I plan to geek out on Star Wars for the next several weeks. I’m sure I’ll cover other current events as my readers expect, but for my own enjoyment, there is a lot to enjoy as a Star Wars fan that I think is very relevant to our modern world and the philosophies that spawn off them. Star Wars if you peel away the stories in space, the black and white view of good and evil, the fairy tale aspect of the mythology is unique in that its essentially about the tyranny of rules and how humans crave the freedom to be whimsical and untethered to the concoctions of authority. As the new ride opened up in Galaxy’s Edge called Rise of the Resistance and I watched the live streams of the opening ceremony, I couldn’t help but think of how wonderfully unifying the whole thing was, as people of all kinds of political backgrounds could at least agree on something showing that we all have more in common than not. I had been looking forward to the opening of this Disney attraction for a very long time writing about it way back in 2012 with great gusto. Well now its here, and I have some opinions about it that are worth talking about.
Even as a little kid I loved the making of Star Wars as much so, if not more than the movies themselves. I see the creative process as an opportunity to break previous rules and to innovate and that has always been at the core of all Star Wars experiences that are good, whether the endeavor is in literature, film, television, amusement attractions, comics, video games—Star Wars is always best when they are breaking the rules of previous assumptions and the hope when Disney bought the franchise from George Lucas back in 2012 was that something like this Rise of the Resistance attraction, and the Galaxy’s Edge land in Disneyland and Disney World would actually happen. And when it did, the rules would be pushed to the creative limit and we’d all get something very special.
On the opening day of this new ride the traffic was backed up at the gates of Hollywood Studios well before 4 AM in the morning. And the rides for the entire day were already booked up before 8 AM. The energy and anticipation for this ride attraction is astonishing and for good reason, the technical achievements that were made to make it were mind bending cool and the best that modern technology could utilize. It’s something that only Disney as a company could do due to their massive cash reserves and collection of very imaginative people within their Imagineering group. It has taken a while for the Disney Company to figure out their role in this new ownership, and to step beyond the temptations to limit the scope to modern political concerns and social justice perspective, but its quite clear to me that with all their efforts at Galaxy’s Edge and the story of Batuu, they have done a great job. Over the past several months I have read all the comics about this exciting new land at Disney World, read the books, The Black Spire and The Resistance Reborn, and I have been excited to see how the media company would be able to tie all these elements together into a grand modern mythology.
For perspective, I am the kind of guy who geeked out in Canterbury, England because I was able to walk the sites of one of my favorite books, The Canterbury Tales. I feel much the same way when it comes to James Joyce and is work in and around Dublin, Ireland. Wherever great acts of thought and imagination have taken place I find reverence there because for me, that is one of the most important things in the entire world, creativity of thought and action. And typically, we only see those kinds of things spring out in the world through some great literary work, or a good movie or musical piece. And we go through our entire lives and see such things only here and there and not too often. But with Star Wars, we see a lot of creativity and we always have. The stories are always about the perils of tyranny and living under the thumb of too many rules where individual rights are smashed to give way to a compliant society. But that’s not it, Star Wars both in front of the camera and behind is about unleashing the imagination so that something bigger and better could be born, and people can feel that even if they can’t articulate what it is they feel.
When people rushed to be the first to ride Rise of the Resistance, which is without question the most technical ride in the history of the world up to this point, they were pushing to touch this aspect of Star Wars that makes it so special. The ability to enjoy something that is specific to human beings, not only to think of a story that communicates to so many people across so many demographic barriers, but to entertain ourselves with its complete immersive environment. As I say that I have been playing a lot of Battlefront II with my oldest grandson lately which is just another layer of this new mythology. Additionally, in November I took a long weekend and shut off the world professionally to just play the new Star Wars game, Fallen Order, which was wonderfully entertaining. To be able to explore these places in a video game environment to me is a jaw dropping experience given that my background was at the start of the video game age. What they can do these days to me is amazing. But to step out of the movies, books and video games and into a real environment like what they have created with Rise of the Resistance at Disney World is nothing short of awe inspiring.
It gives me a lot of hope for the human race whenever these big Star Wars events happen and I can see so many people excited about it. I enjoy conventions and big video game releases because of this very element, but its been a long time, if ever that I’ve seen anything like the energy that came out of the opening of Rise of the Resistance at Disney World. The energy of the participants was amazing as viewed by the videos within this article. To see the level of detail that the Imagineers at Disney World were able to pull off with this attraction is more than impressive, but what’s better is that so many people appreciated it to the extent that some of them were willing to wait for days to ride the ride. Yet Disney deserves the credit for putting their money where their mouth was. They spent a billion dollars on this attraction and it shows, which was a massive investment on their part into their fans. People can complain that Disney is too expensive and that they are a giant media corporation that has a monopoly on talent. But they gained all that prestige through being good at what they do. And its not often that people can get such a return on investment as we are all getting with Rise of the Resistance, the ride.