Exactly 40 years ago today, Star Wars was released in theaters. Neither the world nor the cast & crew of the film knew it at the time, but the one-off movie would eventually supernova into one of the most important pillars of American pop culture from the last century.
But you already knew that. You’re smart. Han shot first, Wookies always win, and Hayden Christensen shouldn’t have replaced Anakin’s Force ghost at the end of Jedi in the re-release. We’re on the same page. And I know you’re here to read about Star Wars and the Power of Costume at the Cincinnati Museum Center, so let’s get to it.
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THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THESE TWO
The Smithsonian brought 70 hand-crafted costumes from the first seven Star Wars films to Union Terminal. It is appropriate that these important artifacts of American cinema are displayed within a legendary, historic place in Cincinnati, too. Both the incredible collection and building itself meld their respective celebrity statuses, and elevate one another to a higher plane of public appreciation.
The exhibit highlights the artistry, creation, and symbolism of the outfits many of us have grown to love over the last 40 years. The Smithsonian didn’t go down to the Tosche Station to pick up some cheap power converter knock-offs for this exhibit, either. These costumes are the real deal.
You’ve literally seen all of them before, except likely not with your own eyes. Every costume in the exhibit was actually worn by the actors for the making of the films, from A New Hope to The Force Awakens. When you see that familiar red and gold Queen Amidala dress, you'll know Natalie Portman was in it at one point.
And seeing the costumes for yourself is surreal, yet oddly familiar. It's a bit like when Luke tells Leia she’s his sister and she stares into space in bewilderment, then chases it with her “somehow I’ve always known” line.
IN A GALACTIC WARDROBE NOT SO FAR, FAR AWAY
Admission to the exhibit will grant you lookin’ rights to the aforementioned amazing costumes. You’ll see Darth Vader’s suit, Stormtroopers and Imperial officers, Rebel pilot flight suits, Jedi robes, Sith garb, royal gowns and dresses, droids, a walking carpet, Mandalorian armor, a smuggler with a penchant for punching Nazis in an entirely different universe, and so many more.
In fact, go check out the gallery above for more. A photo is worth a thousand words, after all.
Star Wars and the Power of Costume opens today (May 25) and is packing up October 1, so unless you’re nerf-herding 24/7 this spring and summer, you have ample time to go see it.
For more info, check out Cincinnati Museum Center's website.