It’s not often when you have a museum based on one lone movie director, even if a lot of people would want such a thing for dozens of movie directors if money was never an object. And money hasn’t been an object for George Lucas since the days just prior to “Star Wars.” With “American Graffiti” as a major film classic under his belt by the time “Star Wars” released, it perhaps put a kibosh on him making much smaller films for the next 40 years that would have accumulated a much smaller wealth.
No doubt Lucas looks at those “what-if” possibilities and how much he could have given to the art of film rather than to the commercialization of it. I’ll never fault “Star Wars” for anything, though, since the pop culture behind it all is one that breeds mostly goodwill and a favorite time for many who grew up in the era of the original trilogy. Having a museum that recognizes this, plus Lucas’ cinematic imagination and technical innovations is something that makes sense to most people. While some may carp that anyone can create a museum or library if they have the money, the people still have to support it in order for it to survive.
There isn’t any question that people are going to converge on this museum, if only to see “Star Wars” pieces not typically seen other than at Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco. For many, seeing the original full-scale version of the Millennium Falcon is going to be worth the price of admission alone, if hoping the extra cost involves sitting in the cockpit (without a falling door). And there’s also going to be pieces from Lucas’ other movie projects, including his early work. Yes, you have to wonder what would happen if “American Graffiti” and “Star Wars” somehow managed to converge in one particular corner of the museum.
All of this might mean waiting times that go on for months in order to visit. While they’ll likely have ways you can go online to order tickets in advance, why not provide a pay site that allows people to see select parts of the museum online for those who don’t want to travel to Chicago, or simply can’t obtain a ticket for the first six months of its opening?
The Legacy of Museums Going Online and In-Person Interactivity
You can already see collections from just about every museum in the world now online. Even if they’re not always complete, they almost are, including complete art collections at places like NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Considering the George Lucas museum is going to be tantamount to the greatest museums in America, an online edition would do the museum a lot of good, especially in preserving Lucas’ legacy to those who don’t want to go there in person.
At the same time, you also want a museum that can help visitors assimilate Lucas’ true scope as a filmmaker as a participant rather than just an observer as you would in a standard museum. Especially for “Star Wars” fanatics, having the chance to interact directly with the franchise’s materials would show the true mammoth creativity behind the entire movie series. Part of that might want to follow the Smithsonian’s lead in scanning certain items and printing out replicas on 3D printers. This allows visitors to touch and inspect certain items that are accurate to detail without having the original piece handled by millions of people.
Plus, as in any aviation museum, people simply have to be allowed to sit in the driver’s seat of at least the Millennium Falcon if not scale models of the other “Star Wars” ships. To feel like you’re literally a part of the franchise should be the main goal of the Lucas museum in order to get away from the occasionally cold museum environment.
Also, with Industrial Light & Magic probably involved in some capacity, the idea of having a holographic George Lucas there would feel like you’re having a personal introduction or tour from the man himself. Regardless, you can’t say his own personality is the greatest to be a compelling tour guide. Most of all, Lucas may want to use the museum to add on to over time, particularly if he finally gets around to making other films about real people on earth again after a 40-year break.