In little more than two weeks, audiences everywhere will feast their eyes upon the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga as J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters. The ramp-up to a Star Wars film release is always packed with updates, but as the nine-film episodic saga approaches the home stretch, the transmissions from a galaxy far, far away are coming in faster than ever, and in greater numbers.
The big story this week is the long-awaited opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Since its development, the ride has been touted as perhaps the most complex theme park ride in history, with Disney CEO Bob Iger calling it “the most technologically advanced and immersive attraction that we have ever imagined” during a March call with investors.
If the initial reactions tell us anything, it’s that the wait was well worth it.
With an incredible ride queue that features full-size versions of Poe Dameron’s X-Wing Fighter, interrogations by First Order Stormtroopers, and a gate that includes a familiar canon first seen on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, guests are invited into a Resistance transport that whisks them away on an adventure that runs into an entanglement with the First Order. The ride features more than 60 animatronic characters, holographic projections, patented new technology to power effects, and a trackless vehicle that can move in nearly any direction. As guests make their way through a First Order Star Destroyer, they’ll encounter enemies whose blasters appear to fire right at them and register damage on the environment around them.
Dolby SoHo x Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Experience
Beginning on Dec. 6, visitors to Dolby SoHo (477 Broadway) in New York City will be invited to “take an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away and discover the legacy of Star Wars.” Fans can explore 11 immersive exhibits that utilize the sights and sounds of the Star Wars universe powered by ultra-vivid Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound.
The exhibit is open most days through Jan. 5. Admission is free.
Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge Heads to Disney+
Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel trilogy) will host a new game show that’s all about the path to becoming a Jedi. In Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, young contestants will be tested on their abilities in the core Jedi principles of strength, knowledge, and bravery as they attempt to achieve the rank of Jedi Knight. Best will be joined by a humanoid Droid companion voiced by Mary Holand (Veep, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre). The series will debut on Disney+ next year.
The Mandalorian Tops Global Streaming, The Child Inspires Memes
According to Parrot Analytics, The Mandalorian is the most in-demand show in the world. The news comes just a week after the Disney+ series about the titular bounty hunter and his tiny green sidekick dethroned Stranger Things‘ 21-week reign as the most in-demand show in the U.S. With its current crown, The Mandalorian is also the most-watched digital original series as well.
On Dec. 18, fans who check out the new episode of The Mandalorian will have a bonus reason to watch: Disney+ will include an exclusive sneak preview of The Rise of Skywalker!
In other news from The Mandalorian that’s not specifically about the Mandalorian, the Child aka Baby Yoda, continues to be a global phenomenon, with licensees rushing to get merchandise into the hands of an eager public. Mattel and Funko have already announced product, while Hasbro and LEGO are prepping offerings for next year. In the meantime, the Child is inspiring people everywhere, and part of that is a steady stream of memes. Last week’s scene in which the munchkin sipped soup inspired many winners, but this week it’s a classic dad/kid moment that’s lighting up the web. Does Mando prefer East Coast rap to the Child’s West Coast vibes?
— ??? ???? ?????IRAJ (@THESITHLIST) December 3, 2019
Or Smash Mouth’s “All Star?”
— cre8ivenerd (@cre8ivenerd) December 4, 2019
Perhaps something festive?
— JOE BROCK (@JBrock_) December 3, 2019
Or “Baby Shark?”
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) December 2, 2019
- Sorry, #FinnPoe fans, that ship has sailed, but J.J. Abrams hints at LGBTQ representation in The Rise of Skywalker.
- #ICYMI: The official Star Wars YouTube channel hosted a live Q&A with the cast from the new film on Monday.
- At least seven official, themed TV spots have been released for The Rise of Skywalker thus far, including the latest: “Aventure” and “Hold On.“
- Star Wars Families presented by eBay takes a look at how families around the world bond through fandom.
- Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser — the experiential hotel tied to Galaxy’s Edge in Florida — will open in 2021.
- This Saturday, Target stores will host a Star Wars demo event featuring new Hasbro toys from The Rise of Skywalker, plus giveaways from Funko and LEGO.
- Bose is working with Lucasfilm for its first-ever Star Wars release: the Star Wars AR Audio Experience.
- The latest New Era x Star Wars collection celebrates the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force.
- The first round of merch based on the Child was … something.
Photos: Disney Parks, Lucasfilm, Dolby