Space Archaeology In Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
One of the best non-film canon figures in the Star Wars galaxy is Doctor Aphra – space archaeologist.
And if Doctor Aphra ever makes the jump from Marvel Comics to TV or movie screen, here’s hoping she’s exploring Batuu and most specifically, the encampment within the walls of “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.”
Having enjoyed the entire queue at the Rise of the Resistance attraction at Walt Disney World, I was thrilled to see that Aphra wasn’t the only one interested in space archaeology.
Exploring The History Of Batuu
The first cavern room riders enter was once used by an ancient civilization as a storage space, according to the queue’s backstory. Mold and mildew have grown on the walls due to the dampness from the nearby waterfall and the mud tracked in by the ancients.
“These rooms were built by people who had primitive tools so you’ll see a lot of tool marks,” said [Walt Disney Imagineering’s Kirsten] Makela, describing the set-designed space like an archaeologist. “There wasn’t really a lot of resources for this ancient civilization so everything has a crude, primitive feel to it.”
The high-tech equipment strewn throughout the Resistance compound contrasts with the primitive carvings on the rock walls. Visitors must piece together the story of the civilization that once occupied the place in order to reveal the ride’s elaborate backstory.
Unraveling The Mystery
As good as he is, MacDonald’s wonderful prose can’t explain the half of it.
And, frankly, the worst thing about Rise of the Resistance is the crowd’s desire to push everyone along at a pace that’s not conducive to exploring the rich detail of the space; not to mention the sheer size of the current boarding groups.
Like an onion, the backstory for the queue becomes more complex with every layer you peel back. While Batuuans use the lichen growing on the rock walls in cooking and to dye fabrics, ground-up lichen produces a valuable golden powder that doubles as a local currency accepted at Oga’s Cantina and other Black Spire Outpost businesses, Makela explains.
It’s so important for our guests to feel like Batuu is a planet rich in history… It isn’t just that we’re here right now and that’s the only thing that’s ever happened here. We want to make sure that it’s a planet that has a lot of things that are left to be discovered that we don’t know about and a lot of things about the people who lived here that we don’t know about, too.”
Kirstin Makela, Walt Disney Imagineering
Hand-sculpted rock caverns — reminiscent of the grotto at the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction — form the ride queue. The rock walls bristle with high-tech lights and communication equipment that give the sense visitors are heading into a repurposed and retrofitted Resistance compound. Radio communications can be heard relaying flight deck transmissions. You get the sense that something big is about to happen…
The first cavern room riders enter was once used by an ancient civilization as a storage space, according to the queue’s backstory. Mold and mildew has grown on the walls due to the dampness from the nearby waterfall and the mud tracked in by the ancients.
Take To The Caves
So, that’s how Imagineering built a ride ready to excite guests over and over and over. Be sure to check out MacDonald’s full article, especially if you are planning a trip to Disneyland or Hollywood Studios.
And, who knows, maybe someday when we take a corner Doctor Aphra will be standing there in the cave with us.