Star Wars: Force is strong with new Madame Tussauds experience
Wars in wax
Madame Tussauds has launched a new, multi-million pound Star Wars experience ahead of The Force Awakens this December.
'Star Wars at Madame Tussauds' was created in close collaboration with Disney and Lucasfilm, the wax museum says, and is sure to attract fans looking forward to J.J. Abrams' reboot of the movie franchise this December.
The immersive experience officially opens this Saturday, May 16, but fans came face-to-face with its heroes and villains during a preview of the attraction today.
The experience brings to life some of the movie series' most powerful moments, featuring 16 life-like wax figures - including Luke Skywalker, Darth Vadar, Han Solo and more - spread over what are described as 11 "authentic walk-in sets".
Special effects and dramatic theming add to the experience, the museum says.
Locations range from the swamps of Dagobah and Jabba's Throne Room to the flight deck of the Millennium Falcon (see gallery above).
Fans can come face-to-face with sinister Stormtroopers; witness Luke Skywalker battle Darth Vader on the Death Star and feel the Force alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn when they take on Darth Maul.
They can also join the captive Princess Leia and a 35-stone Jabba the Hutt in his Throne Room; and hang out with Han Solo in the cantina before stepping onto the Millennium Falcon with woolly Wookiee warrior, Chewbacca.
Lightsabers at the ready
The experience took over a year to create, with more than 180 sculptors, hair artists, colourists, set designers and prop makers involved, according to Madame Tussauds London’s General Manager, Ben Sweet.
“The Star Wars films are so loved, and fans so passionate, it was a huge responsibility to get this right," he added. "We were given rare access to the Star Wars archives at Skywalker Ranch in California, which was invaluable, and the artistic team poured over stills and footage day and night to ensure the likenesses of our wax stars are spot on and the sets as reminiscent of the actual film scenes as possible."
Chewbacca alone required 10 expert 'hair-inserters' to spend some 1,000 hours using yak hair to recreate his luscious Wookiee locks.
And the price?
Suffice to say the Force may need to be with your finances, as Madame Tussauds' admission fees start from £24.75/€34.30 for adults and £21.60/€29.95 for children.
Roger that, R2D2!
Meanwhile, Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has announced plans to unveil a Boeing 787 Dreamliner dressed up as R2D2 (above).
The plane, plans for which were revealed to coincide with the release of the second trailer for The Force Awakens, is scheduled to operate an international route this autumn.
The Force Awakens is due for release in December.