Tom Nightingale reviews Star Wars Identities at the O2…
Star Wars Identities blasts its way into the O2 from the 16th November. With 200 props, costumes and models from the Lucasfilm Archives, it’s a unique experience to get a closer look at some original items that shaped the saga. But this isn’t just Star Wars a museum, the exhibition also asks ‘What Forces Shape You’ through an interactive experience which questions your own character and personality. Flickering Myth had the chance to take an early look around.
Firstly, the collection itself is immense, featuring a mixture of objects predominately from the first 6 films. There are costumes from all the favourites including Han, Luke, Chewie, Leia and Vader to name a few. Being able to physically stand in front of them gives you a more real sense of them. You can see how physically tall Chewie really is and examine the scorched detail of Boba Fett’s armour. Droids aren’t ignored either and whilst R2-D2 and C-3PO feature (of course), it’s an opportunity to get a closer look at lesser knowns such as EV-9D9, Jabbas palaces own torturing robot.
The creation of some of the characters is explored in detail, through production sketches, paintings and designs. For example, the exhibit shows Yoda’s evolution from a gnome like wizard called Minch through to the small green alien we now know and love. In addition the characters environments are explored with concept art including some Ralph McQuarrie pieces. Many of the spaceship models used in the original trilogy are also featured, including the Millennium Falcon. Closer examination of a Star Destroyer model or a Slave 1 means you can understand how detailed they really are.
‘What Forces Shape you’ is the tag line for Star Wars Identities and the theme across the exhibits explores how different characters and personalities are formed. Using Anakin and Luke as examples, as you progress you are asked to make decisions and answer questions about yourself which are logged onto a wristband. This in turn helps create a unique Star Wars character based on you which you can email to yourself. Mine resulted in a force sensitive, bounty hunter, Mon Calamari but there are millions of combinations.
This interactivity is a nice addition and a bit of fun but it holds an important message about uniqueness and embracing differences. As part of the ticket price you also get an audio guide, which works automatically as you go near an exhibit. It explains the backstory of some characters and audio from video screens but the technology is a bit hit and miss.
The sheer volume and variety of objects here is enough to attract and satisfy any Star Wars fan and you do get a lot for your money (it took around an hour and half to complete). There is something special about being able to look closer at actual props used the films and how they were created. The interactive element means its fun for all ages and is effective in delivering the theme of how people are shaped through environment, parents and choices. This generally matches the objects well, except at times it might seem a bit muddled, a display of ship models for example doesn’t fit into a show about identity but as a star wars fan it was a nice moment to get a closer look anyway and a worthwhile addition.
Overall it’s a fantastic experience that fans definitely shouldn’t miss but there is still more than enough here to keep even those with a limited interest satisfied. The exhibition runs from 18th November 2016 till September 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.