Baby Yoda & Mandalorian Characters Coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Disney announced that new characters are coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. This post covers dates & details of the new additions, plus our commentary about how this will improve the land and why Walt Disney World is being left out.
September 11, 2022 Update: Jon Favreau appeared on stage with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro during the “A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products” presentation at D23 Expo 2022. They were joined by the Mandalorian and Grogu, who will begin appearing at Disneyland in November 2022.
This is a developing story. More details will be shared as soon as they’re revealed. For now, here’s what we know about the other Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge characters that have already started appearing in the park.
Imagineers also shared exciting new developments about Star Wars at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The big development is the addition of new characters in California. Here’s what Scott Trowbridge had to say about how the storytelling of Galaxy’s Edge will evolve with these additions…
“Since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in 2019, Star Wars storytelling has experienced a galactic expansion to include many new characters and stories across a wide range of settings. Now, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is likewise expanding the stories guests can encounter when visiting,” shared Trowbridge.
“Having been designed from the outset to connect with a broad range of Star Wars storytelling, Black Spire Outpost has played a role in many of these stories stretching over thousands of years and while, up to now, we have mostly shared those story connections through media and publishing, we will soon give visitors to Batuu an opportunity to connect with those fan-favorite stories with the immersive detail and authenticity that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was designed to deliver.”
Walt Disney Imagineering is committed to the long history of Batuu and the collection of characters who inhabit the outpost. This includes legacy characters, original characters, and new and future characters from the ever-expanding galaxy of Star Wars storytelling.
Trowbridge added this, which I found interesting: “While we as visitors may be able to experience different stories throughout Star Wars history, the characters on Batuu can not. They will remain in their specific story and timeline and won’t intersect with other characters or stories that would not be appropriate for them.”
To that end, the legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand will soon stake a claim in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. Visitors may find themselves encountering these two attempting to remain in the shadows around Black Spire Outpost, starting May 28, 2022.
Some of you also may be watching Boba Fett reinvent himself on the Disney+ series, “The Book of Boba Fett,” alongside Fennec Shand, who is clever, capable, and cunning. The duo is full of surprises as they navigate the galaxy’s underworld on the sands of Tatooine and now we will be able to share an untold part of their story that takes them to the planet Batuu and Black Spire Outpost, a destination long familiar with bounty hunters and even more colorful characters.
Din Djarin (also known as the Mandalorian) and Grogu (also known as “Baby Yoda”) will likewise journey to Batuu and appear in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. The journey of the Din Djarin and Baby Yoda can be seen in the first two seasons of “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ (also seen above in PhotoPass Magic Shot form at Walt Disney World).
No date has been set for the debut of the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda walkaround characters in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. No information was provided as to if or when these characters will appear at Walt Disney World.
As people who enjoy fun and adorable critters, we’re totally on board with Baby Yoda (officially Grogu, for people who take Star Wars seriously), the Mandalorian, Boba Fett, and Fennec Shand appearing in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. We actually discussed exactly this (well, the Mandalorian characters) in our recent post: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Needs to Break the Rules.
Suffice to say, this alone will go a long way to address our core complaints, many of which could also be rectified by simply adding many more characters to inhabit the land. (Something that we’ve yet to really see since both Walt Disney World and Disneyland dropped physically-distanced characters.)
One thing that I thought was notable about Scott Trowbridge’s announcement was the lines that visitors may be able to experience different stories throughout Star Wars history, but the characters on Batuu can not. “They will remain in their specific story and timeline and won’t intersect with other characters or stories that would not be appropriate for them.”
To my knowledge, this isn’t relevant to any of the character additions that were just announced. Both of the series on Disney+ are only set a couple of decades before Batuu, so there’s nothing inherently at odds with them appearing in the land’s current timeline. This statement seems more relevant for future changes.
The clear implication–reinforced with multiple references to characters, including legacy characters–is that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will no longer be bound to a specific timeline, but the characters inhabiting it will. This wouldn’t be anything new; character integrity has always been a big deal for Disney.
This would mean that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge could theoretically be one time period in the morning and a different one in the evening, or even different timelines in different areas of the land. So long as the characters themselves don’t break continuity, there’s wiggle room for what the land itself can accommodate, at least, in theory.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Imagineering will juggle multiple timelines simultaneously throughout the day, week, or even year on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It could simply be nudging open the door for switching things up in the future to keep the land fresh and encourage repeat visits.
It could be laying the groundwork for something that may or may not happen years from now, so fans can’t claim “gotcha” with Disney or Lucasfilm firmly committing to a timeline for Batuu itself. (That also seems unlikely–Trowbridge’s quotes feel both deliberate and intentionally injected with a sense of immediacy.)
It’ll be interesting to see what happens on that front, and how the physical components of the land (e.g. attractions, shops, dining, etc.) play into this timeline continuity–or don’t.
Trowbridge’s statement raises plenty of questions, and it’s unlikely we’ll get answers anytime soon. Although, D23 Expo is only a few months away and a character-driven ‘timeline refresh’ of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge would be cost-effective and efficient.
As for why Disneyland is getting these characters and not Walt Disney World, there are a couple of potential explanations. The first is that all of these characters are coming out of a Disney+ marketing budget, and Disneyland is choosing to take advantage of that.
The addition of these characters being a Disney+ synergy play shouldn’t surprise anyone. Scott Trowbridge is a Portfolio Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, and yet he plugged Disney+ multiple times in the announcement. That’s about as coincidental as the reclusive Nicolas Cage “randomly” appearing on a bunch of late night talk shows right when the Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was released.
It’s also nothing new for the company to use its theme parks to promote its latest movies. Back in the 1990s, this was done with full parades for pretty much every animated film. More recently, it has happened with meet & greets, dance parties, projection shows/tags, and extended previews.
The quality of these varies and does whether they fit naturally or feel contrived, but the point is that synergy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Walt Disney World and Disneyland have both benefited tremendously from it, and could continue to do so in the current climate with the company fixated on its Disney+ streaming service. (Personally, I’m anxiously awaiting the introduction of the real-life Disney+ goats at Disneyland.)
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s not uncommon for Walt Disney World to decline these promotional characters and other offerings, even when the Florida parks doesn’t have to foot any of the bill. The rumored explanations I’ve heard for Walt Disney World turning down these “free” additions range from logistics to guest disappointment when they inevitably disappear. (I’m not saying these are good excuses–they aren’t–just that they’re what I’ve heard.)
The main exception to this the characters who have recently appeared in Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure. Many Marvel characters cannot appear in Walt Disney World.
Regardless, there’s absolutely a reason why so many new characters appear first (or only) at Disneyland and never make their way to Walt Disney World.
If you’ve been watching announcements in the last several months, you’ve likely seen a lot of this. Many characters from recent animated films have appeared at Disneyland in meet & greet form, and at Walt Disney World in PhotoPass Magic Shot form.
Another potential explanation is that Walt Disney Imagineering is based in Glendale, California and it’s easier for Trowbridge and company to drop into Disneyland to monitor the new meet & greets and make changes on the fly.
Normally, this wouldn’t strike me as a plausible explanation for a character appearing at Disneyland and not at Walt Disney World (it would be the marketing budget excuse), but Imagineering and Lucasfilm are both incredibly protective of land and character integrity for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they want this to be an incredibly controlled experiment before rolling it out in Florida.
Ultimately, this is great news for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. You know what…it’s good news for the land at Walt Disney World, too. Even if Baby Yoda and his homies don’t immediately appear at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they will eventually. No matter what the initial intent, this is too big to contain in California. These characters will be all over social media, with guest demand and satisfaction scores inevitably making the decision for Disney to introduce these characters at Walt Disney World. This is the Way.
Beyond that, this news signals that Imagineering and Lucasfilm are still tinkering with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and the land isn’t viewed as a “finished product.” That’s not altogether unsurprising, as there were credible rumors about additions and changes way back in early 2020, but those fizzled out entirely in March of that year. Between the MagicBand+ bounty hunter game and this character news, we have a first look at some of the fruits of those plans. Here’s hoping that more is on the horizon, ideally announced later this year at the D23 Expo. We’ll keep you posted, so stay tuned!
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Do you think Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge should break its own rules or stick to the fixed timeline and story? Would you like to see the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda in the land? What about Darth Vader and other original trilogy characters? Think Galaxy’s Edge should focus on fun, canon, or a mix of both? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
The theme park I went to as a kid had a gunfight between the sheriff and an outlaw every afternoon. It livened things up. Doesn’t have to be like that but some type of character show or drama in the afternoon would add to the environment.
As a huge Disney fan and a HUGE Star Wars fan, I loved Batuu but felt it was mostly lifeless. Like a spaceship graveyard. The rides were amazing and even the queues were cool, but outside walking around? It desperately needs shows, or a parade, or SOMETHING. I agree with a poster above who suggested Jedi Training move there.
I do understand that you don’t want to scare people with Storm Troopers dragging off Jedi recruiters or something in the street, but a street show of Jedi trying to recruit us all, perhaps ending with a report that Storm Troopers are coming and they have to run – that would be worth it.
Also, some music. It desperately needs a score – the whole land needs to start playing Star Wars music on repeat. There’s a lot of it, surely they could do that.
Having character meetups near interesting-looking existing spaceships and other backgrounds would also work well to liven things up, perhaps more cheaply than a show – perhaps quicker to arrange too. I do NOT care if the person I’m lining up to meet is in the “right” timeline. It could even be funny – if a kid says to Darth Vader, “Aren’t you dead?” he could have rejoiners like, “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” or just hiss and say, “Who dared tell you such a thing?!” IT WOULD BE FUN. Anyone who walked off after meeting Darth Vader, of all people, and complained that it wasn’t the right timeline, is truly missing the idea of fun.
Perhaps impromptu stunt shows in the overhead catwalks? 😉
I don’t think Batuu feels lifeless or like a spaceship graveyard, but I do think it could feel more alive and inhabited. It did briefly when the lands first opened.
Otherwise, agreed entirely.
All I can really say is finally. I love the thematic integrity of Batuu but as previously discussed there are a ton of ways to keep that and put more to do in the land. This is a good step forward, and I hope they follow it up with more and more as their shows prove successful.
However, one consideration that Disney World has that Disneyland doesn’t is the Galactic Starcruiser. While I want Disney to ‘be fair to Florida’ with this and I want to see these characters there for my September trip with all my heart, they might take a moment to figure out the logistics on it. Do guests of the Halcyon get a pure timeline or is it worth it to break it? (For me, totally worth it, but something to consider.)
Since the passengers of the Halcyon only disembark to Batuu for part of one day every 3 days, it wouldn’t be too hard to limit out-of-timeline characters during those specific hours every few days.
Ah, but its more complicated than that! First, its every other day…and its not just for a few hours as they have access from 8-4pm. Then, the question becomes whether or not the Halcyon guests would be glad for the story integrity of a single timeline, or upset to miss out on some really cool character interactions. Its passable territory and there are answers, it is just slightly more complex than Disneyland.
I can understand your perspective, but I personally don’t think the Halcyon should be a consideration in bringing this to Florida.
That’s only a few hundred guests per day (and probably only a small fraction of those who would be bothered by this) versus thousands of guests per hour in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
I think all the possible reasons for why DL gets characters that WDW doesn’t have merit, but for me, as a former SoCal resident, it just seems obvious that anything actorly is easier to put together with LA’s large would-be actor population. Especially given how many, say, Fennec Shands are needed for different shifts. And you get all this without having to have anyone move to take the gig, like I see WDW recruiting other face characters (princesses) at casting calls in various cities east of the Mississippi.
I’m really wondering what they plan to do with Grogu for a “walk around” as I assume a small animatronic can’t move too far, too much, or too quickly, and unfortunately, I don’t believe Imagineering has figured out the floating pram yet. (That would be beyond awesome.)
That’s a good point with regard to Fennec. Disneyland certainly has an easier time casting entertainment and also usually ends up with more…uh…authentic portrayals of particular characters.
I still don’t think that’s what’s up here. If that were the issue, no reason to do just Boba Fett in FL, or skip that duo entirely but still announce the Mando characters.
For Grogu, it might be an animatronic or puppet the Mando actor is holding. The original Figment was a puppet, so that could work.
I’d rather see the timeline maintained, with a variety of unique characters populating the land to make it feel more alive. When I’ve had servers at Oga’s that have really played a strong and distinctive character, these were my favorite moments at Galaxy’s Edge. More of that throughout the land is what I want!
That said, the Mandalorian is close enough to Batuu’s timeline for this to work as you said. Fine with that. If they do any other characters I hope they’re at least tucked away in a building. If they must stick them in the middle of the land, I wish they would just do a time period overlay — switch the whole land to a different time period for a day, or a season like with Halloween etc.
They won’t close Rise of the Resistance to retheme it to a different era. (Look at how long Splash Mountain is taking!) And the Resistance X-Wing and A-Wing won’t pass for Original Trilogy versions. Other than that…there isn’t much (structurally) that’s specifically tied to the Sequel Trilogy. They should probably swap out the dish on the Falcon. Otherwise, as long as they keep characters like Darth Vader away from the Resistance base, they should be alright. Anyway, I expect at some point, it will just become part of Baatu’s lore that time works differently there, or the planet just has a lot of ghosts.
I think you’re right about working out the kinks in DL then exporting the successful results to WDW. I love the idea that there can be different charachters from different timelines throughout the day. Like in hockey they roll out the different lines. That will make Batuu a great place to visit with a magic band+ and different games to play. Absolutely love the potential.
Great article. Can’t believe how early you get up and work on this stuff (or did I go to bed early last night and am seeing this for the first time). I commend your dedication. You sir are a true professional.
Ha, thanks! Between the opening of Cosmic Rewind and this evening news, it was a long day.
Hopefully today is a bit more relaxing…need to see Top Gun: Maverick ASAP!
As a big Disney fan and Star Wars fan, I have been pleased with Galaxy’s Edge, but would also love the opportunity to experience/encounter more of the original Star Wars characters—especially since, at least here at DL, they’ve really started putting more thought into character interactions. When we were there this month, Kylo Ren was interrogating people in the land and doing a fantastic job finding the right level of intensity for various kids. He only gave occasional glances towards my cowering kids, he called up a slightly braver kid and encouraged him to report back if he saw any rebel spies, and then more aggressively confronted adults in cosplay type outfits. It’s something we didn’t see much of during the first several months of reopening.
It’s probably a real stretch, but you could also imagine them cutting some new videos on smugglers run to alternate the missions, add classic character encounters, or even just have Han or Lando or Chewbacca hanging out on the falcon as you prepare for your run. Similarly, you could imagine cameos from characters inside Oga’s.
Thanks for sharing that info about Kylo Ren. I’ve only been in SWGE at Disneyland briefly since character physical distancing was dropped, and didn’t see anything like that–good to hear it’s back, at least in California!
It sounds like new scenes are coming to Star Tours, but I think they should focus that energy on a new mission for Smugglers Run. That attraction has the ‘bones’ to be something special…but the current mission just feels like menial labor. A new mission and subtitle for the attraction plus other character stuff could give the land a huge shot in the arm.
I would love to see Han and Lando. Heck, since they have Poe’s X-Wing, I’d love to see Poe and Finn in Galaxy’s Edge!
I have a lot of complaints about what they did with Batuu. They really need to open it up for the Star Wars franchise. They can definitely role play with their new characters while appeasing to their fanbase. They’re really is no role playing factor to the land at all anyways since they cheaped out on a lot of things, so they should address that more seriously if they’re going to stick with it. DHS used to be really awesome for Star Wars with the weekends, but now those are gone, and you sideline your franchise with a half done role playing land that is lifeless. Why not have Jedi training academy in Batuu just to have a show of some sort? So much wasted space I could go on and on. More characters in the area please and bring life to it! Adding a couple here or there just isn’t going to cut it. We want more aliens and actual droids! Also I still have a problem with them claiming Batuu is a Star Wars world, but they have Disney Parks bags haha.
Star Wars Weekends were so much fun, and a large part of that is because they didn’t have to play by character integrity rules for so long. Prior to Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, it was much more of a character free-for-all and tons of fun as a result.
Now, the company won’t even allow Mickey Mouse dressed as a Jedi, Darth Goofy, etc. I can understand clamping down on some of the more ‘out there’ stuff (looking at you, Hyperspace Hoopla), but they’ve dramatically overcorrected.
“IS THIS FUN?” needs to be the core question and guiding principle when determining what to do/not to do. Instead, Disney has a ton of story rules and so forth that casual guests absolutely do not care about. People just want to have fun. There should be limits on what’s acceptable to achieve that end goal, sure, but they’ve lost the thread with Star Wars in the parks.
I agree with your thoughts. This is the way.
Different time lines in the same land that don’t jnyersecttseems like a great way to maintain integrity while also giving fans the charactera they want. (and yes, I absolutely think Vader and Luke should be included too.)
Doubt we’ll ever see Luke since he’s a distinct-looking face character, but absolutely to Vader. I think that might take a bit more time (look for him to return to Launch Bay first), but it’s good to see that they’re trending in that direction.
I have a picture with Luke from SWW, so it’s possible. But I get what you mean.