George Lucas has deep roots in Chicago

June 25th, 2014

Physical model used to make computer generated Death Star for Star Wars
Physical model used to make computer generated Death Star for Star Wars


On June 25, 2014, in the article “Lucas gives Chicago top billing,” the Chicago Tribune reported that George Lucas selected Chicago over Los Angeles and San Francisco as the future home of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, to house his collection of art and movie memorabilia. The article goes on to quote Lucas saying, “Choosing Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in the Bay Area.”

Maxine Brown, director of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, wrote a letter to the editor of the Tribune explaining that that was not true. In 1976, California artist Larry Cuba was hired to create a computer model of the Death Star that is used in the Rebel Alliance briefing room scene. Larry Cuba spent several months at EVL (previously called the UIC Circle Graphics Habitat) and used its computer graphics hardware and software to create the animation. Brown’s letter was published in the online edition of the June 25 publication, and is to appear in the print version of the newspaper on Sunday, June 29 (in the Section “Voices of the People”). See the online version.

Note that WTTW did a story last year about the UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory’s connection to George Lucas and “Star Wars”. As this video attests, the Death Star data still exists, the equipment still exists and, more serendipitously, the equipment still works.