Massive Star Wars lands coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World

They're the largest-ever single-themed expansion of a Disney theme park in 60 years, but they're still a fundamentally conservative approach to the Star Wars franchise.

It's a natural fit, though, and fits right in with the Avatar-themed land coming to the underpopulated Animal Kingdom park in Florida (nicknamed "minimal kingdom" and called a "half-day park" by theme-park fans).

Certainly, it makes more sense that shoehorning a franchise set "a long, long time ago" into Tomorrowland.

When Disney bought the Star Wars franchise from Lucas, there was a lot of tooth-gnashing from Star Wars fandom. I think it was misplaced. Disney made a $4 billion investment in Star Wars, and large bets beget conservative stewardship.

George Lucas — for better or for worse — had changed a lot in his vision of what Star Wars meant since 1976. By the 1990s, he had reconceived the series as turning on macroeconomics and trade-disputes (I was never clear on how you could have a trade dispute once you have faster-than-light travel and an effectively infinite universe with an even distribution of natural resources, but whatever). I didn't much care for the Lucas prequels, or the remakes of the original trilogy, but the one thing you could say for them is that they were dynamic: Lucas wanted Star Wars to change and grow and even mature (pax Jar Jar), as Lucas and the world he lived in changed.

But if your relationship with Star Wars is based on an incohate yearning to relive the experience of sitting in a movie theater in 1976 and having your mind blown with awesome muppets and spaceships, you should love the Disney acquisition. The company is seemingly committed to re-creating that experience every summer until people stop paying to have it.

The new Star Wars stuff in the Disney parks is pure muppets-and-spaceships: you'll get to visit Mos Eisley cantina and you'll get to fly the Millennium Falcon. The lands will be populated by people in character as Star Wars aliens — possibly even "face characters" who get to talk and role-play, which is already the best thing about the Jedi Training Academy in Tomorrowland and hearkens back to the late, lamented Adventurer's Club, the best thing Disney ever built.

Don't get me wrong — that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

But there's no denying that it's a conservative vision of Star Wars, while Lucas had a radical vision. Star Wars fans, rest easy: Disney will draw you a warm bath of easy-to-digest liquid Star Wars forever (or until it stops making money).

"I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars," said Iger. "We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance."

These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts [Erin Glover/Disney]