Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as Postcolonial Fantasy: Disney, Labor, and the Renegotiation of Border Discourses
In the summer of 2019, Disneyland opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, an immersive experience where visitors imagine themselves as members of a resistance army fighting against a colonizing power. As Disney’s theme parks have increasingly become conduits of global flows, the company’s original brand of U.S. exceptionalism has become incompatible with the company’s strategic needs. In this article, we argue that Disney’s newest themed land, Galaxy’s Edge, functions as a reworking of Disney’s colonial discourse and borderland narrative, where postracial borderland fantasies coincide with the conglomerate’s evolution from a national project to a global enterprise. Within this intergalactic borderland, racialized bodies play an important role in creating an authentic experience, but in doing so, perform various forms of labor on behalf of Disney. Through an analysis of the labor that racialized bodies perform at Galaxy’s Edge, we examine how Disney’s modern-day articulation of the borderland obscures the realities of the borderlands beyond the park.