George Lucas picks a Chicago site for his $700 million pop culture museum
Oh, San Francisco, you had one job.
Hold on before you get worked up, though, folks. It's not like George Lucas just threw a dart to pick the spot to open his new museum. It sounds like he made a huge effort at opening a museum in San Francisco, but those efforts ended in frustration, and as a result, there will be a museum designed to hold Lucas's huge private collection of "illustrations, comic art, graphic art, animation, and other popular art forms," as The New York Times put it, and it will be in Chicago.
I guess I'll never grow tired of seeing just how many things can make people angry at George Lucas. I thought maybe it would ease up a bit when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney and stepped away from having an active leading role in the ongoing "Star Wars" universe. Fanboys have long memories until the moment they don't, and I've seen them drop vendettas in the past when something changed.
I am surprised that the Presidio Trust turned Lucas down. I've had an opportunity to tour the ILM and Lucasfilm premises at the Presidio, and it's amazing. It's a stupendous complex. I also finally visited the Lucasfilm Ranch, and it was amazing as well. He's put a lot of money into that area over the years, and I thought it was a point of pride for them by now. In February, though, his proposal was rejected, and he moved on to considering a location in Chicago. It appears he'll build a new complex there that should be open by 2018. His wife Mellody Hobson, seen in the photo above, is a native of Chicago, and I'm sure it means something to her to be able to bring this big a project to her home city.
I'm dying to see what sort of stuff he donates to this place, and what other collections he's able to attract to the building in the future. I hope that his peers, some of whom are remarkable hoarders of props and costumes and art and all sorts of things, would consider making his building one of the premiere pop culture collections in the world. Maybe they can reach out to Bob Burns, who has one of the most lovingly curated collections I've ever seen, full of genuine magic from movie history that should be preserved and shared.
It's a bummer that San Francisco missed out, and I'll be curious to see if there's any fallout for any of the people involved in that decision. I think it's silly to get angry at Lucas, though. He's just looking for a place where it makes sense to put down roots, and in this case, Chicago made him feel most welcome.
"Star Wars: Episode VII" is due in theaters (for the moment) on December 18, 2015.