‘Star Wars’ Wookiees by the lake? Think hard on Lucas plan

SHARE ‘Star Wars’ Wookiees by the lake? Think hard on Lucas plan

Have you been to the Flash Gordon Museum yet? Right next to the Adler Planetarium? Lots of fun. There’s a mock-up of Ming the Merciless’ throne room on the planet Mongo, and you can reach out and touch the fearsome Sea Beast …

OK, OK, there is no Flash Gordon Museum next to the Adler, and a good thing too. 

If you are unfamiliar with Flash, he was very big in the 1930s, first as a newspaper cartoon, then as a movie, then a movie serial, which kids in the 1950s and 1960s saw endlessly rerun on television. 

I bring up Flash as a reminder that fame fades, even huge fame, even “Star Wars”-level fame. It bathes its creator George Lucas in a golden glow now but will not last forever. Watching the city bend over backward to put his proposed museum on the Chicago lakefront, I hate to be a spoilsport, but I have to ask: Do we want this museum? 

What’s going to be inside? The museum’s website — still is clunkily wooing San Francisco, a move rejected by those in charge of the waterfront park where Lucas first wanted to put it — describes it this way: 

“The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum will be a center highlighting populist art from some of the great illustrators of the last 150 years through today’s digital art used to create animated and live-action movies, visual effects, props and sketches,” alongside paintings from Norman Rockwell — Lucas owns 57 — plus other classic illustrators such as Maxfield Parrish and J.C. Leyendecker.  

All good. So it’s not just going to be Mel’s Drive-in from “American Graffiti” and Indiana Jones’ fedora from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”  Your average tourist in 2024 won’t care much about those.

RELATED: Lucas museum means a new hope for transit upgrades, panel vows

I should confess here. I’m the rare moviegoer who liked “THX 1138,” Lucas’ first movie, a jarring sci-fi film with Robert Duvall, far more than “Star Wars.” 

I can remember seeing the first “Star Wars” debut in the summer of 1977, as a 17-year-old, worldly as a kitten. I walked out of the theater, disappointed and puzzled. Here you have a movie that is basically a two-hour running gun battle at close range between minions of the evil Galactic Empire and these four rebels, one of whom is 7 feet tall, and the ooh-scary stormtroopers can’t so much as graze the wookiee’s ear? Weak.

It was downhill from there, and by the time the Empire was overthrown by teddy-bear escapees from a toilet paper TV commercial, the charm was lost on me. 


The Latest
The man, 41, was in a car about 1:20 a.m. Saturday when someone in a silver sedan drove by and an occupant opened fire.
Other poll topics: Will Tom Brady play in the NFL again? And who’s more disappointing, last season’s White Sox or this season’s Bulls?
Cuban prospect slashed .314/.371/.524 with 24 home runs over three minor-league levels in 2022.
These people — most of them ballplayers — share one significant similarity. Can you name it?