'Star Wars' exhibit offers rare peek at original artifacts (pictures)
The "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" exhibit allows fans of the hit films a close-up look at dozens of original models and props.
Millennium Falcon front
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- "Star Wars" fans who want to get a close-up look at some of the films' original history should make their way to Silicon Valley before February.
This weekend, the Tech Museum of Innovation here begins showcasing "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination," an exhibit that has been traveling the country for the last eight years and is now making its final stop, almost in George Lucas' backyard.
Visitors to the show, which runs through February 23, 2014, will get an up-close view of 70 original artifacts from the six "Star Wars" movies, including costumes, models, props, and more.
This model of the Millennium Falcon was used in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope."
According to a sign in the exhibit, the "Star Wars" filmmakers "treated the Millennium Falcon more like a character than a ship. It has a name that is perhaps a bit too grand sounding for a beat-up old freighter. What most sets the Falcon apart is the care that went into giving it a distinct personality -- a powerful, but cantankerous one."
An original landspeeder prop that was used in the making of "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope." "Like most of the technology in Luke Skywalker's life," a sign in the exhibit reads, "his old T-34 Landspeeder has seen better days. Despite its dents and dings, Luke keeps it running, even though there are newer models."
This is a small model of Luke's Landspeeder, made for distant shots of Luke, Obi-Wan, and the droids entering Mos Eisley. "It may look crude close up," an exhibit sign reads, "but seen from a distance, it is indistinguishable from the real thing."
In order to make the Imperial Star Destroyer "Devastator" seem huge, the "Star Wars" filmmakers "detailed its surface very finely [as well as] by running the camera very close to it." This model was created for Episode IV.
This Rebel Alliance Y-wing starfighter was used in the original three "Star Wars" films and was "a perfect example of George Lucas' 'used universe' design philosophy for 'Star Wars,'" a sign at the exhibit reads. "Just like the real world, some things in the 'Star Wars' universe are old, repaired, and modified."
According to a sign in the exhibit, "C-3PO sums up people's relationships with technology in 'Star Wars.' Robots are literally child's play. [Nine-year-old] Anakin Skywalker built C-3PO entirely from scrap parts to help his mother with her work. He never quite got around to finishing his project, so C-3PO remained uncovered for years."
Known as the Sand People, the Tusken Raiders (and the Tusken women), were from the original 1977 "Star Wars." According to the exhibit, they are "mysterious dangerous desert dwellers. The local human and Jawa populations try to stay clear of them. Their outfits completely hide their bodies, while providing their eyes, noses, and mouths with protection from the bright suns and blowing, choking sand.
"One challenge confronting the filmmakers shooting 'A New Hope' in 1976 was to create convincing aliens using rubber, plastic, and cloth costumes. By completely covering the Sand People, they leave it up to your imagination to decide what the Tusken look like under the wrappings."
This is a model of Sebulba's podracer, which was used in the making of "Episode I: The Phantom Menace." According to the exhibit, "the design features of [this] podracer, from its garish paint scheme, to its enormous engines, and distinct sound, all are meant to make it easy to distinguish it in the crowded field of podracers, and to remind us that Sebulba is a dangerous opponent."
To help celebrate the opening of the exhibit at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif., several stormtroopers, members of the 501st Legion were on hand. Here, two of them take their own pictures of the exhibit.