Bartender design for Galaxy's Edge by concept artist Andrew Domachowski. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)
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Concept art for the Star Wars land Galaxy's Edge and Disney theme parks from "The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" by Abrams Books.

A sketch of a garrison village on Batuu by Erik Tiemens. (Image credit: Abrams Books/Disney/Lucasfilm)

"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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