Get Your Star Wars Fill Before The Park Officially Opens
Star Wars fans will have something to tide them over while they eagerly await the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland & Walt Disney World in 2019: a fully immersive VR experience. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.
It will open this holiday season, and will be housed at two new VOID Experience Centers, one at each US resort. Secrets of the Empire is created by ILMxLAB, the Immersive Entertainment division of Lucasfilm, in collaboration with The VOID. It will be the first experience of its kind.
Combining AR & VR, as well as real-world stimulus, Secrets of the Empire will pull guests directly into the world of Star Wars. Though Secrets’ cornerstone is, unsurprisingly, a worn VR headset, a fully-fledged physical sets it above traditional VR experiences. The set and headgear work together to immerse you in the sounds, smells, and feeling of new, exotic worlds. The VOID are pioneers in the field of what they call “hyper-reality experiences.” ILMxLAB aim to “combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology, and virtual reality” in their quest. This will take guests to those worlds, according to chief creative officer Curtis Hickman.
VR in a galaxy far, far away
Secrets of the Empire will be an free-roaming, multi-sensory experience. Guests will interact and engage with family, friends, and their favorite Star Wars characters. ILMxLAB “want people to step inside the world of [their] stories.” They will facilitate this by allowing guests to “become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure,” according to Vicki Dobbs Beck, an ILMxLAB executive. “[This will be done by] combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling experience with cutting-edge imagery.” The team hopes to “truly transport” guests to a galaxy far, far away. Additionally, Beck confirmed that Skywalker Sound is involved in the production of Secrets of the Empire.
The contents of Secrets of the Empire‘s story are as yet unknown. But, the teaser image released alongside the press release suggests that it will be set on a certain volcanic world. Mustafar, prominently featured in Star Wars: Episode III, is the site of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s heart-wrenching duel. Mustafar later became the personal stronghold of Skywalker, by then fully transformed into Darth Vader. From stormtroopers in the teaser, I suspect Secrets will involve Vader in some way, which is unsurprisingly considering his ubiquitousness. Regardless of its story, Secrets of the Empire will be welcome news for Star Wars fans and VR aficionados alike.