Today, the Los Angeles City Council gave unanimous approval to film legend George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson to build their new museum. The planned $1 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is set to break ground early next year with an eye toward a 2021 opening.
The museum, which will feature space age architecture befitting the creator of the Star Wars universe, will be built on seven acres in Exposition Park near Lucas’ alma mater, University of Southern California. Inside, visitors will find selections from Lucas’ personal collection of fine and popular art, as well as ephemera related to his many iconic films. Specifically, Variety reports the museum will house Luke Skywalker’s first light saber, Darth Vader’s iconic helmet, and memorabilia from Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, and The Ten Commandments.
Lucas initially wanted to build the museum in his San Francisco hometown or Hobson’s hometown of Chicago, but proposals in both cities failed to go forward. Instead, the couple will gift LA with their new project along with a $400 million endowment, making it the largest donation to a city by a single family ever.
“The goal of the museum is to inspire people to think outside the box,” Lucas told reporters after a press conference, to imagine whatever you want to imagine, to help build on the myths that help bind our city and our people together, and that is what I am hoping to do here.”
“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will add another world-class institution to our city’s cultural landscape, and bring a breathtaking architectural jewel to Exposition Park,” LA mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement, adding, “I am proud to have worked with George Lucas and Mellody Hobson to bring this incredible gift to Los Angeles — and I applaud the City Council for voting to approve a gem for South LA that will touch the lives of Angelenos and visitors for generations to come.”
The LMNA building itself was designed by Chinese architect Ma Yansong. Check out the futuristic artist rendering above, with an aerial view below.