Those rumours 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 monetise 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 armour 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.
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.”
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 armour. Would Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau really want to admit those characters end up back together before that story has been completed?
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.
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 theatre. 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.