Last Thursday, Legoland California opened up their Star Wars area in Miniland with some big fanfare. The official ribbon cutting was done by Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, and Carson Weiner, a young Star Wars fan representing the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Also on hand for the celebration were James Arnold Taylor and Catherine Taber of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and about 60 costumed members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion. Other VIPs included skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and “Wait, I was in Star Trek not Star Wars” Christian Slater and Dancing with the Stars‘ Brooke Burke.
With Shawn Crosby in his role as Obi-Shawn as emcee and with pyrotechnics going off, Jedi, Imperials, Rebels, Ewoks and bounty hunters helped to unveil each of the seven Star Wars themed dioramas. Each of the six Star Wars films as well as The Clone Wars has its own diorama, showcasing memorable planetary scenes, including some animatronic action and sound effects.
After the ribbon cutting, the VIPs and media mixed with the troopers for some fun photo ops among the dioramas, which are constructed from 1.5 million bricks. After the park’s main opening, the general public also got a chance to hang with Cad Bane, Rebel pilots and Imperial troops in the Star Wars miniland and around the park. In addition to the dioramas, Legoland also opened the nearby outdoor “Empire Emporium” specializing in LEGO Star Wars merchandise, and brought out the large “The Empire Strikes Back” mural, first seen and assembled at Star Wars Celebration V. Also for the occasion, The Sand Guys, a Travel Channel team of sandcastle sculptors constructed a sand diorama of LEGO Star Wars near the park entrance.
The dioramas include:
- Episode I: Naboo – The Gungan Army takes on the droids of the Trade Federation outside Theed Palace, where in a hangar, Naboo Starfighters take flight and Qui-Gon Jinn battles Darth Maul.
- Episode II: Geonosis – While Obi-wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala face beasts in the arena, a larger ground battle takes place on the orange plains between the droids and tanks of the Separatists and the Republic forces of clonetroopers, gunships, and walkers led by the Jedi.
- Episode III: Kashyyyk/Mustafar – On Kashyyyk, Separatist forces invade a beach from defending Wookiees and clones with massive vehicles, with Yoda overlooking from a vantage point. On Mustafar, Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker duel in the lava below a large landing platform where Padme’s ship sits with the droids.
- Episode IV: Tatooine – The Lars moisture farm and the streets of Mos Eisley form this diorama, with an overlook bluff with Luke Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi, while stormtroopers search for the stolen droids and try to keep the Millennium Falcon from taking off, and the cantina band plays for the crowd in the bar.
- Episode V: Hoth – Luke Skywalker is everywhere: in the bacta tank in Echo Base, in the wampa cave, and dangling under an AT-AT in the middle of the battle as Imperial troops lay siege to the Rebels on the ice planet.
- Episode VI: Endor – Darth Vader arrives via Imperial shuttle, while the Rebel troops attack the bunker for the shield generator and Ewoks assault on AT-STs and speeder bikes and live in treetop villages.
- The Clone Wars: Cristophsis – Anakin Skywalker climbs atop a giant enemy droid, while Obi-wan Kenobi and the Republic forces clash with the Separatist droids on the crystalline planet Cristophsis, in the shadow of an eight-foot tall skytower.
No word on when the Alderaan diorama will be installed, but I’m sure it will include a large pile of disassembled LEGO bricks scattered across the Carlsbad theme park.
Check out more of my photos of the opening day festivities and the Star Wars area dioramas. Want more photos and video of the fun? GalacticBinder.com has some great coverage, and Geek with Curves also got some good photos in her flickr album.