Savi’s Workshop Closed By COVID…Sort Of.

The original Savi’s Workshop lightsaber building experience, a hallmark of the pre-COVID era of Galaxy’s Edge is currently unavailable. While Savi’s Workshop closed, in its place is a new shopping experience for legacy lightsabers.

UPDATE: The union and Disney have reached an agreement. Savi’s Workshop will reopen on September 20th.

Physical Distancing Changes

The original experience brought approximately 30 people (1 builder, 1 observer), plus roughly 10 to 12 cast members into a relatively small room. While the room’s ceiling is high, the building area takes up most of the space. Guests are packed in fairly tightly, and the experience requires frequent interaction between cast members and guests including both parties handling the in-progress lightsaber at multiple points. In a world where every touch carries risk, limiting hand-to-item contact is paramount.

The main performer, going by Kembe, also needs to be heard by all guests from any point in the room. With the required face masks, this could become difficult and cumbersome for both Kembe and guests farther away from them. The nuanced performance by Kembe would also be harder to understand and limit the actor’s ability to emote. Given that a good chunk of the cost is the performance and experience, guests expect the best. Physical distancing rules prevent that.

Savi’s Workshop closed…because of contracts?

Kembe addresses guests during the original Savi's Workshop experience
Kembe of The Gatherers on Batuu

There is another possible reason Savi’s Workshop closed or is, at least, not the usual experience. Actors’ Equity Association, the union for non-character performer actors (ie: Rey, Kylo Ren, Mickey Mouse, etc.), is currently fighting with Disney over working conditions brought on by COVID-19. It is believed that the part of Kembe is performed by an Equity actor. Due to this contract dispute, no Equity members are working right now. None of the live shows are running at any of the parks, not just Galaxy’s Edge. Without Kembe, there is no Savi’s Workshop experience.

An Updated (temporary) Experience

The new experience takes what was at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and moves it next door. All Legacy Lightsabers are now sold at Savi’s. You’ll still get to hold whichever sabers are available, try out blades, and make purchases of lightsaber-specific accessories. Prices haven’t changed, but lightsaber availability is currently in flux due to shipping and supply struggles brought on by the pandemic. Before the first official day, multiple lightsaber styles had sold out or were at least temporarily unavailable including Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Knight saber and the Reforged Skywalker hilt first seen in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

Currently, two parties are allowed in the room at a time. Guests enter through the workshop’s exit and are spaced at opposite ends of the room. From there, you can select and demo any available lightsaber or blade. Music from the main Savi’s experience plays during your visit to heighten the sense of wonder you should be experiencing.

Once you’ve made your selection(s), you’ll move to the workshop entryway to select any desired accessories including blades, belt clips, and carrying cases before stepping outside to pay at the original Savi’s Workshop check-in desk. As before, discounts do not apply to the lightsaber hilts themselves but are available for the accessories.

Not bad or better…just different.

Few things can top the original Savi’s Workshop experience. For a hardcore fan, it can feel like a religious experience. I used to think that was hyperbole until I had random guests say the same in casual conversation.

The hope is that the full Savi’s Workshop experience will return once the Actors’ Equity dispute is resolved, but that may take a while. The one bright side is now more people will be able to at least visit the workshop and take in the ambiance. Like visiting the Sistine Chapel as a tourist, it’s not quite the same as the full thing, but you can still feel a sense of wonder, excitement, and grandeur in the room.

For a full walk-through of the new experience, check out our video below or on YouTube.

Adam Soucie
Adam has been a Star Wars fan for as long as he can remember, dating back to watching the original trilogy on VHS and collecting his first action figures with the Power of the Force launch in 1995. His favorite character is Kanan Jarrus, and his favorite piece of Star Wars is the Rebels animated series.

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