The Mandalorian Should Not Be in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Rumor has it some of these characters could end up in theme parks.
Rumor has it some of these characters could end up in theme parks.
Photo: Lucasfilm

We love The Mandalorian. We love Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. But rumors that the two could eventually mix are bad for both and we’ll tell you why.

Those rumors originated from Disney historian Jim Hill who, on recent episode of his podcast, suggested Disney is discussing ways to insert characters and ships from The Mandalorian into its Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme parks. This, of course, makes all the sense in the world. The Mandalorian is one of the biggest shows on the planet, and with a new Star Wars movie at least three years away, streaming is the immediate future of Star Wars. Disney would be silly not to be seriously considering ways to further monetize its pop culture juggernaut. Adding it into its theme parks is a no-brainer.

Plus, the idea sounds awesome. Who wouldn’t want to have their photo taken with Mando, Grogu, or Bo-Katan? Buy their own set of beskar armor and jetpack? Walk around the Razor Crest or eat frog eggs? Basically do anything in regards to the show? Everyone would! And most would pay good money to do so.

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All of which would’ve be fine in any section of any Disney park, except for Galaxy’s Edge. What makes Galaxy’s Edge so unique is that, at its core, it’s not just a theme park. Of course, it is a theme park, but its magic comes from the fact that it’s trying to be more than that and replicate what it would actually be like to step into Star Wars. Meaning, the park itself is part of the Star Wars canon. Flying the Millennium Falcon for Hondo, escaping a Star Destroyer with Finn, those are stories that are taking place in the Star Wars universe at the very specific time period after The Last Jedi, but before The Rise of Skywalker. You can read Star Wars books or play Star Wars games and get mentions of all the things in Galaxy’s Edge to make you feel like “Oh, I’ve been there. Oh, I did that.”

Galaxy’s Edge. A thing of beauty.
Galaxy’s Edge. A thing of beauty.
Photo: Disney Parks

The problem is this time period does not line up with current events of The Mandalorian. Season two of Mando ended a few short years after Return of the Jedi. Galaxy’s Edge exists decades after that. If Disney puts Din Djarin or Grogu in Galaxy’s Edge it’s either a) an admission of their whereabouts after events of the show, or b) a total reboot of the intentions of the park.

Let’s deal with “A” first. Obviously, theme parks shouldn’t have to worry about spoilers. Disney does. In creating lands specifically designed to exist along with the world of a movie, everything taking place in that world has to track. For Grogu to exist in Galaxy’s Edge he’d have to be older, and have experienced whatever will happen to him in the time between then and the end of the show. Same for any Mandalorian characters, though that’s easier to cover with armor. Would Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau really want to admit those characters end up back together before that story has been completed?

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Disney found a clever way around this for its Avatar theme park at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Like it did for Galaxy’s Edge and Star Wars, Disney wanted to create a world that lived inside the Avatar movies. However, creator James Cameron still had several movies to make. The solution? That park exists centuries after the events of the movies. The whole park is a spoiler that the Na’vi survive all conflicts that come for them. How and why? We’ll see in the movies. But there’s plenty of time for those stories to be told before the park events take place.

Galaxy’s Edge isn’t that. In fact, it became outdated about seven months after its opening, on December 20, 2019. How do I know the date? Well, that’s when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released and continued the story from the point Galaxy’s Edge exists. Suddenly Kylo Ren is dead, Rey “nobody” is now Rey Skywalker, the Resistance has “defeated” the First Order, and all is well in the galaxy. At that moment, Galaxy’s Edge became a land frozen in time.

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Which leads us to “B.” Canonizing the park was always the very specific, very purposeful choice. It didn’t have to be that—the parks’ Star Wars content outside of Galaxy’s Edge sure isn’t. After you step off Star Wars-themed ride Star Tours at Disneyland, you see Buzz Lightyear and Finding Nemo. At Disney World, the same ride is by a Muppets theater. In most of the Disney parks, Star Wars is just a ride. But not being “just a ride” is what makes Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge so amazing, even if many people don’t experience it or think of it that way. It would be a shame to ruin its allure by inserting characters that don’t make sense or even sacrifice future stories.

And yet, eventually, that has to happen. The sliver of time the land is set becomes more of a distant memory every day, and that’ll only get worse as new movies and streaming shows continue to be created. Eventually, Rey and Kylo Ren will no longer be the popular characters they are now in this moment, central characters of the most recent Star Wars saga. Eventually there will be new heroes and villains fans will want to interact with, and the whole land will have to be retimed and targeted. Or, maybe, the whole show will be changed. Who’s to say the next season of The Mandalorian won’t jump ahead in time like that? It’s unlikely, but possible. One way or the other, changes of that size are the only ways to bring Mandalorian characters in and respect the park at the same time.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

biffmeatpecs
Biff Meatpecs

You’re missing one important fact: Disney has regularly refreshed their rides and lands, often drastically, since the start. Star Tours is a perfect example - It evolved from Original to Prequel to Sequel Trilogy content, and they were not subtle refits.

Galaxy’s Edge being set in the Sequel Trilogy timeline is not immutable. The Sequel Trilogy is a dead end, whereas Disney has a ton of content coming out during the Mandalorian time period. Yes, that means that the rides would require major reworking, notably Rise of the Resistance, but there are rooms of Disney accountants figuring out the ROI on that work right now, believe me.

Or they could go the path of least resistance (no pun intended) and abandon the world building and immersion so all the time periods can intermingle. Kids don’t understand why they need to trudge over to the Star War Launch Bay in the ass end of Tomorrowland to get a photo with Vader or sign up for Jedi training, it’s just nerds like us who bristle at timeline contamination. :)