Tl;Dr: This better not be a Return on the Jedi redo and holy crap was that Palpatine???
Quick Star Wars Celebration info (Galaxy’s Edge tidbits and announcement of returning in 2020)
Disney+: November 12, $6.99/month or $69.99/yr. Excited for Marvel What If but are the other Marvel shows too much of a good thing?
Magic Kingdom evening Extra Magic Hours not scheduled for October. Are they gone for good and our we heading straight for paid FastPass?
HUGE week for Disney news with the announcement of Disney+ and Star Wars celebration going on. Figured I’d give my take on the big stuff (and what I think of a not so great rumor).
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The Teaser does a good job of giving us nothing in the way of story beats which I prefer. The Luke narration and Leia footage gave all the emotional weight needed and the surprise cackle at the end was surprising. It left me wanting more so it did it’s job. That said, I’m kind of worried that JJ Abrams won’t stick the landing in what is being billed as the final chapter in the Skywalker saga. Unpopular opinion, but I preferred Last Jedi over Force Awakens only because it tried to do something different (for better or worse.) Every time I’ve tried to rewatch episode VII I get angry with just how derivative it is. I hope that The Rise of Skywalker will give us the fitting ending this saga deserves. The biggest problem with Last Jedi is it didn’t really set up anything to look forward to. As a fan, I’m hopinge to get closure while also getting something other than fan service.
Personally, I was more excited to see the stream of The Mandolorian panel. While there was a blackout of the footage there were some clips leaked online and what was shown is something of a space Western featuring all new characters. Game of Thrones alum Pedro Pascal is the titular antihero as well as Apollo Creed himself Carl Weathers, Gina Carano and per IMDB Nick Nolte (!). Look it up before they’re taken down.
Star Wars Celebration also offered a lot of new info on Galaxy’s Edge. Of particular interest was the lightsaber building and the ability to purchase legacy (read: character) swords. Polygon had a great write-up on it. There was preliminary talk of cost (approximately $158) but that’s been disputed and they’re still working out pricing which to me says “more”. The ride vehicle for Rise of the Resistance was also on display but there was still no concrete date for when the attraction would open.
Lastly on Celebration it was announced the usually biannual convention would be returning next year in Anaheim which is rather curious: per reports, Disney is taking a break from making Star Wars movies after Episode IX (the focus seems to be on expanding the universe through Disney+ and spinoffs) so either there is something big coming up in the next year or the convention is that successful to change to a yearly offering.
Prior to Celebration, Disney finally offered information on their streaming service and challenged Netflix with the news it would cost half of it’s rival’s monthly fee. At $6.99/month or $69.99 a year Disney is pricing their service pretty aggressively.
Full Disclosure: I work for an ISP so I won’t go further into my personal opinions of the actual service but I will offer my insight into the content.
With Avengers: Endgame rapidly approaching, and the promise that this is the end of an era for at least some of the characters, having a format to showcase other players and expand on their stories is a great way to keep them fresh in our mind while waiting for the next MCU release. My concern, however, is twofold (and possible Spoilers ahead): first, the fear of overexposure. If, for instance, the goal of Winter Soldier and Falcon is to setup either of them taking the mantle of Captain America, would we bother following them to the cinema to what we already saw at home? Conversely, with ScarlettVision and Loki, are there enough stories to keep the audience interested while also not growing too tired of them?
Finally, and this is selfish, what about the shows that have toed the line for the MCU with little to no reciprocation, primarily Agents of SHIELD and the Netflix shows? I hope they’re not forgotten when this new storytelling universe is introduced. Maybe they can find their niche, since it was these shows that proved an episodic narrative with these characters could work.
No More Extra Magic Hours?
I first read the rumor here but then saw it come up on other Disney news sites so I decided to check for myself and yes, for the month of October (or at least the dates available), the calendar on Disney’s page shows no evening EMH at Magic Kingdom. So the theory on those sites are with dates for both Mickey’s Halloween party and possible other hard ticket events (After Hours) maybe there aren’t enough nights to also offer on-property guests both morning and evening access. Also, because Disney still has info for evening EMH listed and no confirmation of it permanently ending that perhaps they’ll return. My cynical view is this: EMH will be limited to the one morning hour (like Universal) and offer more hard ticket Early Morning Magic and After Hours. Simply put, this will be how they’ll get around charging for FastPass.
EMM and AH have been objectively successful just going by how many times it’s sold out. The costs are high ($79/pp EMM and $125 AH) but tickets are limited so the crowds are minimal. The Halloween and Christmas parties offer unique experiences and while their at a higher capacity there’s still less than any peak day. Just browsing Twitter during this Spring Break period the crowds are absolutely bananas. FastPass lines are ridiculously long. The option Disney has is to start charging for FastPass to control crowds (the reason they give whenever they hike prices). The only problem with that is, I think, the outcry would be huge for a time with zero benefit. They could do what they do in Disneyland and charge to use the My Disney Experience app but ultimately that wouldn’t deter crowds. Better to offer a hard ticket with promises of little to no crowds and charge a premium.
Here’s my problem with it: what’s the point of staying on-property if perks are taken away? I get the the whole “in-the-bubble” experience but for the cost it’s becoming less and less worth it. Disney resorts are not cheap and I know I’ll eat the price because there’s a benefit. With Disney offering some of these perks off-site I wonder if for my next trip I’ll even bother. I could just save on the resort and spend the money for the hard ticket.
Well those are my thoughts on all the big news of the passed week. What are your thoughts? Please post a comment on how your experience differs!