The Star Wars-theme Disney park Galaxy’s Edge is finally open for business this week, after a press launch that let the world get their first look at the many joys the park will offer to the public. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Disney CEO Bob Iger hosted an opening ceremony for the fans that was full of fun surprises for the most dedicated fans of the galaxy far, far away.
Those surprises included an appearance by the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, who took to the stage—which was situated in front of the park’s replica of the Millennium Falcon—to thank the fans for showing up. “This is something that we couldn’t have even dreamed about 20 years ago,” he told the crowd. “I hope you enjoy it. It was a great experience for me, and I think it’ll change your life.”
But the fun didn’t stop there. Next, Iger brought Billy Dee Williams, a.k.a. Lando Calrissian, to the stage to reflect on his time in the Star Wars films and what it meant to him to be at Galaxy’s Edge, in front of the Millennium Falcon. He is the ship’s original owner, after all—and he was sure to remind to the audience, who burst into applause.
Mark Hamill also took to the stage, and spoke about how crazy it was to be at Galaxy’s Edge when he was, in the past, overjoyed at simply being a part of a movie based on a single ride, Star Tours. “Star Wars for me has always been the gift that keep on giving, and that’s because of you,” he said.
Last but certainly not least, the crowd got one final surprise in the form of Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. He kickstarted the Millennium Force into action, but not before touchingly reflecting on the recent loss of Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. “Peter, this is for you,” he said, before pounding on the “hunk of junk” and marking the official opening of Galaxy’s Edge.
Of course, Mayhew wasn’t the only person missing from the lineup: Carrie Fisher’s absence was also notable, but we have to imagine she was there in spirit. Leia is a Disney princess, after all.
Galaxy’s Edge official opens this Friday, May 31.
Images: Disney, Lucasfilm