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Tatooine Froze Over: George Lucas’s Museum Is Really Being Built

The $1 billion museum is coming to LA’s Exposition Park.

Tatooine Froze Over: George Lucas’s Museum Is Really Being Built
[Renderings: via Lucas Museum]

It’s a saga filled with as much intrigue and bureaucracy as Star Wars itself. For the last seven years, George Lucas has attempted to cement a location for his Museum of Narrative Art. The filmmaker may have been able to sell studios on a Rastafarian alien known as Jar Jar Binks and the crude-mouthed Howard the Duck, but he’s hit roadblock after roadblock selling cities on his namesake museum, which will house his rich $400 million+ art collection of 10,000 paintings and illustrations including Norman Rockwells and MAD Magazine covers, along with, naturally, some Star Wars props.

After being rejected by San Francisco three times and Chicago, twice, Lucas threw a double-Hail Mary pass, proposing new museum designs for both Los Angeles and San Francisco, each architected by Ma Yansong of MAD. Both cities “vied to host the museum” in response, and on Tuesday evening the Lucas team has announced that L.A. had emerged victorious. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that the city is a natural home for a museum focused on storytelling, which is “an art that carries so much meaning in the history and legacy of Los Angeles.”

The museum has no expected opening date yet, and of course there could be more twists to come. Yet the saga’s tentative conclusion feels particularly fitting. Yansong’s design is a 275,000-square-foot retro-future saucer–squint and you might see it in a prequel–which hovers over the tinseltown park like a canopy, inviting the mainstream masses to play and picnic beneath in the project’s proposed renders. Like the building or not, it’s, in essence, art aimed at the mainstream placed in Hollywood’s backyard, and it’s filled with so many visual spectacles that even the snobs won’t be able to look away. Indeed, it is George Lucas himself.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.