San Francisco has been trying for years to have filmmaker George Lucas build his Star Wars museum there, but ultimately Los Angeles won out.
The coveted museum, officially called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, will feature fine art, popular art, illustrations, comics and Lucas’ own collection from his films and other movies at its future home at Exposition Park near the University of Southern California, museum officials announced Tuesday. It’s been unofficially dubbed the Star Wars museum, despite its many other planned features and collections.
Something close to $1 billion of Lucas’ money is expected to go toward the museum, according to the Associated Press, which is a significant chunk of Lucas’ $2 billion Disney money.
In a years-long (it’s been nearly a decade) bid for the art and film collection, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles have fought for the museum. Some of Lucas’ personal collection includes 40,000 paintings and film items like storyboards and costumes from films such as The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca and plenty of Star Wars memorabilia.
After the museum released its decision Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement, “I believed in the vision for the Lucas Museum, and we went after it with everything we have — because I know that L.A. is the ideal place for making sure that it touches the widest possible audience.”
Before losing out to its southern rival, in the past few days San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee had been pushing hard for SF’s Treasure Island as the ideal site for the museum. He even turned to Twitter to make some Star Wars-inspired pleas for the museum to come to the home of Lucasfilm’s corporate headquarters.
Earlier in this drawn-out selection process, Chicago seemed like a sure thing until last June when the museum withdrew the Midwest city from consideration and said it only had eyes for a California location.
That renewed hope that the Force would come to the Bay Area. But like most things movie-related, this one went to Los Angeles.
In Tuesday’s statement from the museum, they acknowledged the eternally tough choice between NorCal or SoCal, “Settling on a location proved to be an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities.”
No word yet when the museum will open, but the renderings show a pretty significant structure. Plans call for a roughly 265,000-square-foot building.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.