You would have to live on another planet, in another galaxy to not have noticed all the hype regarding the latest release in the Star Wars franchise, ‘The Force Awakens’. The long awaited continuation of the long beloved series of movies brought to us by Disney. I, and many of my children are avid fans of the series and were very excited to see the story continued. Now that much of the hype is finally calming down a bit, I thought it would be fun do dig into the vault for an article that was first shared by our founder, Kevin Davies. This article was first published in November 2012.
In this article, Kevin speaks about the opportunity he had to visit the “Star Wars Identities” exhibit when it came to his local area.
*some information has been updated to fit with current times and numbers.
Long Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
by Kevin Davies | November 2012
When we think of Star Wars, many things come to mind:
a) a collection of seven films released over a 39 year period; b) a franchise that included much more than movies (books, action figures, games, fan clubs, etc.); or
c) the movie that launched George Lucas and Lucasfilm – purchased by Disney for over $4 billion.
I have never been a huge Star Wars fan but have enjoyed the movies over the years. (And yes – I am old enough to have seen the first movie when it was first released in 1977…) So when it was announced that the “Star Wars Identities” exhibit was coming to our city, I didn’t pay it much attention. But our youngest daughter did…
Kristen has been a HUGE Star Wars fan for many years – literally wearing out our VHS versions of Episodes 4-6 (which were then replaced by DVD versions). Needless to say, Kristen was keen to attend the “Star Wars Identities” and so we blocked out a day when we could go. I thought that I would simply go along, and “endure” the time at the exhibit with the bonus being a day of uninterrupted quality time with Kristen. A treat for me as a dad.
We ended up spending three hours in the exhibit and likely could have spent longer – it was that good; equal parts educational and entertaining.
The marketing lines for the exhibit are “What forces shape you? Get to know the characters of Star Wars on a whole new level.” As you enter the exhibit, you are given an interactive armband. As you move through the exhibit, the armband tracks your choices/answers to ten questions. From these answers your “character” is determined – as it relates to the Star Wars characters, of course.
While the character building activity was rather unique and fun, what really interested me were the various insights into George Lucas and his development of the movies and the main characters. Who would have known that Luke was originally to be female; as plans evolved for the first movie this changed into twins.
The exhibit provided us with amazing detail from Lucas in regards to character development. One example that was very telling was the character of Yoda. While the concept of the “wise master” didn’t waver, the sketches from Lucas of the form of the character evolved magnificently. The end result – the wizened little green creature with big ears – was nothing like the first “version” which had a striking resemblance to Santa Claus or one of the seven dwarfs from Snow White!
The artifacts in the exhibit themselves were also amazing. Three that really stood out: a “life size” pod racer; costumes worn by various actors in the moves; and a huge collection of the “models” for various spacecraft that were used in the first three movies. Again, we were very impressed by the attention to detail that went into all of these items – but especially the spacecraft. The intricate nature of their construction made it obvious as to why they looked so lifelike onscreen.
There was also much shared (both in written and audio tracks throughout the exhibit) into the similarities between various characters and life altering events that shaped their character development. Two examples were intriguing:
1. The different reactions – and life altering decisions – that were faced by: a) Anakin (a.k.a. Darth Vader) after the death of his mother; and b) Luke after the death of his aunt and uncle – his adopted parents. While Anakin developed an inherent fear of losing someone close to him (which eventually led to his move to “the dark side”), Luke chose instead to channel his grief into the pursuit of justice and “good”.
2. Parenting styles between Anakin’s mother and Luke’s adoptive parents were also explored. Luke’s parents were very strict and regimented; the exhibit maintained that this led to Luke following orders and instructions carefully in his later life. Conversely, Anakin’s mother left many large decisions to him – of note when he is asked (at a very young age) if he wants to leave her to become a Jedi. It was suggested that making his own decisions from a young age contributed to Anakin’s rebellious nature to authority figures later in life.
I came away from the exhibit with a heightened respect for George Lucas and his creative genius. His attention to detail, character growth, and plot development is truly remarkable. And admittedly, most of this had escaped me when I first enjoyed the films; I was too mesmerized by the special effects and the gratuitous violence!
My only complaint was the fact that according to my answers to the 10 character questions, I was closest to Chewbacca; I always fancied myself as more the Han Solo type.
I will now spend the weekend re-watching all of the Star Wars movies – this time through a “different lens.” May the force be with you…
Kevin, the founder of DedicatedTeacher.com. Kevin was a teacher for 12 years and an administrator for 11 of those 12 years. He then spent 11 years working for Apple in staff development, before delving into the world of eBooks. One of the first to grapple with the idea and possibilities of eBooks (and their educational value), he was the main man behind Dedicated Teacher from 2000-2013. –Kevin cooks a mean pork chop and has a particular affinity for the Criminal Minds television series.