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George Lucas chooses Chicago for ‘Star Wars’ museum

San Francisco was not the city George Lucas was looking for.

Though the “Star Wars” creator, a California native, got a “generous offer” from Frisco, the director chose Chicago as the future home of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, a.k.a. the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

“I am humbled to be joining such an extraordinary museum community and to be creating the museum in a city that has a long tradition of embracing the arts,” Lucas said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was more psyched than Han Solo when Princess Leia released him from carbonite.

No other museum like this exists in the world, making it a tremendous educational, cultural and job creation asset for all Chicagoans, as well as an unparalleled draw for international tourists,” he said

The city has set aside a slice of the Lake Michigan shoreline for the museum, according to the AP — and was a good bet because Lucas’s wife is a Windy City native.

The proposed museum is more than a collection of crusty Stormtrooper action figures and a broken Millennium Falcon. From NPR’s deft summary:

The Sun-Times describes the museum as a $1 billion investment and Chicago Business says, quoting a task force set up by Emanuel to study the project, it “would generate between $2 billion and $2.5 billion of additional tourist spending and significant tax revenue over ten years.”

Indeed, when not making space operas, Lucas is an art collector with a collection that includes work by N.C. Wyeth, Alberto Vargas and Maxfield Parrish.

From the museum’s Web site:

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be a gathering place to experience narrative art and the evolution of moving images – from illustration to cinema to the digital mediums of the future. The museum’s seed collection – a gift from founder George Lucas – spans a century-and-a-half and features the images and the mediums that have profoundly shaped our cultural heritage. The foundational collection will continue to grow and evolve as the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art acquires more works.

The museum will open in 2018.

At press time, it was unclear whether “Howard the Duck” memorabilia would also be on display.