Bob Chapek on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s IP Advantage, and More

During the opening festivities for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Bob Chapek took some time to answer questions with those that serve the Disney fan community. Below, are some highlights of his session. (Some parts have been edited for clarity)

On Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

I think when a property starts with the genius of the Lucasfilm people and of course George Lucas himself, and add in a healthy dose of ambition from the imagineers who were asked to towards dream big with a lot of resources that were put against it and the creativity of imagineering, I think you end up with something that really almost defies logic or expectation. I don't know about you all, now experiencing the land for the first time, but when it come in here, you feel like you're in a different planet. It doesn't feel like you're in an appendage to Disneyland.

There's really four attractions. First attraction, just the land itself It's spectacular. It's detail, it's texture, it's its depth, the storytelling. And then of course you have the Millennium Falcon. What a dream it is to be able to actually pilot the Falcon. And that's been extraordinary. The feedback has been fantastic. Ultimately we will have to Rise of the Resistance, which I personally feel would be the greatest attraction we've ever done. I mean, from every standpoint possible. And then you have the Cantina and even during the cast previews, the Cantina lines were two hours a day, every day. All Day. You put all that together and that's where we have to have a four hour maximum. Because it is so immersive, it is so deep. The experience is so great that you spend the first two hours just sort of served in saying, wow, is this real?

So for us, this is a new high watermark, certainly a new high watermark in the industry And I think it says great things about where we're heading, what you can do with fantastic intellectual property to increase the depth that start time and what it means for the future of not only Disneyland itself, but also Walt Disney World and Hollywood Studios. This is the work of a lot of folks that have spent a lot of hard hours, again, dreaming big and not letting typical constraints stop them from setting a new high watermark.

On Building Galaxy’s Edge Internationally:

It just seemed fitting that in a place like the U.S. where the depth of Star Wars love is just so incredible that this would be the perfect place to do something really ambitious. I think there are other places we could put Star Wars attractions. I'm not sure there's other places that would warrant all the way on that's this robust with that kind of level of investment. [Editor’s Note: While a new Star Wars presence has been announced for the Walt Disney Studios in Paris, it appears it will not be in the form of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge]

On Franchises at the Parks:

We've got the wealth of riches, we've got an embarrassment of riches, and we don't want to do anything that anybody else can do. A lot of times people say, “why does everything have to have a franchise orientation?” Because that's our barrier to entry. Because if any of our competitors had our intellectual property, guess what? They would be doing the exact same thing we're doing, but they don't have it. We do. So we're going to build it. We're going to sustain it. We're going to create this world where everybody works together to create storytelling across time, across territories, geographies, and across lines of business to create something that's bigger than any one of those individual pieces. And that's where we have a franchise orientation. And frankly that's why the Walt Disney Company, far and away outperforms all of our peers.

On the Future of Galaxy’s Edge:

The way I look at this land is that it's a canvas, and it’s a canvas that we painted, and it's a core. We don't have any specific plans as to where this is going to go. Cause frankly we haven't even opened it up. We don't open it up for another 36 hours. But I think you can see that this could be the core of something really, really spectacular because our ambition hasn't gone away. Our ambitions are only growing, I'm not exactly sure what form that's going to take. I do know the most immediate form that it's going to take, and that's Rise of the Resistance, which I believe will be the greatest attraction that we've ever built. But beyond that, we've got no specific plans, but we have a lot of ambition, a lot of dreams, and plenty of stories to tell.

Editor’s Note:

Since taking over the Disney Parks business, Bob Chapek has been very generous with communicating with the fan community. Whether it is appearances at fan events such as the D23 Expo and Destination D or providing access to fan media. At Laughing Place, we appreciate Bob’s continued support and continuing to share his perspectives with the Disney fan community.