Galaxy's Edge

Patent Filings Hint at the Special Effects in Development for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Disney Imagineers continue to strive for an immersive Star Wars experience in Anaheim and Orlando

Next year, Star Wars, Disney, and theme park fans–ready for the most immersive in-park experience ever–will set their sights on Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Yesterday, DSNY Newscast posted about the cutting edge special effects being designed for both iterations of Galaxy’s Edge.

“So in the past, we’ve reported on how Disney intends on using a mix of laser-based projection systems and augmented reality headsets to create varying ‘lightsaber’ effects and experiences for Galaxy’s Edge,” said DSNY Newscast host, Jack Kendall on Tuesday, July 17. “The projection system seems most likely to be used within the ‘Battle Escape’ attraction in the new land, whereas the AR experience will be something that guests will be able to use.”

However, there are more developments and patent filings to report.

“It wouldn’t be Star Wars if you didn’t have laser blasts all around you, deflecting off of lightsabers,” said Kendall. “So that’s what Disney is working on, as we see in this patent [filings], that clearly show what can only be described as a Star Wars blaster, but the patent is titled ‘Theatrical Prop for Providing Repeatable, Daylight-Viewable Muzzle Flashes.’

“However as it goes on to explain the prop blaster is basically comprised of an extremely fast self-retracting bright light source, which means that it will convincingly give the effect of a blast, but unfortunately it would not have the continued trail of laser blast like we see fill the screen in any Star Wars movie.”

Meanwhile, Disney will attempt to show the effect of the blasts on the environment of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

“[There’s a] patent for a display system that transforms sunlit surfaces, which means that even if the surface is in direct sunlight, it will still be able to morph and change a seemingly static surface into something else with very little glare and even offer transparency,” explained Kendall. “Imagine this technology being used to show the impact of a laser blast on a surface — a surface that did not look like a digital screen, or glass, but instead a matte coated, fixed architectural wall that all of a sudden gets a laser blast blown threw it — bearing the scars of a battle scene.”

Finally, most Star Wars fans have wished they could see real life holograms (like Princess Leia’s in A New Hope) or Force ghosts (like Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back).

“They are indeed seemingly working on ways to create holograms and Force ghosts within the land,” explained Kendall. “However the patent would use a series of mirrored projections surfaces aligned from various angles to make the image appear to be semi-transparent and floating.

“Now this may draw parallels to the ‘Pepper’s ghost’ effect found in the Haunted Mansion’s ballroom scene in the Disney Parks, but this new patent would enable guests to get very close to the object projected and even interact with the projection.”

Check out the full video above for all the details and then peruse the diagrams below for the patent filings.

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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.