One of the most surprising things about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is how much it caters to hardcore Star Wars fans. I’m not suggesting that Disney shouldn’t reward the loyal fanbase, but it’s incredible how much of the exclusive merchandising offerings in Batuu are deeper references that general audiences won’t understand. And that’s very cool. I’m sure unknowing tourists (the same ones who probably enjoy Pandora: The World of Avatar without having seen James Cameron’s record-breaking film) will probably pick up a Worrt from the Creature Stall shop without even knowing the frog-like alien was in Return of the Jedi.
But Disney is banking on a serious collector fanbase to shell out big bucks for some especially unique merchandise. I was shocked to learn that the most expensive thing you can buy in Galaxy’s Edge will cost you $25,000, and that doesn’t even include shipping.
In the Droid Depot shop, you can build a custom remote-controlled droid toy for $99, but the thing hardcore Star Wars fans will be drooling over can be found in the corner: a full-sized remote control replica of R2-D2. Sure, Lucasfilm has made officially licensed full-sized replicas of the famous droid before, but as far as I can recall, it’s always been a non-moving statue-style figure like you can find at Sideshow Collectibles for around $7,500.
But in Galaxy’s Edge, Disney is offering something completely new – a life-sized remote control R2 droid of your choosing. What this means is you can custom build your own R2 unit. You can choose the colors and the head and make it whatever you want it to be. This is no toy; this is the same kind of R2 droid that you see in the movies or at Comic-Con. The head moves, the droid beeps, the lights all light up. This is as real as it gets. Part of me thinks this is very cool, and another part of me feels that the fact that they are selling a $25,000 droid is absurd.
This might be the most expensive non-limited edition item ever sold in Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom. For $25,000, you get the droid, which features working lights, sounds, electronics, an aluminum head, wireless remote control and a charger. I asked if the R2 unit’s head was metal and the Cast Member assisting me tapped on the aluminum top and R2 started screaming like he didn’t enjoy the physical interaction. He then told me, in-character, that the droid would come with a restraining bolt so I, his owner, could keep him under control.
It should be noted that the price does not include tax, nor does it include shipping. And get this: your usual Annual Passholder discount or Cast Member discount does not apply on this purchase. Disneyland Cast Members, Signature, and Signature Plus Annual Passholders usually get 20% off merchandise, but not in this case.
The real question here is does Disney really expect to sell many of these life-size custom R2 droids or is it just a fun gimmick and a chance for kids to interact with R2-D2 in the land? I think it’s both, and I’m guessing they will sell more of these droids than you might expect. And R2 is not the only multi-thousand credit item for sale in Batuu. At the First Order store, you can buy a complete replica First Order Stormtrooper armor set for $6,615. Also offered in that same shop is a reproduction of Kylo Ren’s mask from The Force Awakens, on sale for $750. Over in the Resistance base, they offer collectible replicas of Poe Dameron’s helmet for $650. These helmets are not exclusive to the land. They’re produced by Anovos and they seem to be the same ones offered by the company online.
You can also buy authentic Jedi robes (a whole set will probably run you around $200), but unlike competitor Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, park guests won’t be allowed to wear such purchases in the park. That sounds like a mistake to me. If I can’t wear my Jedi robe around in the park, where am I supposed to wear it? At home? At Comic-Con? From what I hear, Disney doesn’t want guests in Batuu to ever confuse other guests as costumed interactive characters. That sounds ridiculous to me, because I have never gone up to someone in a Hogwarts robe in the Wizarding World and confused them as a Universal employee.
In Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, you can find a variety of collectibles, from legacy lightsabers to collectible busts of memorable characters who are considered legends in this galaxy far, far away. The offerings here range from $20 to a couple hundred bucks. Sitting in the corner, I saw a replica helmet of a Jedi Temple Guard on sale for $130, which might be a lot to ask for characters primarily seen in the animated series, but for fans of Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it might be niche enough to be cool and worth it.
In anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland turned their former Innoventions building into Star Wars Launch Bay. The center offers character meet-and-greets, promotion for upcoming films and the new theme park land, displays of props and models, and a store. It is here that I believe that Disney has been secretly testing just how much Star Wars fans were willing to spend on collectibles.
They offer a full range of Sideshow Collectibles Star Wars statues, movie-inspired wearables, and even some really expensive life-sized figures. Not $25,000 expensive, but a “few thousand dollars” expensive. I even purchased a Scout Trooper and Speeder at this store – it was long sold out on Sideshow’s website and somehow Disneyland still had some stock. So I think Disney has proven that Star Wars fans are willing to spend more than theme park guests would typically spend on cool collectibles. But will it scale in Galaxy’s Edge?
Judging by the lines I saw at the Cast Member preview, Disney is going to make a boatload of money selling $100 droids and $200 lightsabers. And I’m sure the occasional rich person on vacation taking a VIP tour through the land will look at the life-size R2 and say “Yeah, I’ll take one of those, too.”
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