Want to buy a lightsaber in Disney's new Star Wars land? Disney's not going to make it easy.
We're not talking about the prices, either. (Disney still hasn't revealed what it will change for its next generation of lightsaber souvenirs.) Visitors to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios won't be able to just walk in and pick out a Jedi or Sith laser sword. They're going to have to work for that privilege first.
In a blog post this morning, Galaxy's Edge creative director Scott Trowbridge revealed that the entrance to the "Savi's Workshop" lightsaber shop won't be marked and won't be open to just anyone. The store will be run by a group of "keepers of the Force" called "The Gatherers" who do their work behind the facade of a junkyard.
"Those ready to learn this knowledge will find a symbol displayed on the front of the workshop indicating that they are in the correct location and they must give the secret phrase to the Gatherers to enter inside."
Disney previously has announced that visitors to Galaxy's Edge will be able to use the Play Disney Parks app to translate signs throughout the new land from the Star Wars language of Aurebesh into English. (And other languages, one presumes.) Perhaps that will be the key to finding the secret phrase one must give to enter the lightsaber workshop?
That app is going to come in handy as Disney has worked to keep Galaxy's Edge a convincing experience of being on a planet in a galaxy far, far away. Outside of the two rides in Galaxy's Edge, the only location signs in English inside the land are for its two restroom facilities. (There is a limit to staying in universe, after all. And it's potty time.) But Trowbridge's blog post suggests that Disney's is throwing an extra barrier at fans looking to get their own lightsaber.
It's playing a psychological trick that I am surprised theme parks don't pull more often. There's little that makes people want something more than telling them they can't have it. It's the allure of what stands behind the velvet rope, the construction fence, or the speakeasy door. We human beings are insubordinate creatures. We want to go where we don't belong and do what we are told not to.
Hiding the entrance and barring access to it helps sell the story that not everyone in the Star Wars universe can wield a lightsaber — "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age." You've got to feel the call of the Force. In the Star Wars universe, lightsabers reflect the same trope as the wands in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or Mjolnir in the Marvel comic books and movies, for that matter. These are weapons that choose their wielders rather than be chosen by anyone.
So when you enter Savi's Workshop, you will be surrounded by the true believers in the Force who made an extra effort to be there — and not a bunch of lookey-loos who just happened to wander into the shop. That helps to raise the emotional stakes of the experience of building (and buying) your own lightsaber. And as any smart businessperson knows, when a buyer gets emotional, he or she is often willing to pay more for the experience.
The key word there, though, is "willing." If Disney can deliver the experience stepping into a revered order such as those of the Jedi or the Sith, then many Star Wars fans will think whatever Disney charges for these lightsabers to be well worth that price.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens to all Disneyland ticket-holders on June 24. (To visit between its grand opening on May 31 and June 23, you must either have a reservation at a Disneyland Resort hotel or have gotten one of its now-claimed reservation times.) If you need tickets to Disneyland to visit Galaxy's Edge, please visit our Disneyland tickets page.Tweet
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