Like many other Star Wars fans, I was thrilled when The Walt Disney Company announced that they would be building a new land in both Anaheim and Orlando themed to Star Wars. When more information was released that the setting would be a new planet we had previously not been acquainted with, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. They didn't want people going in with preconceived notions and pre-set expectations, as would happen if they were to build Tattooine or Bespin or Endor or Coruscant or Naboo or Mustafar or Jakku or Crait. Instead, we were going to be introduced to the planet of Batuu, which once was a busy hub but is now a quieter outer rim planet. Black Spire Outpost has a contingent of First Order troopers as well as Kylo Ren himself, but there's a resistance camp in the nearby forest that includes Rey and Chewie. They wanted us to be able to step in and create our own stories in this world.
OK, I like new planets. We've been introduced to at least one in each new film, so I guess why not as a land as well. I wasn't sure about the "create your own story" part. To me, that was aimed at the cosplayers, which hasn't ever been my thing for any of the interests I have. But ok, I'm willing to see how that works.
Galaxy's Edge (the Disney theme park term for the land) aka Black Spire Outpost on Batuu opened at Disneyland on May 31, 2019. For the first three weeks after opening, reservations to enter the land were required and would give visitors a set block of time in which to explore and enjoy the land. I am blessed with many friends who also like Star Wars, and many were kind enough to include me on their reservations into Black Spire Outpost, so for those three weeks, I got to spend quite a bit of time on Batuu.
And from the first, I loved it. Sure, I mean, everyone's WOW moment is probably seeing the Millenium Falcon in person for the first time. I could stare at that thing for hours, imagining walking up the gangway, sitting in the cockpit, wandering around the ship.
But it's not just the Falcon. I love wandering around the marketplace, looking at all the decor and the different merchandise that's available.
I like visiting the sleeping loth cat, whose snores are quite loud during quieter times. I love looking up at the sky and stars through the latticework of the ceiling.
I love going to the Droid Depot and visiting the pit droids and K-2SO.
I've loved my visits to Oga's Cantina with different friends and even just strolling past and when the door is open, you can get a quick glimpse of DJ R3X inside and hear the sounds of people enjoying themselves.
I've loved wandering to the resistance camp, and I've even spent an hour late in the evening, standing outside the queue for Rise of the Resistance, listening to the radio transmissions of the resistance and hearing the sounds of the roaring creature (rancor?) in the cave as well as those rustling and stomping to the left of and behind the queue area. I've loved trying out all the new dishes at Docking Bay 7, and I love listening to the sounds while I'm sitting inside. There's something very soothing about it.
I love sitting at the tables by Ronto Roasters (sometimes enjoying a tasty ronto wrap), and on one side, you can hear the radio broadcast that also plays inside the restroom near the milk stand. I enjoy Smugglers Run but I don't always ride it when I'm in Black Spire Outpost. I've spent quite a bit of time in BSO by myself, and there's just something about being there, hearing the sounds, looking at the beautiful buildings and the small details. I've spent time there just reading, I've spent time there laughing and joking around with friends, and I've spent time there having fairly serious conversations with friends. It's home.
And as I spent quite a bit of time in BSO during its first few weeks, and having interacted with some of the Batuuans (and learning the local phrases and terms for things), I started wondering where they lived. Some commute in to work from outside BSO. I figured that like many other cities where the businesses are on the ground level and the dwellings are on the upper levels, I figured some must live on the second floor or higher in places like the marketplace. And with as much time as I was spending there, I started thinking it would be nice for me to have somewhere local to stay. And that idea took hold. I need an apartment on BSO. So, I started looking. I looked around the marketplace and by the speeders and by Savi's and in the First Order section, noting positives and negatives about each potential location.
|There's lodging above Savi's so that might work out to rent a room as well. It looks like nicer digs though, so it might be too expensive.|
|These apartments could be ok but they're really close to the cantina so it could be a bit loud. And it's close to the First Order square. I had been concerned about the blaster fire, but I'm learning there's remnants of blaster fire *everywhere*.|
|I'd been looking at this next to the milk stand. I'm thinking it might be the dwelling for the family that runs the stand so I could maybe rent a room. But a friend says it looks more like a religious building so I need to investigate further.|
After a while, I decided that I didn't need an entire apartment. Just renting a room would be fine, just somewhere I could rest and spend the night. And I came upon the perfect idea. I've been quite fascinated with the milk stand, which is run by Bubo Wamba Family Farms. I love the decor, and I do like both the blue and green milk there.
I noticed an entrance on the back side of the milk stand and decided I could rent a room in the back part. I liked the idea of the family farm and started to see what information I could find out about them to incorporate into my story but turns out, there was nothing. There are a few books due out in the next few months about BSO, which may or may not include any info about Bubo Wamba, but for the moment, it's a blank canvas that I can work with. Cool.
I decided that what made the most sense would be that I'd meet a member of the family who would facilitate my renting the room. And then I realized THAT was my Star Wars story. It wasn't about cosplay or creating another character for myself, but rather, about incorporating my time in BSO into my normal life. And, if I was going to have a Star Wars story, Robert definitely had to be part of it.
We lost Robert to lymphoma five years ago today. Robert was one of my best friends, and Disneyland and Star Wars were some of the interests that we shared. He was supposed to have gone to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim in 2015 where they ended up announcing Star Wars land, but that didn't happen. Robert would have loved Black Spire Outpost and to be surrounded by so much Star Wars. He would have definitely built at least one droid in the Droid Depot.
So in working out the story of how I was able to rent a room at the milk stand, it made sense that I would have become friends with one of the members of the Wamba family. So Robert was the inspiration to create that character, in name and in some details and in backstory.
This is my Star Wars story:
I was sitting and reading a history book on Batuu one night, and one of the locals stopped to chat. Rojuin Wamba is the third offspring of the family that runs the milk stand in Black Spire Outpost. We've gotten to chatting a few times and have become friends. I happened to mention to Rojuin that I was looking for a place, and Rojuin said that they have a private room in the back of the milk stand. Rojuin checked with their family, and it's all set. There's an entrance into the building behind the milk stand, and my room is to the left of the door. You might see some of their employees using that door from time to time to bring supplies and such into the building. You'd think it might be a bit loud with all that machinery going, but it actually has a hypnotic rhythm and hum that's very soothing. And I might get a chance to learn about how they process the blue and green milk, so I'm excited!
I would have spent a lot of time with Robert in Black Spire Outpost, and sometimes when I'm there, I'm sad that we never got that chance. So I'll just have to create adventures with Rojuin instead.