The Star Wars Identities exhibition has finally arrived in Singapore, its final stop of a world tour that has spanned six years. I need not travel to a galaxy far, far away to get up close and personal with the original costumes, props and artefacts from this beloved film series. The force is so strong !
Stepping stone of my childhood; great, classic storytelling that still works nowadays. It was the first sci-fi franchise I ever watched. I was so young then, and for me, Star Wars wasn’t ever about the films. I don't remember my exact first time watching, and I was raised on it. I will always love the Original Trilogy “A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi” – without it there’d be no Star Wars. No Star Wars means no LucasFilm or LucasArts. One of many incredible things about Star Wars is that every time you think you've mapped out every aspect of how different a world without Star Wars would be, you think of something else. To put it more succinctly, why we all love Star Wars so much is because like us, it never stopped growing - and that’s really important.
I judge movies based off first experiences with them, and re-watch value. Pixar’s “UP” is my all-time favorite movie simply for the fact that every time I watch it, I experience the same emotions as the first time I saw it in the theater. Star Wars' Original Trilogy has the same effect on me. It is colorful, exciting and the story is phenomenal. I know this only scratches the surface of why I love Star Wars.
Even if you don’t love or enjoy it, everyone knows what Star Wars is. The original trilogy serves as the second act of the nine-episode Skywalker saga. It was followed by a prequel trilogy between 1999 and 2005, and a sequel trilogy between 2015 and 2019. Collectively, they have been referred to as the "Skywalker Saga" to distinguish them from spin-off films set within the same universe.
Star Wars Identities places visitors at the centre of the exhibition experience with an interactive identity quest that spans the duration of the visit. Closely interwoven with the collection and content, the experience gives the visitors the opportunity to discover their own personal identities in the Star Wars galaxy.
The exhibition is divided into sections focusing on the development of specific characters. And along the way, the tour asks you, the visitor, to go on your own journey and create your own Star Wars identity by choosing everything from the Star Wars universe – from the species you want to be to the planet you’re from, the natural abilities you desire or who you would like your mentor to be.
The spacious and exclusive showcase includes many authentic props, models, costumes, and artwork from the original Star Wars films. This rich collection comprise many favourites, among many others, such as Darth Vader, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Yoda, and the Millennium Falcon, are on display.
No Star Wars movie can hope to completely match the feeling of watching the original trilogy, simply because you’re no longer a child but a grown up who knows Chewie is a man in a suit and that you’ve probably missed your chance to grow up to be an intergalactic bounty hunter.
You'll expect to R2-D2, Yoda, C-3PO, Stormtroopers and many more. The original droid costumes (yes, that’s the actual R2-D2 costume worn by Kenny Baker) and puppets (yes, that’s the very Yoda you see in Empire Strikes Back) used during filming are all featured – every little detail on full display.
The creative process of filmmaking from early concept drawings, storyboarding, model making, through to puppetry and costume design, are highlighted at the exhibition.
Visitors can also create their own original Star Wars character by interacting with the different stations.
You’ll get to see an impressive array of the very starships and vehicles used in filming that simulated the experience of travelling at light speed. Marvel at the Imperial Star Destroyer squared off against a rebel squadron. Or geek out at the technical blueprints and models that detail the passion that went into the production of the beloved Millennium Falcon.
Star Wars features interesting and complex characters. Leia was a role model – she was a different type of Princess than those in most movies shown to girls my age. She was a political and military leader who led an army to freedom. It showed me a girl who was rough, tumble, daring and brash. That felt unique and rare at the time. Star Wars and Leia and Padme became fundamental parts of my childhood and identity. They showed me it was okay to just be me. Plus, laser swords and telekinesis and JEDI and battles in space. That was pretty cool too.
Star Wars has brought us some of the most iconic villains of all time, and Darth Vader is one of the most beloved characters of all time.
At the end of your journey, you decide whether you end up on the dark or the light side, and you’ll have your own personalised digital avatar to take home as a memento.
If Star Wars has taught me anything, it's that there's more good than bad in life. You live in a universe with at least seven billion other people, and even though some of them may seem like strange alien lifeforms, we all generally fight for the same thing: a peaceful place to live.
To that end, if you're looking for something as inspirational as it is action-packed, as thoughtful as it is original, then let's follow Yoda's timeless piece of wisdom: Do, or do not. There is no try.
The exhibition runs at the ArtScience Museum from 30 January to 13 June 2021.
May the force be with you (always).