Well, that’s it folks. Filmmaker George Lucas is officially ending his campaign to build a museum in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Star Wars creator has issued a statement declaring that he and and his wife Mellody Hobson will be looking to build their Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on the West Coast after all. In the statement, Lucas blames that the legal action initiated by the Friends of the Parks and the group’s unwavering fight against the museum. "The actions initiated by Friends of Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government," Lucas said.
The news does not come as a surprise however. Lucas and Hobson have been threatening to kill the Chicago museum plan for months. Things got weird when the mayor announced a Plan B strategy to demolish the old Lakeside Center at McCormick Place and to plant the museum at that location to appease the parks group. And then things got even weirder when there were conflicting reports about the Friends of the Parks group dropping their suit. And to make matters even more stark, the head of the Chicago Park District board sent a text message to the Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry saying that the deadline for any negotiations was this past Tuesday. And here we are just a few days later, and now we know that the Emanuel administration wasn’t bluffing.
And while we’re finally just getting the official word from the Lucas camp, anyone who has been paying attention to this fiasco for the last several months could have predicted that the museum for Chicago was dead long ago. In a column published last month, Crain’s politics writer Greg Hinz pointed out that there is enough blame to go around to everyone. Lucas blames Friends of the Parks, the Tribune editorial board says that it’s the mayor’s fault, but really, when we zoom out and take a look at the bigger picture, it really is clear that there is plenty of blame to go around. Lucas always remained behind the scenes and never seemed interested in making an effort to meet with community groups, the design for the museum was just too controversial, the mayor’s backup plan represented a logistical and financial catastrophe—and these are only just a few issues.
Ok, so the museum didn’t officially die on May the fourth—the unofficial holiday for Star Wars fans—but there are certainly no more episodes for Lucas’s museum plan for Chicago.
- Lucas Museum pulls Chicago plans, going to California [Chicago Tribune]
- UPDATE: Mixed Reports on Friends of the Parks' Position Towards Lucas Museum [Curbed Chicago]
- May the Fourth: The Day George Lucas's Museum Plan for Chicago Died [Curbed Chicago]