An immersive new “Star Wars” experience has been announced for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, set to open by the end of this year.
Disney and Lucasfilm have just announced a first-of-its-kind Star Wars “hyper-reality” experience entitled “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” which will make its debut outside the parks this holiday season at Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney and at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.
The free-roaming virtual reality experience arrives via a partnership between Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB and the virtual / mixed reality design company The VOID, creators of the popular “Ghostbusters: Dimension” game in New York City, which launched last year.
WATCH – STAR WARS: SECRETS OF THE EMPIRE VR EXPERIENCED ANNOUNCED:
The VOID combines virtual reality with actual physical environments to create a more tactile, immersive “hyper-reality” experience. The company recently announced its first original story experience, “Curse of the Serpent’s Eye,” will debut at their flagship Utah location this month.
“Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” will be the first title available to guests at the two new VOID Experience Centers coming to the popular shopping areas at both resorts, which should eventually showcase additional VR experiences.
The VOID was one of a select number of creative technology firms chosen for the Disney Accelerator investment program just last month. The VOID Experience Centers are already open at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum near Times Square, at The Rec Room in Toronto, and at The VOID’s headquarters in Salt Lake City. (More details about the company can be found on their official website.)
“At The VOID, we combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of The VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.”
Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will allow guests to move freely (untethered) throughout the experience, engaging and interacting with friends, family and Star Wars characters.
“At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories,” explained Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of the division. “Through our collaboration with The VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”
There’s no official word yet from Lucasfilm as to when or where the story of “Secrets of the Empire” will take place in the larger Star Wars timeline, but the promotional art released this morning gives us some solid clues: the appearance of security droid K-2SO should place this around the same period as “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” while the location appears to be the volcanic planet Mustafar, which first appeared in “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” before popping up again in “Rogue One.”
A recent ILMxLAB tech demo showed off what it would be like to come face-to-face with K-2SO, now revealed to be part of the new experience from The VOID.
This is the future of virtual reality.
Posted by Fortune on Sunday, July 23, 2017
“Star Wars” has no doubt remained a key element Disney’s resorts for more than thirty years, but in the five years that Lucasfilm has been owned by Disney, the presence of a galaxy far, far away has grown significantly around the company’s American theme parks and shopping districts.
That longtime collaboration will be fully showcased with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019, but in the meantime fans now have another exciting Star Wars experience to look forward on both coasts while waiting for the immersive lands and attractions to open within the parks.