“Star Wars” creator George Lucas has selected Chicago to house his much anticipated museum of art and movie memorabilia, a spokesman for the mayor’s office said Tuesday.
The decision is a major victory for the nation’s third-largest city, which was locked in a battle for the museum with San Francisco. Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, confirmed that Lucas had selected Chicago but did not immediately have any details.
A spokesman for Lucas did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A message was also left with the San Francisco mayor’s office.
The selection was somewhat of a surprise, given Lucas’ close ties to San Francisco and California: He is a native of the state, Lucasfilm’s visual effects division is based in the city and the headquarters for LucasFilm and Skywalker Sound is across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. Los Angeles had also bid for the museum.
But Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, pushed hard for Chicago, just as he is pushing hard to persuade his former boss to build his presidential museum in the city. Chicago was always given a good chance, in large part because Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, a prominent businesswoman, is from Chicago and Chicago closed down Promontory Point on the lakefront so the couple could host a star-studded party to celebrate after Lucas’ California wedding.
And even Lucas called Chicago his “second home.”
The city offered up a slice of real estate along the Lake Michigan shore that is near other attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. At the same time, San Francisco suffered a setback when the city rejected Lucas’ first choice of a location near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Emanuel has long been trying to portray Chicago as a global destination, and throughout the decision process, a spokesman for Lucas praised Chicago for the attention it heaps on culture, architecture, innovations and education — some of which are the themes Lucas’ museum will seek to promote.
Ed. Note: If I had to sum up my feelings of this in one word, that one word would be “What the f*#@!” Sure, you can recreate the battle on the Tantive IV, except instead of blaster fire you get a gang member with a Glock. I can’t say that the decision really surprises me, watch Episodes 1 through 3, crazy ideas are what Lucas is known for. San Francisco, Los Angeles, even New York or Las Vegas would make better sense, but with 444 gun homicides in 2012, Chicago is really bringing back the the roaring Twenties with a bang. Tony Stark takes the long way around Chicago… If you do end up going to Chicago to visit the museum, pack the Kevlar and keep your head down. You may use the comment section to tell me I’m full of it.
May the Force be with you!