In addition to hosting a plethora of original props, maquettes and artwork dating all the way back to production of the first film in 1975, the exhibit also takes attendees on an exploration of identity, the various elements of our heritage and environment that help to determine who we are.
There are numerous comparisons between the prequel's main character, Anakin Skywalker, and his son Luke from the original trilogy (which made me feel a little bad for not having watched them at all with Glory). Despite similarities in their genetic makeup, sharing the same homeworld, and both losing family members at a young age, Luke and Anakin couldn't be more different.
As you proceed through the exhibit, you are actually given the opportunity to create your own denizen of the Star Wars universe, which, despite my continued apprehensions about the prequels, continues to be a colourful and fascinating place to explore and inhabit. You choose everything from race and gender, to the parenting style you were raised with and culture of your homeworld, through friends and mentors, and on to a randomly determined event, like having your home planet destroyed (as happened to my Mon Calamari, Dubb Steffra ), or winning a city in a game of chance (which happened to Fenya's Nautolan, Nallah). Glory's Ewok, Gub Wootini, ended up chained to the belly of a crimelord, but managed to throttle him and escape. Good thing she saw Return of the Jedi recently, eh?
We watched the original trilogy last week in preparation of the visit, and the girls enjoyed seeing firsthand how much work goes into creating a cinematic setting as diverse and visually original as this one, but my favourite part was how many talking points the identity portion of the exhibit presented. Why are our friends important to us? How do the values we profess affect our choices? Why do similar people react so differently to the same situation?
Following the destruction of his home planet, I decided Dubb Steffra should choose to dedicate himself to the preservation of its culture. I couldn't tell you why I didn't choose the more adventurous path of joining the alliance and overthrowing the despot responsible, but at the time I had to choose, the notion of a planetary identity being completely extinguished, even a fictional one, seemed impossibly tragic. Surely if that could be prevented, the despot could never truly accomplish his genocidal mission, could he?
For myself, the exhibits' narrator asserting that the difference between a mentor and an educator is the fact that a mentor educates through example and not just lessons should not have been a revelation, but it kind of was. Who around us are we mentoring to and we don't even know it?
The exhibit's program asks us to consider 'what forces shape us?' Star Wars is a fascinating filter to examine this question through, and anyone looking for insights into how both movies and people are made will find it worth spending an hour or two at this exhibition.