This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending the Grand Opening Party of the Smithsonian’s newest touring exhibit “Star Wars and The Power of Costume”. The event took place at Seattle’s EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum which will be the home to this Lucasfilm exhibit until October. The party was attended by C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), the costume designer of Return of the Jedi (Aggie Guerard Rodgers), the host of The Comlink (Dave Collins), and the author of Star Wars Costumes (Brandon Alinger) to name a few.
We attended the event with our good friends Criz Bee from JediBusiness.com and Tom Berges from IGrewUpStarWars.com where we met our other good friends Curt Hanks of SARLACC and costume collector and author Gus Lopez. Lopez, a Seattleite, holds the distinction of having the only privately-owned piece on display in the exhibit; Yoda himself. The costumes on display were both absolutely amazing to see close up and a very unique opportunity as the had been pulled directly from the Lucasfilm Archives for the exhibit. The costumes on display were a mix of both Original and Prequel Trilogies, although it was more of a 70-30 split favoring the prequels. Here’s a look at some of the film used costumes that were on display.
In addition to the costume exhibit the party was host to multiple other events throughout the night, including talks by the special guests Williams and Daniels (and no, no Episode 7 news was revealed).
There were multiple trivia contests throughout the night ranging in difficulty which our team consisting of Criz, Tom, Gus and Jake remained undefeated (which is no small acomplishment since we were surrounded by many well-versed Star Wars enthusiasts and fans).
The night also included lightsaber stunt teams, performances by members of the 501st Garrison Titan and a photo op with R2 courtesy of the local R2 Buliders Club.
No Star Wars themed night of ours would be complete without a few thoughts of action figures. The most significant would be the unfortunate fact that the Star Wars gift shop included The Black Series figures priced at $14.99 which appears to be on par with many Targets around the country. Rumors have persisted that Lucasfilm (aka Disney) has increased the royalties on their Star Wars products thus motivating retailers to increase their prices to retain their profit. Whether this is true or not does little to ease the collector’s mind as larger retailers are now attempting to sale action figures as the same mark up seen at places like comic book shops and tourist destinations (like a museum gift shop).
The EMP also had Star Wars Rebels figures and they too saw an increase of $3. Now the significance of this was the fact that they actually had Rebels figures as most stores have not refreshed their stock in quite some time. Many blame Hasbro for the lack of action figure merch on the pegs but we are more confident it is more due to the situation of the West Coast ports and fear it will only get worse before it gets better.
The exhibit is well worth the admission and includes a lot of great behind the scenes information about the costumes of the saga. We were of course a bit frustrated at the fact that there were quite a few costumes on display that have yet to be turned into action figures. With the Sequel Trilogy and subsequent standalone films approaching ever closer, our chances at getting some of these “older” designs in figure form are becoming less likely. But that is a conversation to be had after this month’s Toy Fair was kicks off in just a week and a half.
For more on the Grand Opening Night Party check out Jedibuisness.com‘s pics.
To hear a bit from 3PO himself from the event, check out The Comlink:
And to learn a bit more about the exhibit check out Huffington Post.
Until next time,
May the Figures be with you!