Galaxy's Edge takes place on the remote world of Batuu, located around the borders of the Outer Rim and Wild Space, sometime in the one-year gap between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
The largest settlement on the planet Batuu, Black Spire Outpost is an infamous stop for traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space. The remote village was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but the prominence of the outpost has been bypassed with the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer less attention, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders, and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe-haven for others intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order. Widely known for the petrified remains of its once-towering ancient trees, the spires now stand guard across the river valleys and plains and have long captured the imagination of travelers to this planet. To the first settlers, these petrified spires became more than just landmarks; they became the heart of the outpost itself.
In the wake of the events of the Battle of Crait, both the Resistance and the First Order have arrived onto the planet, seeking a mysterious treasure that could turn the tide of the war. The Resistance has carved out a hideout in a series of ancient ruins on the far side of Black Spire Outpost while the 709th "Red Fury" Legion of the First Order has established a military presence in town. Meanwhile, pirate Hondo Ohnaka has established "Ohnaka Transport Solutions" as a facade for a smuggling operation that is partnered with Chewbacca and utilizing the Millennium Falcon for gunrunning operations for the Resistance among other activities.
While sharing the same attractions and overall layout, the Disneyland version of Galaxy's Edge differs from its Disney's Hollywood Studios version in several ways, often subtle.
Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge is accessible from three different entrances: A path from Critter Country leading into the Resistance's forest, a tunnel across from Big Thunder Mountain leading into the middle of Black Spire Outpost towards Droid Depot, and a path closer to the Fantasyland/Frontierland border leading to the First Order's headquarters.
The statue at the end of the marketplace street at Disneyland is larger and dome-shaped. By contrast, the equivalent at Hollywood Studios is smaller and is square-shaped.
The paint schemes throughout the Disneyland version are much more tan and neutrally colored in contrast to a more saturated color scheme employed at Hollywood Studios.
For a viewpoint from the Smugglers Run queue, one of the spires is painted a bright orange to compliment a view of the spire peak of Big Thunder Mountain.
The Hollywood Studios version features the wreck of DJ R-3X’s ship, a detail absent at Disneyland.
The Resistance's forest base path is narrower than Florida, with the X-Wing and A-Wings being placed next to each other while Hollywood Studios has them parked on different sides of the path.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge was publicly announced without a name by The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger at the D23 Expo on August 15, 2015. According to Iger, it will be "occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens, and droids … the attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology." Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, stated that the land "will introduce you to a Star Wars planet you've never seen before — a gateway planet located on the outer rim, full of places and characters familiar and not so familiar."
In an interview for the winter 2015 issue of the official Disney fan club publication D23, Trowbridge stated: "[O]ur intent is to make it feel as if you just walked into one of the movies... Bringing Star Wars to life in the physical world gives us the opportunity to play with a whole bunch of things we've never done before... to really engage all of the senses. What does that street feel like? What does that animal smell like? What does blue milk taste like?"
Iger announced in March 2016 that construction on both versions of the land would begin in April 2016. Construction began at both locations on April 14, 2016. In February 2017, Iger stated that the lands are scheduled to open in 2019 at both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios.
Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, revealed at the 2017 D23 Expo that the themed lands would be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. He also announced that Disneyland's version will open before the one at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Walt Disney Imagineering designed the project in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, with Imagineer Scott Trowbridge supervising the project, Asa Kalama and Chris Beatty serving as executive creative directors, and Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo and designer Doug Chiang of Industrial Light & Magic involved as consultants. Together, the team decided to set the lands on a new planet, Batuu, located within the Outer Rim of the Unknown Regions. Described as a "remote frontier outpost", the unnamed planet has not previously appeared in other media, although it has existed within canon "for thousands and thousands of years." The team chose to create a newly designed world instead of using an existing planet from the films such as Tatooine or Hoth, because those locations evoked a pre-existing familiarity with guests, with Trowbridge explaining, "We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations, but this time you could be in that story that required us to go to a new place."
The development team drew inspiration from real-world locations, including as Istanbul and Morocco, and traveled there to study the architecture, culture, and weather. The team also cited Ralph McQuarrie's concept art for the original Star Wars trilogy as a basis for the aesthetic look of the land. The timeline is set after the events of Return of the Jedi, in the years leading up to the sequel trilogy, and will depict the rising presence of both the First Order and the Resistance. The Star Wars-themed land will have two new attractions: one will allow riders to control the Millennium Falcon, and the other will place guests into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Concept art depicts a full-size Millennium Falcon situated among alien buildings built into tall cliffs. There will also be a version of a cantina. Batuu is designed for guests to begin their own narrative. The Millennium Falcon attraction will feature a "customized secret mission".
During development, more elements were planned for the land, including roaming droids, bounty hunters who would come after guests who did poorly on Milennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run, impromptu stunt shows involving Rey and stormtroopers, an outdoor attraction where guests ride Banthas on an elevated track (described as a spiritual successor to the PeopleMover), and a dinner theater. However, future CEO Bob Chapek (head of parks at the time), viewed Galaxy's Edge not as an immersive experience that would rival The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, but a mere marketing tool for aggressively advertising Star Wars merchandise. As a result, the land was hit with major budget cuts, and a good portion of the remaining budget went towards elaborately-themed gift shops, with the two major E-ticket attractions allowed to go forward to draw in guests.
Upon opening, Galaxy's Edge was criticized for being sparse on entertainment and heavy on merchandising, and many came to view Chapek as another Paul Pressler (who was Disneyland president in the 1990s and infamously slashed budgets everywhere while turning the park into a glorified shopping mall).
Star Wars - Galaxy Edge attraction is currently not available in Tokyo Disney Resort, Shanghai Disneyland, & Hong Kong Disneyland, because of the lack of popularity of the Star Wars brand in Asia in general, according to Youtube user, Disney Parks Addict.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at night (Disneyland)
Map of Black Spire Outpost (as Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney Parks)