Star Wars: Galactic Nights is a special ticketed event that takes place sporadically at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In 2017, it was held twice, once to coincide with Star Wars Celebration (which was held at the Orange County Convention Center) and the second right after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In 2018 the only one so far was held on Sunday, May 27, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend. The choice of a Sunday evening may seem a little odd, but that was also the last day of MegaCon, which is a science fiction and comic convention that is attended by 100,000 fans, so the timing did make sense.
This was my second Galactic Nights, and I was not disappointed. The event was hosted by Warwick Davis (Wicket and other roles), and the celebrity guests were Joonas Suotamo (the new Chewbacca), and Ashley Eckstein (the voice of Ahsoka Tano and founder of Her Universe). She was signing copies of her new book.
The evening started with a welcome from the center stage, which was referred to as the Rebel Base for the evening. All three celebrities took the stage, which as far as I know was the only time that they appeared together during the evening.
One of the highlights of Star Wars: Galactic Nights is the panel Star Wars: Inside Galaxy’s Edge. It was hosted by voice actor David Collins, and included several Imagineers who are working on the project. I attended the panel twice because I didn’t want to miss anything. We learned that there are about 5,000 people working on Galaxy’s Edge across the globe. One fun piece of new information is the fact that they are working on two full sized AT-ATs, and we saw a couple of pictures of their progress. We already knew that we’ll board the Millennium Falcon, but we now learned of a second ship that guests will enter. It’s a Resistance Troop Transport. We saw pictures of it, but we were not told in what capacity people will enter the ship. We also learned that the character of Nien Nunb will somehow fit into the new land, but weren’t told how. He will be voiced by the original voice actor Kipsang Rotich. We saw a video clip of him. The story was interesting, he voiced the Return of the Jedi character while a student in California, then returned to his native Kenya. When the character returned for The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm found him and he reprised the role. We also learned that in the Galaxy’s Edge market there will be a Creature Stall. They are working with Doug Chang of Lucasfilm to bring many of the creatures across Star Wars to life. Guests will be able to interact with them, and some will be for sale. It was announced last December that the name of the planet is Batuu, and now we know that the city that we’ll visit will be called Black Spire Outpost. The story goes that there were giant trees on Batuu, and they eventually eroded and turned to rock. They created spires, and at the center of the village there is one that is taller and darker than the others. People would say “meet me at the black spire” and the name stuck. There is now a lanyard and a pin available that features Black Spire Outpost.
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There was a question and answer session with Joonas Suotamo called Stars of the Saga. The name is a throwback to Star Wars Weekends, but it didn’t really resemble the old show. It was interesting to hear of his love for the character that he’s taken over, and he proudly displayed his Wookiee growl several times. He decided that if he was going to play the part he wanted to be able to sound it as well, although they replaced it in the films. He talked about the advice that he got from Peter Mayhew (the original Chewbacca), and he demonstrated the walk that Mayhew taught him for the iconic character.
There is more to Star Wars: Galactic Nights than just shows. There were more characters in the park than last time. The wait times for the characters were pretty long in the middle of the event, but died down towards the end. There were picture opportunities where you could put yourself in one of several scenes from the movies. There was a scavenger hunt, where guests collected stickers to put on the back of the event lanyard. There was special merchandise, and also Star Wars themed food and drinks.
One highlight for me was Star Wars: Galactic Destinations. This is a projection show on The Hollywood Tower Hotel, and scenes from the saga come alive on the structure. A segment from Solo: A Star Wars Story was added this time. It’s a lot of fun to watch the building transform.
The night ended with Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. As a Star Wars fan this is my favorite fireworks display, I love the way that it extends through such a large space, and the music by John Williams is brilliant. Scenes from Solo: A Star Wars Story have been added to the show. I did learn that it’s possible to be too close, but it was still awesome.
We were lucky because the rain held off, and it ended up being a nice, but warm evening. There is no word on when the next Star Wars: Galactic Nights will be held. When we find out any information, we’ll let you know. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is scheduled to open late fall, 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you can’t wait that long, the Disneyland version will open summer, 2019.