Obi-Wax Kenobi: Star Wars stars join London wax museum

Heroes and villains from a galaxy far, far away have flown into Madame Tussauds wax museum in London for a new “Star Wars” exhibition, which opens Saturday.

Darth Vader, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are among the 16 characters recreated in scenes from the six films so far in the saga.

Fans can immerse themselves in 11 scenes from the box office-busting movies.

The project has taken 180 artists around a year to complete and recreating the characters has provided some unusual challenges.

“In the case of Princess Leia, obviously there’s this famous bikini, it’s one of the most famous costumes in film history,” said principal sculptor Stephen Mansfield.

“We’ve faithfully recreated it.”

Hair insertion — real human hair is used — on a waxwork normally takes around six weeks.

However, hirsute Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca, memorably described as a “walking carpet” in the films, took 10 people six weeks to do — more than a thousand hours’ work.

Jabba the Hutt and the bikini-clad Leia are depicted in the slobbering gangster’s Tatooine palace, while Jedi master Yoda sits in the swamps of Dagobah.

“They’ve really tried to build a full swamp,” said James Burns, editor of Jedi News, Europe’s largest “Star Wars” fan site.

“As you walk in, the floor is soft, there’s smell, there’s fog, leaves around and it looks absolutely incredible,” he told AFP.

“It’s an amazing, immersive experience.”

– Make the jump to lightspeed –

Visitors can step into Luke Skywalker’s place in the scene where Darth Vader reveals he is Luke’s father.

Another scene is the lightsaber battle between Darth Maul and Jedis Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Fans can sit alongside Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon cockpit and take the freighter to lightspeed, using audio-visual effects.

Visitors can also have a lightsaber duel with Anakin Skywalker.

Nearby, Han Solo slouches in a booth at the Mos Eisley Cantina with his boot up on a table.

“You can sit next to them and touch them. I’ve just had a drink with Han, it’s great!” said fan Paul Slim from Birmingham, central England, who won tickets to a sneak preview Tuesday.

“It’s like you’re in the movies,” he told AFP.

Senior sculptor Dave Burks said the team watched the films more than 10 times and worked with fans to get the minutiae correct.

“The smallest details to Darth Vader’s belt and what lights needs to come on at the right time and in what sequence; small things like that have been a real challenge to get absolutely right,” he said as lightsabers fizzed in the background.

The first film in a new trilogy, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”, featuring actors from the classic original trilogy, is due out in December.

Episode VIII is to be filmed in Britain.


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