The Force Awakens in NYC

This past Friday, I went to the Star Wars Exhibit, right off of Times Square, in honor of the premiere of the new movie.

Now, before I go any further, here is my disclaimer. I am not a Star Wars fanatic. I think I’ve seen three of the seven Star Wars movies. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movies I saw, but you would never find me debating the best viewing order or discussing the meaning of the Force. Let’s be honest here though, the people having these discussions don’t need me to convince them to go to the Star Wars Exhibit.

I really didn’t know what to expect; I’ve never been to a movie exhibit before. Within the first few minutes I was in complete awe. When I go to the movies or watch films at home, I tend to focus on what is right in front of me. Rarely do I sit there and think, “Where did the idea for this film originate?” or “How long did it take to make that costume?” That’s what made this exhibit so amazing; it answered so many questions that I didn’t even know I had. It showed what really goes on behind the scenes in the making of, what was ultimately, an entirely new universe.

Close to a hundred people were hired to assist in the creation of over 1,000 costumes. And that’s just for episodes I, II and III. From monks to cowboys to princesses, the inspiration for the costumes was pulled from several different continents and eras.

One of the things that really stood out to me was how much the actors and actresses relied on their costumes to really become their character. Samuel L Jackson spoke of the first time he saw his Jedi costume: “I was so ecstatic I ran out of breath. At last I had an idea of who I was, how to carry myself, and I had a way of being. And I had a reason for being.”

Not only do the costumes help the actors, but they really do reveal a lot about the character to the audience. For example, the white robes of Princess Leia emphasize her purity, while the vest, gun belt and boots of Han Solo portray him as a relatable American cowboy.

The many gowns of Queen Padme Amidala could have had their very own exhibit. Her style was a combination of looks from Russia and the Orient to 1920’s America. Just the thought of the amount of research that must have gone into these dresses makes my head spin.

Trisha Biggar, costume designer for Episodes I, II and III said, “[We] used a multitude of techniques to create articles of beauty, or ceremony, or authority, as the occasion demanded.” The acting and special effects is what we often discuss as we walk away from a movie, but as I look back, the costumes are often the most important thing in setting the mood or tone of an event.

After re-reading this post, I realize I may have misspoken… Maybe I’m a bigger Star Wars fan than I realized.

Experience the World of Star Wars by visiting the exhibit yourself! Here is your opportunity! 

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