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The Art of Star Wars

I was off to see Television in Edinburgh and my plans to hang out there for the weekend had all fallen through thanks to the Employment Services scheduling me a 9am interview on the very same day. So instead I was left with a mere afternoon in the city. As I pondered the entertainment choices open to someone trying to save money my mind raced off and came up with The Star Wars exhibition! Luckily my newly acquired unemployed status would grant me a cheap ticket and I was sure I’d be able to drag the excitement out for long enough to make it worth every penny.

As I got off the bus and wandered in the correct direction any fears I may have had of not being able to find the venue easily were quickly allayed by the enormous advertising outside the building visible from, well, space probably. I was pretty excited by the time I swapped cash for a entry sticker and made my way through to the five floors of goodness [and EVIL].

The ground floor set the scene quite literally with pre-production sketches and paintings of landscapes and characters we’ve come to know very well. Some were beautifully intricate, some hackneyed sci-fi book cover material. The drawings and artwork continued through the exhibition showing planning sketches for characters and costumes as they developed into their final versions. Jar Jar Binks in particular seemed to go through a number of rather bizarre possibilities. The exhibition then went on to show some of the character models with a full size Ewok and a rather fantastic looking Yoda.

Next floor up and I was overwhelmed to find myself surrounded by spaceship models. One of the enormous Imperial spaceships looked amazing from a distance and then hilariously turned out to be made of squares of white cardboard drawn on with pencil upon closer inspection. Not to mention Luke’s landspeeder complete with amusingly out of place Action Man style Luke. My bemusement was quieted somewhat when I came across the actual binocular things Luke used in The Empire Strikes Back. It just felt quite weird to see things like that still existing here in front of my eyes. But that was nothing compared to the next floor which had a number of actual costumes for the main characters from the films. There was Boba Fett’s battered armour, C-3PO and R2-D2 standing side by side and Darth Maul with his two sided lightsaber. I discovered that both Leia and Amidala are smaller than even me and that Chewbacca is huge! I even had a momentary twinge of horror when I saw the Emperor’s red cloaked guard man out of the corner of my eye which made me feel silly.

But the absolute pinnacle of the show is a darkened area where Darth Vader hides. As I wandered round the costumes I could hear the sound of the breathing through the partition and eventually I got closer and made my way in. I peered round the corner and saw him there in the dark staring ahead and I was honestly completely afeared by the sight. Instantly recogniseable, bathed in red light and breathing! It really did feel like he would look round any minute and see me. I knew it wasn’t real and I’ve never been scared of Darth Vader in the films but it was pretty hard to walk past his line of vision. I crept past and stood at the other side deciding I should go closer and have a proper look at the costume. But one more proper look and I couldn’t stop myself. I made for the exit superfast and found myself staring blankly at the nearest exhibit feeling pale and anxious. So I’d have made a rubbish rebel, cowering at the mere sight of Darth Vader. Oh well.

Also dotted around the floors were tv screens showing short programs about various aspects of the film such as the making of the costumes and the music. The best one is the making of R2-D2 complete with outtakes of him crashing into doors and falling off walls. There’s obviously a gift shop where I spent a happy ten minutes trying to stifle my amusement over the Lego Star Wars characters. I love these so much and wish they weren’t so expensive. Lego Darth Vader having a plastic lightsaber battle with Lego Luke! My favourite one is the Imperial Officer pictured here. He’s certainly not a man who’s afeared of Darth Vader – look at his brightly happy Lego smile. Ahhhh. And, err, Lego Luke’s about to burn a hole in your head, did you not think to take that lighsaber off him?

Star Wars Lego
Official Star Wars website