My Star Wars Moment #7: Thomas and the Star Wars Identities Exhibit

We’ve got an amazing My Star Wars Moment for you today. It’s a long one, but a good one! Thomas Storaï is a major fan and we love chatting to him on Twitter. He runs the website Fan of Star Wars and knows a lot about a lot of fandoms. The pictures below are his own and we love this Moment for the excitement it shows and the passion for both the Originals and the Prequels.

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September 2014 was the first time I went to Paris, the capital city of my country, and at that time it was the last month of the Star Wars Identities Exhibit in Paris. It was something I couldn’t miss since I’m a Star Wars fan and I’ve always wanted to go to something like this to see props, costumes, maquettes from the movies. Star Wars Identities made that dream come true. Thus, on my third day in the city I went to the Exhibit. It was at La Cité du Cinéma, a cinema school and a movie studio created by Luc Besson. What is the Star Wars Identities Exhibit? It is an exhibit, as its name suggests, and contains original concept art from the movies and the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, costumes that the actor wore, props, maquettes and life size vehicles that were used for the movies.Displaying DSC02374.jpg

But it is not only just an exhibit, it is an interactive one in which you can create your own character and follow their story. At the entrance they give you an electronic bracelet and a headphone connected to a little device that looks like a compass that guides you and helps you make the choices you need for your character. When I arrived at the building in which the exhibit was, there was a poster, not just big but a giant poster, of Darth Vader’s helmet made of Tie Fighters and other Imperial ships. A miliar one was made for Padmé’s head but instead she was made of elements from Theed and Naboo, very beautiful art. There was also a small wall with the trailer of Star Wars: Rebels playing again and again and next to it 5 original concept art images from the series. I stayed in front of the TV that played the trailer for a few minutes allowing me to watch this preview to the series three or four times. Then I headed to the waiting line to enter the exhibit. There was a small Star Wars bar next to it, and although I didn’t take anything because the food they were selling was very costly, it was fun to see the name the Star Wars-­ish names they gave to the sandwiches, pizzas …

In the waiting line they gave me the bracelet and the headphone and sent me with a group of fifteen people to the first room of the exhibit. It was a dark room with a big black wall with pictures of Star Wars species such as­ Wookiee, Human, Togruta, Kel Dor, Twi’lek, Mon Cala and two or three other species. This is where the adventure started. I had to choose one species to be my character and I hesitated for some time between Wookiee, Human, Kel Dor or Togruta. (I love the Wookiees, Kashyyyk is one of my favorite planets; Human because I’m a human; Kel Dor because Plo Koon is Plo Kool as in Dave Filoni’s autograph; and Togruta because of Shaak Ti, another great Jedi!) After moments of reflection, I decided to go with a Kel Dor, which is a change from usual as in the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic, I have three human characters.

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Then I moved to the second room. It contained a lot of awesomeness! There was a Storm Trooper costume with three helmets (one from ANH, one from ESB and one from ROTJ), next to it three Clone Troopers maquettes that were used for the Kamino scene in AOTC in which Lama Su presents the Clone army to Obi­-Wan Kenobi. Whenever I got close to one of the props or costumes the headphones went on and a voice talked about what I had in front of my eyes; it told the story of how they created the Storm Troopers, how the crew came up with the design of the Clone Trooper armour. There was also Boba Fett’s ROTJ armor with a maquette of the Slave I and next to it my two favourite droids: ­ R2­-D2 and C­-3PO! It was the costumes Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels had for A New Hope.

It was really impressive to see them, it really felt like they were real, as if I was transported to the Star Wars universe! Truly beautiful! There was a battle droid from The Phantom Menace too and different concept arts from the movies including drawings by Ralph McQuarrie. One of them was what gave birth to the character of Derrown in TCW, it was a concept art from a Cantina character in ANH. Speaking of the Cantina there was a mask of Ponda Baba, the guy who lost his arm after Obi­-Wan cut it off! There was also a wall dedicated to Jar Jar Binks and how he was created, the different looks the crew developed for him and the challenges of who to take for this role. Michael Jackson, the singer, was a friend of Lucas and at the time of TPM. He wanted the role but Lucas refused because he was afraid that Michael would draw all the attention on him and people would forget the movie. That’s actually a pretty nice anecdote from the pre­-production of the movie. Then there was a part dedicated to the Pod Racers sequence of TPM! There were maquettes from all the pilots and the upper body of Dud Bolt’s puppet with two sticks at the back. When they shot the scene they had to use a puppet for Dud that they moved with these sticks. They put the body in the pod racer and then they moved his arms and head, thanks to the sticks attached to it.Displaying IMG_20140920_110645.jpg

The exhibit was able to give a look at the behind the scenes of the movies and this was a fantastic part of the experience. How they shot this scene or that scene or how they created this character, how they made him move …. And when someone says Pod Racer room, you’d think there’d be a pod racer, right? Well, there was one! It was Anakin’s pod racer, it was a life­size pod racer that they really built for the movie. People often forget but TPM, AOTC and ROTS used CGI yes but not just. They shot on real sets with real vehicles just like ANH, ESB and ROTJ and as a little reminder ANH, ESB and ROTJ used CGI and shot scenes on blue screens just as the Prequels! This Exhibit a very good reminder for people who may have forgotten this truth.

To come back to the pod racer, there was also Anakin’s costume in the seat of the pod racer. It was forbidden to touch any props, costumes and most of them were behind a glass but some were not so we could actually touch them. Anakin’s podracer wasn’t behind a big glass and I actually couldn’t resist to just put my hand on the podracer, just to be able to say I touched a props from the Star Wars movies!!!!!! I wasn’t on the set of these movies but I was able to touch something from it. It’s a symbol. When you are a Star Wars fan as I am, it’s really something special to be there, to see these things. It is like going back to being a kid and discovering all these props and costumes from our beloved saga.

The next room was focused on Jabba’s Palace. There was the obviously well­-know slave bikini but also Han’s carbonite which was very amazing! There was Jabba’s eyes from the ROTJ Jabba puppet and a TCW concept art of him. As I moved in the exhibit there were different kind of computers to which I had to connect my bracelet to make choices. ­There were questions to which I had to answer that determined my character’s choices. My home was Kashyyyk, I decided to be a jedi, my enemy was the fierce wampa of Hoth (I’m not really sure why, he was my enemy but that was fun!), my “spiritual quote mentor” was Qui­Gon Jinn (interesting choice, I would have guessed Obi-Wan so Jinn was a surprise, but a good surprise!).

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Next room was Yoda’s puppet from ESB and a booth dedicated to Ahsoka Tano with concept art, Ahsoka and Anakin TCW maquettes that were used by the animators to see how they were going to animate the characters. I really loved this part and was very happy to see that TCW was included in this exhibit. Lucas said that TCW was part of the saga (we know it is Disney canon but people often believe the saga is just 6 films and forget TCW so I was so happy the exhibit didn’t not forget this part of the saga and included it!). The next room was a big one including at the center maquettes from different starfighters and cruisers from the Rebellion era. There was a Mon Calamari cruiser, Star Destroyer maquettes, snowspeeders, X-­Wing, Tie Fighter, AT­-AT, Imperial Shuttle, Y-­Wing, A-Wing, B-­Wing, the Millenium Falcon … truly fantastic. So many things to see and only two eyes! There was a part dedicated to rebel pilots with Luke’s X-­wing pilot suit and different helmets from pilots ­ Wedge Antilles, Jon “Dutch” Vander … There was also Leia’s Hoth costume, Han Solo’s Bespin costume and the CHEWBACCA costume from ESB. He’s as tall as in he looked in the movies!

Then there was a room with Padmé Amidala’s costumes,­ one from TPM (from the Naboo victory celebration), one from AOTC (the white gear from Tatooine) and one from ROTS (the senator one when Palpatine declares that the Republic becomes the Empire). It’s really amazing to see how details the costumes are. It’s like travelling to the Star Wars universe, like being with the characters. The following room was Anakin’s room with his costume from ROTS and his speeder from AOTC. Then came the last room dedicated to the Force users. There was Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker from ROTJ, Obi­-Wan Kenobi from ROTS, Mace Windu from ROTS, Plo Koon from ROTS, Kit Fisto from ROTS, The Emperor from ROTJ and even Darth Vader costumes!Displaying StarWarsIdentities_thomas_541d49730930c.jpg

The three last rooms were definitely my favorites with all these beautiful costumes that the actors wore for the movies! Finally, to finish the exhibit, in a dark room the pictures of our characters were projected on big screens. It was great to see your character on a big screen, very impressive. It was really a fantastic day at Star Wars Identities, one not to forget for sure. Being able to see all these accessories, all this stuff that was used for the movies is something special, something that doesn’t happen everyday. I became a fan of this saga at the age of three when I first saw the Original trilogy, it was at the time of the cinema release of the special editions. I saw TPM the day it was released in cinemas, and the rest of the saga of course. Since the day I became a fan, I’ve never stopped being a fan, so being able to get a behind the scenes look at these movies is a dream come true.

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