Anybody who knows me, knows that the way to my heart is through creativity, anything that shows an effort at outside the box creativity is the way to win me over to any effort. This applies to food, buildings, works of art, even relationships. I judge just about everything on the creative level of input from the participants, and if they don’t show an effort at creativity, I quickly disregard whatever it is as useless. I’m largely a Star Wars fan because the film franchise, the toys, the merchandise in general have always been very creative, and its fun to visit anything Star Wars as to offer from a creative standpoint. I always find that the reality of Star Wars is better than the reality of our present society because in Star Wars they are asking creatively how things could be instead of crying about how things are. If I had to sum up my love of Star Wars in one sentence, that would be it. So with all that context I visited finally Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios and I have to say with great enthusiasm that it was a dream come true. I have to thank the Disney Imagineers and Bob Iger’s vision to turn them loose on this $1 billion dedication to creativity and everything that Star Wars could be, so that I could walk around and see, touch, taste and experience a Star Wars reality that I really thought would never be possible, even with my considerable talents at creativity being what they are.
I found my visits this past week to Galaxy’s Edge mind bending, and simply jaw dropping. I’ve traveled around the world and experienced many cultures. Nothing comes close to what I experienced at Galaxy’s Edge. Even though it is all a fictional reality, I found it quite clear that the Imagineers of Disney had not just recreated a Star Wars experience for fans of the films and books, but had created a better reality for which the stories of Star Wars had always been endeavoring to create in the minds of their fans. Only now it was real, you could see it, touch it, and taste it. The perfect symphonic elements of good storytelling I don’t think have ever been done this well anywhere in the world, ever.
I remember when The Lion King was all the rage on Broadway and how the use of the puppet props to recreate the story of the animated movie The Lion King touched people in what many thought was a sophisticated way. It was considered high art by even the most hardened social critics. Walking into this Galaxy’s Edge land dedicated to Star Wars with all the great sounds and music by John Williams genius work was not just watching a concert where the actors and musicians were on stage performing for you, but that you were now part of the story and the action was happening to you. It was an entirely new way to present a high art concept using a popular film franchise as the launching point. Everywhere I looked was an obvious, “this is how it could be” message by Disney Imagineers. The ever important asking of the question, “what if?”
To start by asking a question, “what if the values of cowboy cinema and Saturday morning serials could be met to the needs of the next generation of space traveler” was the question George Lucas asked years ago before using Joseph Campbell’s studies on mythology to launch the Star Wars film franchise. Then to see it evolve into a full three dimensional reality with the promise of more, and more for me was the most ambitious attempt ever conducted at such an audacious task, the realization of a fantasy into a known reality even on such a level as Star Wars is known for. This was the highest form of storytelling that I have ever seen in any format by any level of content. It was sophisticated, honest, and hopeful in inspiring people to ask those next level questions about our own reality. If you can have Star Wars in Disney World, then why not everywhere, and on any planet? As I walked around Galaxy’s Edge I thought of Elon Musk and what designs his engineers at Space X might be inspired to upon visiting this place and how the Mars expeditions of the future might take shape directly inspired by these constructs. In all my years of reading about mythology, comparative religion and science fiction in general, nobody had ever come close to doing anything remotely close to what Disney had done at Galaxy’s Edge. When they said this was the most ambitious project they had ever attempted, they weren’t kidding.
I couldn’t get enough of that place. It was the most comfortable I can remember ever feeling anywhere at any point in my life. When I was a kid I had a very creative place in my parents basement that was dedicated to Star Wars. I built lots of models and landscapes dedicated to the old Kenner toys and I enjoyed that until about age 13 when my parents were concerned that I’d rather spend time there than in dating and socializing. They took it down while I was at school one day and let me know that they were going to fix up the basement and were going to move me down there so I could have my own room through my teenage years. I never really got over that experience, I was so angry about it that I carried it around for years. Not that I could blame them, they thought they were doing the right thing. But for my kind of mind, it was the worst thing they could have done. I just wanted to have a creative space for my mind and when they took that away, there wasn’t a replacement so I internalized everything because there was no other choice.
And even when you grow up, it doesn’t get any easier. People want pieces of you every hour of every day, and if you are a good person, you do all you can to help them out with their problems. For me, the more people who come into your life the harder it is to find time to think, which is what I like doing the most. So as ridiculous as it sounds, I have been craving that creative space for myself all these years since then to now, but life just doesn’t give it to you. You either get it as a kid or never again because kids don’t yet have the responsibility of life. So they get free time to think about things, and when life came to interrupt my creative solitude, I did the best I could with it, but nothing life offered was ever as satisfying as that creative space I had in my parent’s basement when I was 9 to 13 years old. Walking through Galaxy’s Edge it was obvious that my sentiments were not alone to me, but that many of the people who had built the place, under the power of Disney’s financial abilities, had similar experiences as me, and this was a love letter from them to the efforts of creativity. It was a place I had been thinking of building since I was a little kid and seeing it and being there was very special.
I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to visit the place. It was and will likely remain one of the best couple of days of my life.