FIVE years ago this week I was in Geek heaven, a destination that tends to move around the world from time to time but which, in July 2017, had settled in London’s 02, the old Millennium Dome.
I was visiting the Star Wars Identities exhibition, a huge interactive display of more than 200 original costumes, critters, props and artwork from the sci-fi franchise based in a galaxy far, far away.
The exhibition dealt with issues of identity – what makes each of us tick, and how our education, environment and upbringing all play an important part in our development.
I was Senator Paul from Kashykk – characters were assigned based on your response to questions at the start of the self-guided tour. Yes, Kashykk, somewhere in the south-western quadrant of the galaxy.
Covered with wroshyr trees and home world of the Wookies, the Empire knows it as G5-623. Members of my community made their living building and selling rustic catamarans.
All the main characters were there, both from the Light and Dark sides, along with production models of iconic spacecraft used during filming. It was fascinating.
Throughout the visit, you faced multiple choice options to reveal your inner thoughts. Each step of the way guided you to the next, depending on your choices.
Just before I left, after an encounter with Darth Vader, the Emperor made me an offer.
Did I want unlimited power in the service of the Empire? Or would I be a champion for good – kind, compassionate and generous?
What did I choose. I’m not telling you. Besides, I have to go. Lunch break’s over on the Death Star. And my master doesn’t like to be kept waiting …
All pictures my own, taken at Star Wars Identities, London in July 2017. My full feature review ran in more than 50 UK newspapers at the time.