Editor's note: Realizing none of us on the SoundLife team qualifies as a “Star Wars” expert, we turned to Josef Mayor. He is a ninth-grader at Curtis Junior High School, son of Adventure editor Jeffrey P. Mayor, and is a major fan of the epic movie series.
“Star Wars” has always been a part of my life. I grew up watching “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” and quickly found a love for the movies as well.
Thursday I had the opportunity to visit the “Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibit at the Experience Music Project. As an avid “Star Wars” fan, I truly enjoyed getting a close-up look at the costumes that made the “Star Wars” characters who they are.
This exhibit will not disappoint, as it does an excellent job of not only displaying the costumes, but also explaining their inspirations and how they were made through the use of well-placed interactive tablets, short films, and information plaques.
All of this exhibit is worth seeing by any “Star Wars” fan, but here are some of my highlights.
ROYALTY AND REBELS: Entering the exhibit you are immediately immersed into the “Star Wars” universe with a pipe-filled hallway reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon’s corridors and blaring cantina music.
As soon as you reach the main room, you are faced with Queen Amidala’s throne room dress from “Phantom Menace.” The up-close look reveals intricate gold detailing too small to see while watching the movies. The whole costume speaks authority and makes you feel a little small looking at it. On the other hand, next to Queen Amidala’s dress, is Obi-wan Kenobi’s “New Hope” outfit. His simple tattered jedi robes provide a stark contrast to the royal gown of Queen Amidala. One represents a time before the empire, when people expressed themselves, and the other displays a time during the empire when heavy oppression makes fashion something the rebels do not have time for.
SIZE AND POWER: Up some stairs are a group of costumes from the original trilogy. The most striking costume on the floor is by far Chewbacca. With his height, he simply towers over the other costumes in all of his furry glory. Below him lies a tablet containing interesting concept art for Chewbacca and an explanation of how this concept art inspired the character Jeb from the new show “Star Wars Rebels.”
To the right of Chewbacca stands an Imperial TIE Fight pilot. TIE pilots being some of my favorite characters, I was excited and was not let down. The shiny black armor and pilot gear gives the costume some resemblance to Darth Vader and yet it is intimidating in its own right.
Off to the side, there is a little side room with music playing. As you enter the room, you quickly realize the music is the Imperial March and are confronted by Lord Vader himself. The red lighting and sheer size of Darth Vader sends shivers down your spine. Another well-placed tablet gives you insight into the inspiration for Vader and the concept art that eventually made him who he is.
SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Back on the main floor lies many more of Queen Amidala’s costumes. All of them are extremely elegant. The highlight of the bunch is the never-before-displayed wedding gown. Completely hand pearled, it’s simple beauty is astonishing.
FAMILIAR CHARACTERS: Behind the wedding gown ares the costumes of two very familiar characters, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Both of them appear just as they did in the movies and pressing a button will prompt a recording of Anthony Daniels describing how he became the iconic character that is C-3PO. Next to the button also are interesting diagrams that show how Kenny Baker stood inside the R2-D2 costume.
CHANGING LOOK: Also on the main floor sit four of Emperor Palpatine’s costumes. They depict his devolving from the respected Senator Palpatine into the evil Emperor. Each costume has progressively less flare, and by the fourth costume it is nothing but a dark red robe that hides all but a little of the emperor’s face. In addition, the costumes get smaller as Palpatine is injured by his battles with the Jedi.