Our trip to the planet Batuu takes place during the modern era of the main Star Wars “Skywalker Saga” films. We land in Black Spire a few months after after the events of 2017’s The Last Jedi, but before the upcoming film, The Rise of Skywalker is released on December 20, 2019. The Vanity Fair Rise of Skywalker preview revealed this next film will take place, “about a year after the end of The Last Jedi,” in the timeline.

Matt Martin who is a Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Exective told Polygon, “I can’t get into it, but I know the specific day that the events of this park take place. It’s kind of like Groundhog Day… Obviously, there are things that lead up to it. There will be things that lead out from it. But in terms of how [the events at Galaxy’s Edge] interact with other [Star Wars] fiction, this is kind of a day. That may change as the land evolves,” which hints at the rumors that eventually there could be seasons of the storytelling in the land which change over time. We’ll likely find out more about the specific events of that day when the second major attraction Rise of the Resistance opens later this year.

Disney has made the land very immersive with deep storytelling through the Datapad experience, authentic interactions and story loops with characters while keeping it very approachable to more casual Star Wars fans and Disney Parks guests to explore. You won’t need to know all of the details of what’s going on in the Star Wars novels, comics, and TV shows to have an out-of-this-world experience. It’s probably useful though to have at least seen The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi once before your visit and can be fun to delve a little deeper into the backstory if you want your experience to be more immersive and better understand what’s going.

A quick refresher (no, not that kind): In the opening scene of The Last Jedi, the Resistance evacuated their base on D’Qar just before the First Order attacked it. The Resistance fleet was then tracked through hyperspace, pursued and wiped out by the First Order, with only a few surviving members escaping the battle on the mineral planet Crait in the Millennium Falcon. Despite that loss, the brief return of Luke Skywalker from self-exile to confront Kylo Ren sparked some much-needed hope throughout the galaxy, for the eventual defeat of the First Order and the Rebellion was reborn.

Resistance spy Vi Moradi sent out a video transmission urging us to join the Resistance on Batuu, “Everyday systems get caught in the grip of the First Order, but the Resistance has not been defeated. We’ve settled on Batuu, a small planet at the edge of the Outer Rim, it’s so remote the First Order hasn’t bothered with it. You’ve supported our cause, now we need you to join the fight. We need you to join us on Batuu, stand with us against the First Order! Get ready recruits, it’s time for you to join the party, and I’ll see you at the edge of the galaxy!”

A little backstory about Batuu, Scott Trowbridge of Imagineering has said, “This used to be a vibrant trading port back in the old sub-lightspeed days, but now with the advent of hyperspace, its prominence has kind of fallen and faded a little bit which has made it a great spot for those who didn’t want to be on that kind of mainstream path. The smugglers, the bounty hunters, the rogue adventurers looking to crew up, the people who don’t want to be found…

So the battered, surviving Resistance members have laser-carved their new base into the mountains on the outskirts of Black Spire and are on the hunt for new recruits to fill their ranks. Cast Members who attended the preview of the land let us that know Vi Moradi, the Resistance spy in the above video, is actually a walk-around character in that area of the land and will talk to guests about Resistance missions. We have a feeling they’re going to have plenty of potential new recruits very soon with all of the guests visiting.

aerial photograph of Resistance Encampment area by Bioreconstruct, full gallery

Disney’s official page for the land tells us, “News of the Resistance has drawn the attention of the First Order, eager to stomp out any remaining flickers of opposition to their absolute control. Amid this brewing conflict, sits an exotic outpost surrounded by a beautiful landscape dominated by the petrified remains of towering ancient trees, from which Black Spire Outpost draws its name. The modern village is built on the remains of crumbling structures built by a long-extinct civilization. Now you are invited to visit this beautiful and treacherous village of secrets, built upon secrets.”

Wondering how the Millennium Falcon ended up on Batuu? The novel Pirate’s Price and comic Star Wars Adventures: Flight of the Falcon tell the story of how the pirate Hondo Ohnaka (popular from the Clone Wars and Rebels TV shows) struck a deal with Chewbacca to bring the Millenium Falcon to Black Spire to repair and use it for his new business, Ohnaka Transport Solutions. That takes us basically right to where we enter the story for the Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction as Hondo is looking for Pilots, Gunners and Engineers to crew the ship. We fully expect much of that backstory about the Falcon to explained by the amazing Hondo animatronic in the queue for the attraction, but still interesting to see them taking a very integrative, synergistic approach to the storytelling in the land.

We’ll also be delving deeper into the Storytelling at Galaxy’s Edge over time, but for now, this Entertainment Weekly article goes even further with more quotes from Disney Imagineers and Lucasfilm employees who helped create the land and story, it’s also definitely worth a read before your visit.

Check out the next part in our Storytelling Series: Innovation in Character Interactions, Authenticity and Storytelling in Galaxy’s Edge