Last week, I visited the lava planet Mustafar, infiltrated an Imperial base as a stormtrooper, battled alongside the cantankerous droid K-2SO, and collected data on a piece of secret Imperial cargo that could have far-reaching ramifications for the fate of the galaxy. And I did it all without ever leaving a tiny warehouse in Glendale, California. What I experienced was Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, the much-anticipated collaboration between virtual reality park designers The Void and ILMxLAB, the immersive entertainment wing of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic. From the moment the companies announced they were working together on a Star Wars-based VR adventure, with locations opening in both California and Florida, expectations have been high. In projects like Ghostbusters: Dimension, The Void has demonstrated that its combination of free-roaming VR and physical mazes offer a unique form of entertainment, while xLAB has been breaking new emotional and narrative ground with pieces like Alejandro González Iñárritu’s museum installation Carne y Arena. And then there’s that whole Star Wars element — with Secrets of the Empire opening just as fans hit peak hype for Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. Having gone through a prototype version of the experience in that Glendale warehouse, it’s clear that this experience does more than just deliver on those lofty expectations. For mainstream audiences, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire may be the first time virtual reality actually delivers on the Holodeck-esque potential it’s been promising all along. Photo: The Void / ILMxLAB Secrets of the Empire starts with a briefing. Groups of up to four guests are shown a video from Rogue One’s Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). There’s a piece of Imperial cargo that’s been brought to the planet Mustafar, he says, and while he was originally going to retrieve it, he’s now under attack. It’s up to the group of guests to go undercover as stormtroopers and get the job done. From there, audience members suit up with a custom head-mounted display, lightweight backpack computer, and a haptic vest, and step into an adjoining room. Pull down the headset, and the real world melts away: where