Dispatches from the Halcyon: The Design of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
The design of star wars galaxy – so often marked by the distinctly utilized feel of the future of cobblestone freighters and ancient architecture – posed a challenge to the creators of the Halcyon star cruiser. The premium cruise ship inside star wars: Galactic Starcruiser, now open inside Walt Disney World Resort, called for something closer to Lando Clarissian’s polished and immaculate Millennium Falcon than the widely used version of Han Solo.
“The design aesthetic actually connects the prequel era to the original trilogy,” says Doug Chiang, vice president and executive creative director at Lucasfilm. “You have a combination of old shapes, old materials with clean materials and clean shapes. It’s quite unique in that it’s one of the first ships that actually combines these two aesthetics.
Production designers from Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Imagineering ensured that surface details recall the finery of the city of Theed from Naboo, while Queen Amidala’s regal robes echo in the red velvet sofas that adorn the Atrium on board. And nods to Amidala’s vibrant costumes from Star Wars: The Phantom MenaceLeia’s high fashion and utilitarian Hoth gear from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Backand Qi’ra’s stylish accessories that highlighted her Crimson Dawn affiliation in Solo: A Star Wars Story, are all exposed from the tiling of the floors to the quilting of the bedding. “From the beginning, we were inspired by everywhere star wars lore,” says Ann Morrow Johnson, Executive Producer and Executive Creative Director of Walt Disney Imagineering. “What is the original ship, the Halcyon starcruiser, you wanna be? We knew it wanted to be a legacy ship from the original trilogy, so we decided it would be a Corellian-made ship, like the Tantive IV with in fact a rather similar silhouette.
“It’s really about combining different materials to create a new class of vehicles for star warsadds Chiang. However, while the design phase was similar to creating new ships and locations for any star wars film production, building a project of this magnitude was its own challenge. “One of the biggest challenges in designing the starcruiser was that it was a real environment,” says Chiang. “Aesthetically it’s the same [as a live-action production]. The big difference is in the execution. It has to be right because it has to be real. A film set can deceive the eye, but with passengers released on self-guided tours of space over two days, designers had to factor in elements that would normally be left unfinished or added in post-production. “In making a movie set, it’s painted plywood and there’s nothing on the back,” says Chiang. “In the starcruiser, we actually had to make it actually work. The buttons actually work. When guests open a door, it’s still in the story, so the suspension of disbelief isn’t never broken. And that created a really deep level of design and careful construction.
Build the star cruiser
Senior interior designer Bryce Schulte, of Walt Disney Imagineering, led the design teams, from production to graphics and even the culinary team, to ensure there was a visual line expressed throughout, from the interiors of the ship to the plating at dinner. The first challenge was to defy the expectations of rude people star wars galaxy fans know and love the original trilogy and star wars: Galaxy’s Edge, inside the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts. “They’re thinking about this kind of wild, wild west version of star warsSchulte says. “So we brought something completely different. We kind of flipped that on its head.
Every decision was made with existing stories in mind, beginning with research into the well-established form language to form the foundation of everything built in Galactic Starcruiser. Among his inspirations, Schulte paid particular attention to the yacht of Dryden Vos, first lightfor its luxurious interiors seen in Solo: A Star Wars Storyas well as the well-appointed Coruscant Apartments and Senator Amidala’s Naboo Retreat in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. And, of course, the Canto Bight casinos, where the upper class go to gamble in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. For an experience that invites fans into star wars, the glittering town of Canto Bight was the closest point of contact for passengers to become “part of that echelon,” says Schulte. “It was fun to draw references from it, but still do the Halcyon starcruiser feels like its own.”
In the great tradition of star wars participating ships as real characters in their own right, each piece of the Halcyon starcruiser has its own personality and design details that heighten the immersive experience as the story unfolds around the passengers. In the Crown of Corellia dining room, for example, at first glance circular chandeliers seem like a fitting stately accent piece. But look closely and the coloring changes with the mood, “a call and response in space,” says Schulte. “There is almost a kinetic reaction in these chandeliers. We wanted the ship to feel alive and feel like it was reacting.
Below deck, the Engineering Room houses the inner workings of the ship, giving the space the most used feel of any place on the ship. Designers shrunk the space to feel more intimate – a touch that accentuates Chewbacca’s towering height if you encounter the Wookiee while you’re in it – while adding more mechanical and industrial elements, and a trash chute. “You know, as an interior designer, if you had told me I was going to look at a production designer and say, ‘Yeah, we can put a garbage chute in there and more mud. The more slime the better,” Schulte laughs, “I probably wouldn’t have believed you.”
In the passenger cabins, functionality and comfort were essential, from the comfortable sleeping cabins to the discreet desk. “We wanted each space to have its own personality,” says Schulte, drawing inspiration from existing characters to help inform decorating decisions, imbuing the ship with the essence of these icons, with something as standard as the linens – quilted to pay homage to Hoth of Leia. attire – signaling to guests that they were not embarking on an ordinary pleasure cruise. And, of course, Chiang himself was an invaluable resource. “There is no better expert on how [Star Wars design] looks and feels,” says Schulte.
“A very impressive bridge”
One of Chiang’s favorite challenges was the Halcyon Starcruiser’s Bridge, a space that is integral to the storyline as well as the appearance of the ship’s functionality. Adorned with screens that gaze into the vastness of space, if you stop long enough, you can actually watch the stars go by as the ship glides toward its next destination. “We knew we wanted a very impressive bridge. Part of the whole experience is that when you enter the bridge, you see this huge window, this huge screen looking out into space. And the question was, ‘How do you do that?’ Chiang asks. In live-action cinema, “we can have visual effects outside the windows”, added in post-production or played on screens during filming. “Here we really have to create a real bridge with a giant projection screen that gave you a view.”
Many of the designers’ early concepts came to fruition in the final build. “In the initial brief, when we got the idea, we were developing a lot of blue sky concepts, things that we want to experiment with,” says Chiang. “And all of those ideas have remained the same. The only thing that really evolved was fitting into the tech box, trying to make sure everything worked aesthetically, but then trying to figure out physically, how do we actually run it? »
And with both star wars: Galactic Starcruiser and star wars: Galaxy’s Edge in concurrent development, the design team was able to integrate the full range of star wars design experiences for guests who board the starcruiser and visit the exotic world of Batuu. “When we were working on Galaxy’s Edge, we wanted to create a place that had a lot of history, so everything had a very tactile feel,” says Chiang. The starcruiser, on the other hand, exists, even though the glamorous ship is 275 years old in history. “We wanted it to feel very fresh and very new so that when you experience the starcruiser it feels distinctly upscale,” says Chiang. “You are involved in a unique experience there. And then when you arrive on Batuu, it’s like you really visit an exotic and ancient place.
It is this fusion of glamor and courage, of old worlds and new technologies, and the balance of power between dark and light, that makes the Halcyon starcruiser an unmistakable part of the star wars galaxy.
Read more Halcyon Dispatches:
Learn more about the design of star wars: Galactic Starcruiser in the latest installment of Halcyon Dispatches.
Book your trip on star wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort now.
Associate Editor Kristin Baver authored the book Skywalker: A Family at Warhost of This week! In Star Wars, and an all-around sci-fi nerd who always has one more question in an endless list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap! even when it is not. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver
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