The most recent addition to Disney has been the new Star Wars land, commonly known as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It opened in late May of 2019 at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA and in late August of 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida. If you are a visitor of Disneyland Parks then you would know that there is music in each of the lands. The music commonly for each of the lands is infused or inspired by the theme of that particular land. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is no different. The music for Galaxy’s Edge was created to fit the mood and feel of Star Wars. As in films, there are two kinds of music used in the land: 1) underscore– music that brings a mood or feeling of the scene for the audience and 2) source music– Music that can be heard by the characters in the film. For the underscore of the land, John Williams (The main composer of the music of Star Wars) was asked to compose the music. The source music is heard in Oga’s Cantina, which is remix dance music that can be heard in a typical cantina but with alien like sounds and words.
As a visitor of Galaxy’s Edge, lover of the world of Star Wars, and musicologist of the music of Star Wars, I will give a sort description of the music and how they are used.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite
This is a five minute symphonic piece that John Williams composed. In this short piece, Williams created several new themes (similar leitmotifs from the films) that fit each of the different parts of the land. In order for him to compose these new themes, Williams met with the Disney Imagineers to show him the art, models and animatics. He was given a complete understanding of the land, including the two rides Smuggler’s Run and Rise of the Resistance and the city of Black Spire Outpost in general. Each of these were taken into account by Williams when he composed the music so that visitors will get the same experience as audience members in the films.
Ron Ross conducted the piece with the London Symphony Orchestra. Among the recordings included the full piece, which was released digitally in May of 2019. There was also a 2 minute version recorded along with bits and pieces from the full piece. A total of one hour of music was recorded to be used in Galaxy’s Edge.
Give a good listen to the Symphonic Suite, it gives you the entire experience of Galaxy’s Edge in five minutes! It is just as powerful as any typical musical score by John Williams. And next time you visit Galaxy’s Edge make sure you give a listen to the music from the time you enter the land and as you experience and walk through the shops, restaurants and the market place. You will be sure to know that you have now become a part of the mood and feel John Williams created.
DJ R-3X and the Music of Oga’s Cantina
If you remember watching A New Hope, one of the most popular and famous scenes was the cantina. This scene was so loved by fans that there has been many inspirations that followed this scene. From the novels to video games, there has been some kind of cantina with musicians in almost every media. It is no surprise there is a cantina in Galaxy’s Edge, named Oga’s Cantina. Since the opening, this cantina has been so popular that there needs to be reservations made in order to attend.
Unlike the cantina in A Hew Hope, there is no live band in Oga’s Cantina. Rather than a band there is a droid DJ who plays various music mixes while attendees are enjoying a drink at the bar or tables. The DJ in the cantina is named R-3X but most commonly referred to as Rex. If you have been a regular attendee at Disneyland this droid may look familiar to you. He use to be RX-24 (also referred to as Rex) the droid from Star Tours who use to pilot the ships in the original ride before C-3PO took over as the pilot. He has returned to Star Wars, but as a DJ with a new name and a new job. You can now find him at Oga’s Cantina playing one of his playlists of music. Playlist No.1 can now be purchased digitally on iTunes (or other digital media). I’ll be taking a brief look at this playlist and the experience that I totally enjoyed when I did my second visit to Galaxy’s Edge.
The playlist that can also be purchased on iTunes includes a variety of different Star Wars artists and musical recordings by them. One of the selections is the famous Cantina Band Tune from A New Hope. However, since the original films both the band and the song were given names and a title. The band is called Figrin D’an and the Model Nodes and the famous tune from the film is called Mad About Me. Here at Oga’s Cantina you can hear a remix of this tune. The playlist includes two different versions of it. The playlist also includes a variety of different artists such as Mus Kat & Nalpak, Laki Lembeng, and Gaya to name a few. Some of the tunes have interesting names such as Turbulence, Bright Suns, and Oola Shuka. The band Dura Droids has a recording of a dance tune named Beep Boop Bop.
These artists and songs were created exclusively for Galaxy’s Edge. Most of them have no other reference except when you visit Oga’s Cantina. However, this last summer with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, Disney also published a series of media. One of which is a novel titled A Crash of Fate. Some of the bands are mentioned in this book as it takes place in the city of Black Spire Outpost. There will be more media published on Galaxy’s Edge so I am pretty sure more of these musicians will be mentioned in the books and other media. Keep an eye out for them. This is is a lot of fun when you enter the space as part of the experience.
One of my top favorite tunes in they playlist is Utinni sung by The Dusty Jawas. Of course just by looking at the name they are a musical band of Jawas. The tune even has the language and sounds of Jawas. Make sure you give a listen to this tune either on iTunes or better yet when you visit Oga’s Cantina.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a new and exciting place for Star Wars fans. It may not be a planet from the films or novels, but it does bring in the feel and experience of the lore and story. The Millennium Falcon is in the city as well as a cantina that is similar to the original cantina. You also get to meet characters from the films. Make sure you go up and talk to Chewbacca when you see him. He gave me a big warm hug when I said hello. The music is a huge part of this experience. You may not be listening to the music at every moment of your visit, but it sure does help with the experience and excitement. I see how this land was created with expansion both in the physical land as well as the music.