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How fans will build their own droids at Disney’s Star Wars land

Fully customizable BB and R2 units will interact with each other, and the park itself

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

When fans arrive at Disney Parks’ new Star Wars-themed lands, they’ll be able to build their own custom droids. Standing roughly 18 inches tall, these toys will be fully remote-controlled. With additional upgrades, these droids will also be able to react to the park itself.

Disney Parks staff was on hand at this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Chicago to demonstrate the new toys. They explained that guests will be able to build them at the Droid Depot, a new shop opening at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Anaheim, California, on May 31. An identical shop will also open at Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando, Florida, on Aug. 29.

Guests will be able to build either an R2- or a BB-series droid. A remote control will allow the droids to go forward and back, and turn left and right. Remotes will also be able to trigger additional accessories, such as blasters and a small collection of mock tools. The entire system runs on AA and AAA batteries.

The experience will allow guests to fully customize the look of their droid with multicolored parts, including an assortment of panels, stickers, and leg assemblies. In addition, droids will also accept a tiny card called a personality chip. Stock droids will always sound like R2-D2 or BB-8, but personality chips can be added to change those sounds. Three chips will be available, one each for the Resistance, Smuggler, and First Order factions.

droid customization of BB and R2 units at Star Wars Celebration Chicago

Once installed, personality chips will also allow droids to react to their trip through the theme park itself. For instance, staff said that droids with Resistance personality chips will be happy when in areas of the park controlled by the forces of good, and scared when in areas controlled by the First Order.

Additional accessories include a drink tray, identical to the one that R2-D2 carried on Jabba’s sail barge in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. There’s also a child-sized backpack, with a small flap at the top that will allow droids to peer out and chirp directly into your ear.

The team also showed off three non-customizable droids. The first was a small black mouse droid, which had a more limited set of features including a set of hidden toy missiles. R3-X, better known to Disney Star Tours fans as Rex, will also be available. Since he’ll be employed in the Galaxy’s Edge cantina as the DJ, his fully functional robot will also act as a Bluetooth speaker.

Finally, Galaxy’s Edge will offer a larger toy based on C-3PO. Standing next to an R2 unit, he looks to be just the right size. Goldenrod has lots of interesting functions, including removable limbs. The best part however is the button on his torso. When pressed, he’ll tell the whole Star Wars saga in Ewokese, just like he did in the iconic scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Pricing information was not available.

Photography by Charlie Hall/Polygon

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