As a member of the Rudko clan we are indoctrinated into a science fiction-loving culture from a young age. Terminator was my favorite movie in Kindergarden, followed by Star Wars Return of the Jedi. Leia was my hero and I wanted to have a pet Ewok. So it isn’t surprising that last Saturday I bundled up and headed to the Telus World of Science to take in the latest exhibit, Star Wars Identities.
The exhibit features 200 original costumes, props, and artwork from the extremely successful franchise. It was created by the Montreal based X3 Productions, which partnered with Lucasfilm for the creation of the traveling exhibit. The exhibit is designed to be highly interactive, enabling you to create your own Star Wars identity through various interactive features, while enjoying the movie props.
Tickets have been selling like mad for this event, so I purchased mine online a week in advance. There was a handy student discount which I took advantage of, making my ticket only about 24 bucks. You purchase a ticket for a particular time, but when my friend and I arrived we found out that they were running behind in allowing people to enter the exhibit. We were supposed to enter at 12:45, but I don’t think I actually got into the exhibit until quarter after 1. The wait wasn’t unpleasant; however, as we did have full access to all the galleries, and of course the AMAZING TWoS gift shop, so there was plenty to do!
Now I’ll admit I was skeptical about creating my own Star Wars Identity. I was worried the interactive features might be childish, or might take away enjoying the actual exhibit because I might be waiting in line to decide the colour of my light saber on a computer screen instead of analyzing a Storm Trooper uniform. Yet upon walking into the exhibit and seeing a wall of Star Wars species to chose from my worries were erased. I mean who wouldn’t get excited when faced with the decision of being a Wookie or an Ewok?
To begin, the exhibit was extremely well organized. Interactive identity features were spread out intermittently throughout the exhibit, and in between them were various prop displays, everything from Padme’s dresses (squeal!), to a life size Pod Racer. Creating your character wasn’t difficult, and wasn’t done entirely on a computer screen. Occasionally some of the interactive stations would get busy, but for the most part any lines moved very quickly. Creating the character was incredibly fun, and culminates in the choice between the Good Side of the Force and the Dark Side. Live a little and choose the Dark Side people!
The props were, of course, fantastic for a nerd like me, but I also really enjoyed the plethora of drawings from the movies. There were the most incredible character sketches that really gave the viewer an insight into the creative process of creating the Star Wars world. The blueprint of the Millenium Falcon especially blew my mind.
The theme of Identities was ever present throughout the exhibit. There were interactive character bios, videos which gave an in-depth character analysis of some of the major players, and all of the props and display legends were focussed around the theme of character identity. I really appreciated this common theme to the exhibit, it gives it depth and makes you take away more from the exhibit than simply “Wow! Wookies are tall!” I think the fun nature of creating your own Star Wars identity combined with a theme that will be appreciated by adults gives this exhibit a unique flair that can be appreciated by the young and old.
On a practical note, I’d recommend allowing yourself a lot of time to get through the exhibit. There will be crowds, and you want to allow yourself adequate time to do all of the fun interactive stuff! If I were to go again (and I might…), I would go in the evening. There were a lot of children at the exhibit, and I found their delightful enthusiasm and inability to read the directions to create their characters taxing. Parking was a bit of an issue for me – I had to park illegally across the street – so I would recommend arriving early! The only real disappointment I had with the exhibit were the headsets. You’re provided with headsets upon entry for listening to videos during your stay. The trouble is you are only provided with a right-ear headphone, and not a left. The sound quality was extremely poor, and I am hard of hearing in my right ear, meaning every time I wanted to listen to something I would have to push the headphone against my left ear and struggle through the poor audio quality. Simple solution: bring your own headphones!
The exhibit was extremely well done and I would certainly recommend checking it out, whether you’re a fan or not. We are one of only two North American locations the exhibit will be stopping at, so this might be a once in a life time opportunity! Go out there and get your nerd on, people!