The ‘Star Wars Identities’ exhibition has the power to convert non-fans to the ways of ‘The Force’, according to the attraction’s creator Laela French.
French is responsible for bringing the interactive exhibit to The O2 in London which features over 200 props, models, costumes and rare artwork from the franchise’s near 40-year history including the mold of Han Solo’s in carbonite, the Darth Vader costume worn by David Prowse in the original trilogy and the puppet of Yoda that was used in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’.
As visitors walk around the exhibition they learn about the complex notion of identity through the characters of ‘Star Wars’ and must participate in an interactive identity quest based on the journeys of Luke Skywalker and his father Anakin Skywalker. The choices the participants make result in the creation of their own ‘Star Wars’ character at the end of the tour and whether they will be on the Light Side or the Dark Side of The Force.
French is the director of archives at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts which is based at ‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas’ Skywalker ranch in California and as someone who is "not the biggest ‘Star Wars’ nerd" she wanted to come up with an experience that would impress those not obsessed with the galaxy far, far away.
Speaking to BANG Showbiz at a preview of ‘Star Wars Identities’, she shared: "I’m not the biggest ‘Star Wars’ nerd – disclaimer! But I did it 17 times the first time I went round because it was so much fun, this makes us go back to making us like little kids again.
"People said you’ll get uber fans going but I’ve really curated this exhibition for the non-fans. Uber fans are going to show up and I’ve put surprises in this for them and I make sure that it’s fresh for them, but I’m really focusing on the skeptics and the non-fans because that’s where the challenge is at … I think this is the best exhibition we’ve ever done for a ‘Star Wars’ collection, I’m really proud to bring it here to London."
‘Star Wars Identities’ is on a world tour so fans across the globe can see these artifacts as the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts is not open to the public and French has revealed she has been told by countless visitors that the exhibition has made entire families ‘Star Wars’ fans.
She said: "We’ve had people tell us, ‘Oh we brought our parents and they weren’t fans. And we converted them.’ I think that’s because they see the mythology underneath it, they see the heroes’ journey and all of a sudden the people who don’t do science fiction open up to it because this is more than science fiction. They appreciate it. We’ve had some great stories, my favorite is a family came and the son was the super-fan, he raised his kids as fans but the grandparents had never seen the films they came through ‘Identities’ and the grandparents were like, ‘Oh my god! I don’t know why we missed this in 1977, this is great!’ And then they had a movie-fest where the grandparents and the grandchildren watched ‘Star Wars’ together. That’s so cool, it’s great to hear."
Other highlights include the droid suits worn by Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and the remote control BB-8 unit from most recent ‘Star Wars’ movie ‘The Force Awakens’.
There is also artwork showing slug-like villain Jabba the Hutt with legs and the remote control used on the giant puppet in ‘Return of the Jedi’, and costumes worn by Harrison Ford as Han, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Mark Hamill as Luke.
‘Star Wars Identities’ runs from November 18, 2016 to September 3, 2017 with tickets on sale at www.theo2.co.uk/starwars now.