Not What I Expected: The Star Wars Identities Exhibition at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

20 Aug

As a matter of principal I ignore all forms of print advertising and I have not listened to commercial radio or watched any broadcast television in almost three years. So when my mom called me on Monday to find out if I wanted to go to the Star Wars Identities Exhibition at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, I was really psyched. My brother (being the political junkie he is) had purchased two tickets for my sister’s children so they could experience this incredible event first hand (my parents were going to take them the following day).

For the first few hours it was all I could think about. But after my initial excitement subsided, I began to question the wisdom of bringing young children to what was obviously (in my opinion) an event marketed to teenagers, adults, and senior citizens.

I was also perplexed at the theme the organizers had chosen. Identities? What’s that all about? You’d think that the Star Wars technology would be a much bigger draw. I mean, some of the characters were interesting but I bet you twenty dollars that if they displayed some of the actual Star Wars hardware they built, they’d get way more people to show up. Either way, I figured they’d have some physical Star Wars items but I was expecting the bulk of the displays to be informational.

So I got to the museum late (my parents and nieces were already inside) and after I paid my admission I noticed that there was an image of Darth Vader on the ticket. At first I thought it was just a marketing gimmick (ok, that’s kind of clever, I guess) and when I was picking up my audio guide they were playing the John Williams Star Wars theme (I wondered how much that cost them). But then, when I actually got inside, I found myself surrounded by all these props from the Star Wars *movies*.

I scanned the hall, frantically looking for any evidence of the *real* Star Wars. You know, the kind of Star Wars one would expect to be on display in a government-funded, national museum dedicated to aviation and *space*.

I looked around for the Lockheed Martin-designed communications base stations.

There were none.

Boeing’s prototype of the satellite-borne, giga-joule space-laser and interceptor?


The advanced terahertz radar tracking and targeting sub-system?


The dummy Soviet warheads that were to be used as test targets in the evaluation stage of the program?

They’re probably on display in a better museum down in the United States somewhere.

The bleeding-edge command-and-control / information processing systems?

Here we have some of the costumes worn by Natalie Portman in Episode II: Attack of the Clones.


The detailed analysis of the anticipated Soviet countermeasures to the Star Wars program?

Spoiler alert: they were just going to build more of the weapons they already had – they only needed a few nukes to make it through the American defences to ensure the total destruction of their adversary. Along with the rest of us. Assholes.

The budget projections and cost estimates for the program?

Okay. I was able to find this online.

A framed picture of Ronald Reagan?

Ugh. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed with a museum in my whole life. And to be honest, I was kind of looking forward to the identities part. I’d like to learn more about the men who thought it a good idea to try to build a hundred-billion dollar, a single-purpose, space-based, treaty-breaking, military system that could never work in practice and could be easily defeated by low-cost modifications to the existing weapons they were trying to defend against.

So, long story short: I just paid $30 to look at a bunch of movie props I already paid $50 to see in London back in 2007. Anyway, the moral of this story is: George Lucas is a mad genius. I vote we forgo all future elections and put him in charge.

And they also had this thing where you could build your own Star Wars *movie* character. Here’s mine.

For the record I did this exact same thing when I was a kid - except I built my Star Wars character out of Lego and his name was Jay Solo - Bounty Hunter Hunter!

For the record I did this exact same thing when I was a kid – except I built my Star Wars character out of Lego and his name was Jay Solo – Bounty Hunter Hunter!


3 Responses to “Not What I Expected: The Star Wars Identities Exhibition at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum”

  1. Jason Chapman (@jasonAchapman) August 20, 2013 at 20:42 #

    I can smell the smoke off your head from here.


  1. Day 6 of 20: A Letter to France | Die Hard Three - February 18, 2014

    […] to be hosting that Star Wars Identities Exhibit thing next month – just a heads-up: it has nothing to do with the real Star Wars – it’s about the […]

  2. Day 22 of ? – It’s Been a While | Die Hard Three - March 23, 2018

    […] visited Berlin, accidentally destroyed a friend’s bathroom (sorry Eva!), and I once wrote a take that was so scorching Ronald Reagan complained about the heat.* And with such a variety of topics on a blog that is […]

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