The National Air and Space Museum is home to some of the most sacred objects of the air age.
Visitors can marvel at the 1903 Wright Flyer that flew over Kitty Hawk, NC, the bright red Lockheed 5B Vega that Amelia Earhart piloted alone across the Atlantic, and the bell-shaped Friendship 7 capsule that John H. Glenn Jr. first Americans made orbiting the earth.
Now, according to the museum, it will show a spaceship that has only flown on screen, in a completely fictional galaxy in which good and evil seem locked in the eternal struggle.
That’s right: An X-Wing Starfighter will grace the newly renovated building of the museum in the National Mall sometime at the end of next year, the museum said on Tuesday. May was 4th be with you).
The 37-foot Hollywood prop appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2019 and is on long-term loan from Lucasfilm, the film’s production company.
While aerospace purists may grumble that valuable exhibition space is being turned over to a sham craft that doesn’t play a role in the advancement of actual space travel, the exhibit isn’t the first time the museum has teamed up with the philanthropic power of the franchise. In the late 1990s, it presented Star Wars: The Magic of Myth, a show based on the original Star Wars trilogy; This show went on tour around the country.
“Although ‘Star Wars’ took place in a galaxy far, far away, it took generations of fans here on Earth into space as a setting for adventure and exploration,” Margaret Weitekamp, chairwoman of the museum’s space history, told a statement. “All milestones in the air and in space start with inspiration, and science fiction so often provides that spark.” She added that “the X-wing on display amid our other spacecraft celebrates the journey from imagination to performance.”
The X-Wing was designed as the nimble fighter that Luke Skywalker used to destroy the Death Star in the original 1977 film “Star Wars”. It was named after the unmistakable shape of its “strike slides in attack position”, according to the museum.
The artists of Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects studio founded by George Lucas, the creator of the film, showed X-Wings and other Star Wars spacecraft with miniatures, as well as full-size models and cockpits equipped with visual effects . the museum said.
This particular X-wing is being “preserved” – also known as cleanup and prep – in the restoration hangar of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the museum in Chantilly, Virginia, where it will be visible to the public before it goes into operation will be exhibited in the museum next year.
While this is the first “Star Wars” prop to be on long-term display in the museum since the 1997 “Magic of Myth” exhibition, the museum also has a studio model of the Enterprise spaceship from the original “Star Trek” of the 1960s . Series as well as a Buzz Lightyear toy from the animated “Toy Story” films that was flown to the International Space Station in 2008.
A photo released by the museum showed the orange X-wing in a hangar next to a real twin-engine bomber, nicknamed Flak-Bait, that survived more than 200 missions across Europe, more than any other American aircraft in existence during World War II.
“See what has arrived at the store to improve,” said the museum on Twitter. “If you see Poe Dameron around, let him know that work on his X-wing is going well and that it will soon be on display.”