IGN spoke to Allison Friedlander, the designer of the Batuuan Spira, and Pete Davison, Director of Disney Gift Card Services, about making the Spira a reality.
“The concept was really… nothing that you wouldn’t find in the world of Star Wars would be in the land,” Davison said. “And when you think about a traditional plastic gift card with Mickey on it, it didn’t really resonate.”
Friedlander said she delved deep into the history of currency in the Star Wars universe for inspiration. “We were looking at credit chips, there are some planets in the Star Wars universe that use animal hides as currencies, so there’s a lot to look at,” she admitted. “We had talked about a coin for other projects, so we went to the [Imagineering] team… they didn’t want it to be just a circle, they didn’t want it to look like a quarter or a silver dollar or anything because that’s too earthly – it needed to be otherworldly.”
Friedlander started designing the Spira before Galaxy’s Edge was finished, which meant that she was mostly working from concept art and confidential information from the Imagineering team. “We just got to play around with a lot of different shapes; ten-sided decagons and strange papers with black spires sticking out,” she revealed. “And eventually, we landed on this icon that, if you order one of the desserts in the land, you’ll actually see that it comes on a piece of chocolate. But it’s this icon that represents the black spires that surround the outpost on the planet of Batuu.”
The backstory the team came up with was that when early settlers were founding the Black Spire Outpost, “if they needed currency for their marketplace, they would be carving what they saw around them on some metal,” using the shapes of the spires as inspiration. The team finally settled on a six-sided, elongated hexagon made of antiqued metal, to indicate that the medallion has probably been passed from hand to hand across the galaxy over the years, becoming worn and weathered with time.
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