The Discovery Center hosts the Star Wars fandom at its finest in the “Fans Strike Back Exhibition”

Kaylie Hilliker | The Arbiter

Step into the Discovery Center in downtown Boise to experience fandom at its finest: the greatest collection of privately owned Star Wars objects, items and figurines in “The Fans Strike Back Exhibition.” 

The exhibition includes fanmade models ranging from life-sized speed racers from Episode I to Jabba the Hut from his infamous cantina scene in Episode IV. There is also a towering replica of Darth Vader and another of his grandson Kylo Ren. 

Snaking through the exhibition, fans are surrounded on all sides by glass boxes of action figures from the canon to the animated Clone Wars TV series that aired for five seasons on Cartoon Network, with season six on Netflix and season seven on Disney+. 

There are open displays of stormtroopers of every kind including sandtroopers, shadowtroopers and snowtroopers. The fans really do strike back with the variety of items and art at the exhibition. 

[C3PO model showcased in “The Fan Strike Back Exhibition” at the Discovery Center.]
Kaylie Hilliker | The Arbiter

Selected as the best Star Wars exhibition in 2017 by the public, “The Fans Strike Back Exhibition” has returned to Boise after touring all over Europe and other locations in the United States. 

The exhibition is a stand-alone showcase, not affiliated with any film corporation, that presents creations from the fan base, which is projected to be around 102 million people in the nation who are devoted to the saga produced by Goerge Lucas. 

As a self-proclaimed fan, seeing the exhibition in all its fandom glory was a treat. I was most impressed with the apparent time, resources and painstaking process it took for each prop replica or model to be created. The artists were devoted to their work! Some details were amusing, such as the too-gray fur on the life-sized model of Chewbacca or the staggering amount of the Clone Wars television show icons (which are considered canon). 

I had the opportunity to meet another Star Wars fan: Joseph Miller. Miller is a senior accounting major with a minor in Japanese studies and is the president of the Jedi Academy Association at Boise State. 

Miller shared what he thought defined a true Star Wars fan. 

“At its core, a Star Wars fan is someone who is into the wonder or the wanderlust of the original Star Wars trilogy,” Miller said. “Or, on the more prequel side, it’s a very political story. People really relate to that kind of thing, or they are into a Greek tragedy. I think I call the prequel trilogies my favorite because it’s like the oldest story ever told.”

From lightsaber enthusiasts at Boise State to memorabilia creators at “The Fans Strike Back Exhibition,” the Star Wars universe lives up to its name and reputation among fans. 

The exhibition will be open until fall 2023, all week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4:30 p.m. Anyone who is part of this fandom should check out the exhibition while it’s in town, and as the Jedi master Yoda once said, “May the Force be with you.”

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