From Anaheim to Batuu: fan tourism and Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as transmedia playground

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

Disney’s theme parks offers visitors, adults and children alike, the opportunity to engage with characters, stories and scenarios drawn from the company’s vast back catalogue of films and other media content. Recent franchise additions to Disney’s portfolio such as Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have not only expanded their storytelling potential and audience appeal but also allowed their various theme park locations to offer physical experiences based on fan interaction. The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida is a full-scale immersive experience containing Star Wars themed rides, eateries and shops that draw directly from the fictional universe of the science fiction franchise. In the outpost of Black Spire on the newly created planet of Batuu, Children and adults can cosplay and engage with Disney cast members performing as various characters such as Darth Vader and Chewbacca; making the fictional and fantastic a little more real and tangle. Rides give visitors immersive play experiences that recreate what it would be like to be part of the action. New characters that guide you through your journey form part of the rich transmedia narrative that is Star Wars. With this in mind, my chapter examines the transmedia narratives at play within the theme park Galaxy’s Edge attraction and argues that the imagineered tourist experience is now an integral component to Disney’s continued development of the Star Wars transmedia story. It forms part of a wider transmedia strategy that builds on the pre-existing films, books, games, comics and television series to offer a physical mode of storytelling. As audiences and fans seek closer and more realistic interactions with fictional texts, Disney is offering a literal transmedia playground in which visitors can explore and the Star Wars saga can continue to grow.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOn Disney
Subtitle of host publicationDeconstructing Images, Tropes and Narratives
EditorsUte Dettmar , Ingrid Tomkowiak
Place of PublicationStuttgart
PublisherJ. B. Metzler
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Transmedia
  • Star Wars
  • Galaxy's Edge
  • Theme Park Tourism
  • Fandom

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