George Lucas was one of the richest men in entertainment even before he sold his company to Disney for a whooping $4 billion. In the time since, the mostly retired filmmaker has strived to make a personal project come to life: building a massive Museum of Narrative Arts. Now, it’s finally come to fruition: construction just started in Los Angeles!
After years in a “development hell” of sorts, things are finally happening with the Museum. According to the official website, the groundbreaking occurred on March 14th, when Lucas, his wife and co-founder Mellody Hobson and the entire Museum Board of Directors met at L.A.’s Exposition Park to get construction started.
— Lucas Museum (@lucasmuseum) November 3, 2014
A passion project from the creator of Lucasfilm, the museum is planned as a cultural landmark and an intro to film in general, not just Lucas’ work. So, expect much more than Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Much like his friend and frequent collaborator Steven Spielberg, Lucas was a film buff long before making his own movies. Building the Museum of Narrative Arts has been a constant goal in the past few years, as a way of giving people a glimpse into the cultural relevance of narrative arts. It’ll go beyond film to include paintings, illustrations, comics, animation and everything related to art as a visual medium. You can also expect plenty of memorabilia from Lucasfilm productions, and multiple film classics.
The project was dreamt up as something beyond a museum, and more similar to a cultural center. Besides the actual pieces, there’ll be daily screenings of films from all times, from silent classics to exciting new projects. The museum board is also planning a hands-on and accessible approach to artistic education for all ages, including courses on filmmaking and even painting.
While the all-around project sounds fascinating, it’s been delayed time and again due to its scale. Before finally settling on L.A., it was originally set to be built in San Francisco’s Crissy Field, but there was never an agreement. The project was then moved to a Chicago parking lot near Soldier Field, where it had the approval of both the mayor and the city council. However, local preservation organization Friends of the Parks opposed it until Lucas and Hobson ultimately decided against building it in the Windy City.
Ultimately, Los Angeles became the chosen city. Construction is expected to last 36 months, according to Variety.