A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a film franchise was born that changed the history of pop culture as we know it. Nearly three decades later, "Star Wars" is as well-loved as ever, with the seventh film in the series, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" scheduled for release later this year.
Visitors to Madame Tussauds can get their next "Star Wars" fix even sooner than that. London’s famous palace of waxworks opens a huge new interactive exhibition dedicated to the franchise on 16 May, with 16 characters from Star Wars Episodes I-VI on display in 11 realistic sets recreating scenes from the films. Fans can get up close and personal with Yoda in his swamp, Princess Leah in Jabba the Hutt’s throne room and Chewbacca the Wookiee on the flight deck of the Millennium Falcon.
It took 20 sculptors to create each of the incredibly detailed waxworks in the exhibition, with artists taking hundreds of precise measurements before sculpting a figure in clay that will be used to create a mould. Molten wax is poured in and left to cool, after which the painting and decorating process begins. Thousands of human hairs are inserted to exactly replicate the person or character being modeled, eyes take around 10 hours to make, and countless layers of paint are applied to match the model’s skin tone.
The figures are then dressed and placed within painstakingly-created scenes to bring the movies to life. With Disney and Lucasfilm closely collaborating with Madame Tussauds on the exhibition, this is a rare opportunity to get a sense of what it must have been like on the sets of these iconic films.