Entertainment

Harrison Ford helps open Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — along with plenty of other stars

Stars of the original “Star Wars” trilogy reunited May 29 at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during the dedication ceremony for the new Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride.

Smugglers Run is the first ride to open in the new “Star Wars”-themed land, which launches for the general public on June 24, after a soft opening to reservation holders in May. A second ride will open later this year.

At the dedication ceremony, held in the new park in front of a life-size Millenium Falcon, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger was joined on stage by none other than “Star Wars” creator George Lucas and actors Billy Dee Williams, the original Lando Calrissian; Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, and Harrison Ford, who brought to life Han Solo.

The only major players missing from the original “Star Wars” trilogy cast were the late Carrie Fisher, who played Leia Organa in both the original trilogy and its sequel trilogy, and Peter Mayhew, who played everyone’s favorite co-pilot, Chewbacca. Fisher died in 2016, and Mayhew died in April.

Despite these losses, the dedication ceremony was a time for rejoicing.

“Now that the technology is here, this thing is amazing,” Lucas told the crowd. “It’s really something that we couldn’t even dream about 20 years ago. So I hope you enjoy it — it was a great experience for me — and I think it will change your life.”

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Actors Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill pose in front of the Millennium Falcon at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens on Friday, May 31, 2019, at Disneyland Resort in California and Aug. 29, 2019, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Richard Harbaugh Disneyland Resort

Both Lucas and Hamill alluded to the original Star Tours ride opening in Disneyland in 1987, saying that they couldn’t believe how far the franchise has come since then.

“I have to tell you, the last time I was at a Disney park with George Lucas was for the opening many moons ago of Star Tours,” Hamill said during his quick speech. “And I thought to myself, ‘This is inconceivable that I could be a part of a movie that gets its own ride in a Disney theme park? I better savor the moment, because it will never be surpassed.’ ”

“And yet,” he added, “look at where we are today.”

The audience responded with a rousing round of cheers.

Ford and Williams also spoke at Wednesday’s event, as did Iger.

Before the ceremony closed, there was a suitably Disney-level spectacle.

After a brief planned bit where the Falcon appeared to be broken, only to be fixed by Ford strutting on stage, fireworks and music from John Williams’ iconic movie score blared over the speakers.

The cast members waved at the crowd before walking onto the Falcon for a ride through the galaxy.

Hey, Star Wars fans: We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about Disneyland’s opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. What do you want to know about the new section of Disneyland? Send your questions, tips, praise and gripes to kleslie@thetribunenews.com.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.
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