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Star Wars Universe Starfighter
The X-wing Fighter from the Star Wars movies is one of the most popular exhibits at Wings Over the Rockies. Many visitors are curious about its history and how it got to the Museum. This short history will provide a glimpse into its background.
In 1996, Lucasfilm was preparing to announce the newly completed Star Wars Trilogy – Special Edition Theatrical Release. They wanted a scale replica of the fighter as a promotional item to help advertise the newly remastered movie. A German prop company was commissioned to create seven ¾-scale replicas of the famous vehicle. One of them was shipped to Tokyo for the release of the Star Wars – Special Edition in 1997.
In 1999, in preparation for the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the X-wing was brought to Denver for the first Star Wars Celebration. Wings Over the Rockies hosted the event, and the X-wing display was the highlight of the weekend. Afterward, Lucasfilm notified Wings that they would leave the X-wing at the Museum on loan.
A group of local Star Wars fans took pride in the fact that they had full-time access to a “life-sized” X-wing.
In the spring of 2004, when they learned it would be leaving the Museum, they put out the call to keep the fighter as a Denver attraction. They informed Lucasfilm that not only did they wish to see the X-wing remain in Denver, they were also willing to donate their services to maintain the exhibit. When their generous offer was accepted, they had only a matter of weeks to get the forlorn craft ready for her debut at the San Diego ComicCon. After a fantastic reception in San Diego, the craft was returned to Denver, just in time to help launch a new tradition at Wings Over the Rockies – the annual Hauntings at the Hangar Halloween Party.
Now the X-wing Restoration & Maintenance Project volunteers could go to work improving an already solid exhibit. Led by volunteer Kevin Christley, they began to turn the fighter into a tribute to the original Red-5, flown by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Desiring to be as accurate as possible, Kevin found an artist in the Rocky Mountain Fan Force to lend her expertise. Beth Hutchison became the artistic director and lead painter. In effort to exceed the expectations of Lucasfilm and Wings, Kevin also enlisted the help of Jim Shima to create a fantastic light and sounds package, as well as a functioning R2 unit for the craft.
Their excellent work has made the X-wing amazingly accurate and a huge hit with visitors. It is not uncommon for the Museum to receive phone calls and emails from all around the globe inquiring about the fighter.
All the volunteers’ hard work paid off when the Museum learned the X-wing would be the centerpiece of the Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2005 and would also be used for a number of promotional appearances across the country. That year it traveled to Times Square, Las Vegas, Skywalker Ranch, the Kodak Theatre for the AFI tribute to George Lucas, and was a centerpiece for the “Dressing A Galaxy” costuming exhibit in Los Angeles, California, showcasing all of the costume and prop work that went into the Star Wars saga.
Since then, “our” X-wing has become a regular attraction at Wings and makes appearances all over the country for various Lucasfilm-sponsored events. Among them, Star Wars Weekends at Disney World, NASA Space Center Houston, and the Los Angeles Convention Center for Star Wars Celebration IV. Without the support of the local Star Wars fans, we would not have such a wonderful exhibit. The staff and volunteers of Wings Over the Rockies thank them for their continued support and creativity.
Because the X-wing continues to travel occasionally, please call or check the Museum’s website to be sure it will be available for viewing during your visit.