Galaxy's Edge Interactive App Turns 'Star Wars' Into Your Playground

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is already turning into one of the most immersive theme park experiences to date. But the Imagineers behind Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge are taking it one step further by integrating a piece of technology that we all have in the back of our pockets: our phones.

But in a galaxy far, far away, our smartphones are not just regular old phones but are "transformed into an amazing in-story tool," Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director Asa Kalama said at the Star Wars: Celebration panel in Chicago. The new Star Wars Galaxy's Edge app will take guests beyond just experiencing the story of Batuu, a grimy outpost planet on the edge of the galaxy. They will live it.

Everyone has played at being in Star Wars in their backyards, turning cardboard boxes into the Millennium Falcon, or rolls of toilet paper tubes into lightsabers. But thanks to the Play Disney Parks app, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will become "the ultimate Star Wars playground," Kalama said.

"Rather than reliving Luke's story or Leia's story, a place where you can truly live your own Star Wars adventure," Kalama added. "We wanted there to be this opportunity for you to take on a persona, to become a member of the Resistance or the First Order or a rogue scoundrel. So we've been working hard on some amazing technology to enable this to really become a living land."

This is achieved through the Play Disney Parks app, which is available for download today. But soon it will soon become your very own Star Wars data pack when guests visit Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, with functions that will allow people to unlock a new level of storytelling.

This is achieved through four key functions that will enable people to interact with the park expansion in never-before-seen ways. While they functions have been described before, Kalama goes into even more detail on the tools, which include a hacking tool, a scanner, a translation device, and a "tuning" tool:

First up is hacking tool that will give you the ability to interact with some of the droids of the land as well as the blinking light panels and some of the ships. We also have an amazing tool that gives you the ability to scan some of the props throughout the land. We've got cargo crates for example that you can use the device to find out what inside. We also have a translation device. Some of the languages in Galaxy's Edge are not English, so this tool will enable us to understand what that signage says. And last we've got this great tuning tool that allows you to tune into various satellite dishes and listening arrays throughout the land and eavesdrop on some of the amazing stories that Margaret and Matt and the story team have developed. It gives you a whole new layer of storytelling in Black Spires outpost.

But when exploring on your own gets tiring, the app allows you to play a game with other guests by aligning with either the First Order or the Resistance. In a game called Outpost Control, guests battle against the other side to gain control over communication devices across Batuu. Kalama described the story:

When the First Order arrived on Batuu, they installed these surveillance devices. Obviously the Resistance doesn't love it. As visitors to Black Spires outpost, all of you have the opportunity to decide who you want to help, which side of the conflict you want to be on. Ultimately this game lasts until one faction is successful in controlling most of those blips, and then the game begins again. It's one of the amazing games that all of you will have an opportunity to transcend just being visitors to Black Spires, to actually develop a persona and become inhabitants of this world. A world where the choices you make and the ways you interact will ultimately affect the story around you.

Galaxy's Edge opens in Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on May 31, 2019, and in Orlando, Florida, on August 29, 2019. For much more on the park, check out our full written breakdown.