Star Wars Identities

Star Wars Logo

Since 1977 I have been somewhat obsessed with something that captured my imagination like nothing else before or since. I was just a kid when my Uncle Ed took me to see the then new release science fiction movie by George LucasStar Wars (at the time the full title was confusingly Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – what happened to the first 3? It took a few decades to get that answer!). What a mind-blowing experience it was. Good versus evil on an epic scale between the rebellion and the empire. I remember afterwards continuously drawing pictures of the characters, creatures (the cantina scene alone was incredible) and the amazing spaceships in which they crossed the galaxy.

Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader (Star Wars)
Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader (Star Wars)

Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Tusken Raiders, Jawas, Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, the Dianoga in the garbage compacter, Star Destroyers, Tie Fighters, X-Wings, lightsabres, blasters and the Death Star with its ability to destroy a planet! Too much for a kid to handle? No way, it was amazing!

The Empire vs. The Rebellion Star Wars
The Empire vs. The Rebellion

I remember the long and excruciating wait for The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) to be released but they were so good to see. Your favourite characters returned with the introduction of so many more like Yoda (“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”), Emperor Palpatine, Boba Fett (“He’s no good to me dead!”), Jabba the Hutt (“ho ho hoh“), Bib Fortuna and Lando Calrissian along with a host of new creatures like the Wampa, Ugnaughts, Tauntauns, the Sarlacc pit, Ewoks (“yubnub”)and the mighty Rancor. Seeing the bad guys hit back was great in Empire and learning that Darth Vader was Luke’s father was a shocking experience at the time (no internet spoilers back in those days)! Now this was the way to write a movie.

Luke vs Darth - the first duel Empire Strikes Back
Luke vs Darth – the first duel (The Empire Strikes Back)

Many years later in 1997 they released the “improved” versions of the original movies with better image quality, added scenes, changed scenes and more advanced special effects (for the time). It was fun to see the movies on the big screen again but ultimately the changes didn’t really improve the movies and today I still prefer to watch the originals.

Jabba's Palace - Return of the Jedi
Jabba’s Palace – Return of the Jedi

The same happened when the prequels (Episodes I to III) were finally released – The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). It was cool to see a young Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi along with a host of other Jedi such as Qui Gon Jinn and Mace Windu and see the development of Anakin Skywalker into a Jedi who and ultimately became Darth Vader. Along with the rise of Darth Vader, earlier we got to meet new Sith lords (on the dark side of the force) like Darth Maul and Count Dooku who were great characters too. The manipulation of Senator Palpatine (Darth Sidious) to take over the senate and the galaxy was a great story line, the introduction of Queen Amidala (the mother of Luke & Leia) and the battles, special effects etc. were great too but again they didn’t quite capture my mind like the originals (the good news was it opened the franchise up to a whole new generation). Alas the introduction of these new movies also led to more tinkering with the originals with scenes changed such as the replacement of Sebastian Shaw as the force ghost of Anakin Skywalker by Hayden Christensen who played Anakin in Episodes II & III.

The vast array of characters in the Star Wars universe
The vast array of characters in the Star Wars universe

Looking back, apart from Jar Jar Binks (why George, why?) the prequel movies were actually pretty good but they just didn’t quite have that same impact on me as the originals did. None the less I still enjoyed them and relished the opportunity to revisit my favourite galaxy far, far away.

Princess Leia Star Wars
Princess Leia

The good news for Star Wars fans is that in 2012 Lucasfilm was sold by George Lucas to Disney who are now making Star Wars sequels with the first (Episode VII) to be released in December 2015! Details are sketchy but it sounds like elements of the many excellent books written about the Star Wars universe following the events of Return of the Jedi and the downfall of the Empire will be a sound basis for a great deal of storylines. I cant wait to see what they come up with!

Star Wars Episode VII teaser poster
Star Wars Episode VII teaser poster by P.L. Boucher

When it comes to the characters of Star Wars you find yourself loving or hating them (sometimes a bit of both). The personality, abilities and actions of each character is what makes the movies so enjoyable for a vast audience across the world. Whether it is the bickering between C-3PO and R2-D2, Luke’s struggle with the dark side, the wise words of Yoda, the dark evil of Emperor Palpatine, the antics of the Ewoks, the aloofness of Han Solo, Chewbacca’s strength and loyalty, the fighting skills of the Jedi, Darth Vader’s dark powers and so on. The paths that form these identities are fantastic and really draw you into the movies.

Star Wars A Galaxy far far away
A Galaxy far, far away

While recently visiting Ottawa in Ontario, Canada I went to see the Star Wars Identities Exhibition which highlights how the identities of Star Wars characters were formed based on the forces of the environment they grew up in (like Luke and Anakin Skywalker on the planet of Tatooine), family, mentors etc. and how it relates to your own identity. You are issued with an electronic bracelet which you can use throughout the exhibition to build your own Star Wars identity and choose which side of the force you want to be on. I took the path of the dark side of the force and joined the Emperor (I always liked the baddies the best) and ended up being a fighter pilot trained by the legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett! The following is the full profile I received:

Star Wars Identities Exhibition
My Star Wars identity

Deano

Male Human

I was raised on the gas planet Bespin, where members of my community made their living designing and manufacturing cloud cars. On holidays my friends and I would traditionally watch the cloud cars race just off Cloud City.

My parents required discipline from me but gave me support when I needed it, and I inherited my natural abilities from them. Later on I spent some time with the great bounty hunter Boba Fett, whose guidance left me with knowledge I still use every day in my job as a fighter pilot.

I remember this one time when I was attacked by a Wampa and badly injured. I didn’t let this affect me too much, though; instead I worked tirelessly to protect Wampa habitat to avoid future attacks.

People often tell me I’m a generally adventurous and curious person, I also tend to be organised and prepared. But the most important thing to me is power: it’s pretty obvious to me that one should follow the leader or get out of the way.

The Force is very strong with me, so I wasn’t surprised when the Emperor tracked me down. When he offered me limitless power in exchange for my allegiance, I leapt at the chance and turned eagerly to the dark side.

This identities aspect of the exhibition was pretty cool and fun, but the main draw card was the vast number of props and costumes on display from all the Star Wars movies. From droids to Jabba’s mechanical eyes and everything else in between, what a treasure trove it was!

Star Wars Identities
The first display case is impressive!
Boba Fett Star Wars Identities Exhibition
Boba Fett
Imperial Stormtrooper Star Wars Identities Exhibition
Imperial Stormtrooper
EV-9D9 the head of cyborg operations in Jabba's palace Star Wars Identities
EV-9D9 the head of cyborg operations in Jabba’s palace (Return of the Jedi)
R2-D2 Star Wars Identities Ottawa Canada
R2-D2
C-3PO Star Wars Identities Exhibition
C-3PO
RA-7 Imperial Droid (Star Wars)
RA-7 Imperial Droid (Star Wars)
Sebulba - Pod Racer (The Phantom Menace)
Sebulba – Pod Racer (The Phantom Menace)
Anakin Skywalker - Pod Racer (The Phantom Menace)
Anakin Skywalker – Pod Racer (The Phantom Menace)
Tusken Raider Star Wars Idenitities
Tusken Raider (Star Wars)
Jawa Star Wars Identities
Jawa (Star Wars)
Tusken Raider Star Wars Identities Exhibition
Tusken Raider (Star Wars)
Jabba the Hutt eyes (Return of the Jedi)
Jabba the Hutt’s eyes (Return of the Jedi)
Princess Leia slave girl outfit return of the jedi
Princess Leia slave girl outfit (Return of the Jedi
Han Solo in Carbonite
Han Solo in carbonite
Yoda Star Wars Identities
Yoda (The Empire Strikes Back)
Chewbacca & Han Solo Bespin outfit (The Empire Strikes Back) Star Wars Identities
Chewbacca & Han Solo Bespin outfit (The Empire Strikes Back)
Early draft of what Han Solo and Chewbacca would possibly look like Ralph McQuarrie
Early Ralph McQuarrie draft of what Han Solo and Chewbacca could possibly have looked like!
Chewbacca
Chewbacca
Princess Leia Hoth outfit & Lando Calrissian Bespin outfit (The Empire Strikes Back)
Princess Leia Hoth outfit & Lando Calrissian Bespin outfit (The Empire Strikes Back)
Millennium Falcon Star Wars Identities
Millennium Falcon
Luke Skywalker pilot suit
Luke Skywalker pilot suit
Anakin Skywalker Jedi robes and speeder bike
Anakin Skywalker Jedi robes and speeder bike
Queen Amidala outfits Star Wars Identities
Queen Amidala outfits
Emperor Palpatine Star Wars Identities
Jedi & Sith Lords – Emperor Palpatine
The Jedi - Kit Fisto, Mace Windu & Luke Skywalker
The Jedi – Kit Fisto, Mace Windu & Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalkers lightsabre
Luke Skywalkers lightsabre
The Jedi - Obi Wan Kenobi & Plo Koon
The Jedi – Obi Wan Kenobi & Plo Koon
Darth Maul
Darth Maul
Darth Maul
Darth Maul
The interior of Darth Vaders Helmet
The interior of Darth Vaders Helmet
Darth Vader
Darth Vader – your time to choose: light or dark side?

The Star Wars series was an epic space adventure. To this day no other movies have truly captured my imagination like this and decades later the impact on kids today is much the same when they discover Star Wars for the first time (good parenting I say!). The Identities exhibition has a fantastic collection that brings back all those great memories. If you are a fan and haven’t seen it, make sure you go along to check it out. You will not be disappointed. May the force be with you.

Star Wars movie posters Episode I-VI
Star Wars movie posters Episode I-VI
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3 Comments Add yours

  1. John Müller says:

    My girlfriend just told me that the identities expo is coming to Paris so i started looking to find out a bit more about it and after reading your report i sure won’t miss it, thanks a lot for the resume

    1. Deano says:

      Thanks for taking a look at my blog. You will love the exhibition!

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