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The Force is Strong as Star Wars toy exhibition comes to Chichester

On Saturday 7 October, from a galaxy far, far away comes an absolute must-see for fans of Star Wars and the silver screen.

May The Toys Be With You

One of the UK's finest collections of vintage Star Wars toys and original cinema posters is going on display in The Novium Museum, Chichester.

May The Toys Be With You is both a celebration of the now highly collectable vintage toy line and of the iconic design work and art of the original Star Wars movies.

Back when the movie Star Wars broke box office records in 1977, no one could have predicted that the merchandise would go on to earn even more than the film itself. The toys of Star Wars took the world by storm and became the must-have playthings for an entire generation. From 1977 - 1985 an estimated 300 million action figures were sold, allowing children to re-enact the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo.

The exhibition features hundreds of incredible vintage toys, posters and memorabilia, including:

  • A 1977 movie poster by The Brothers Hildebrant. Given 36 hours to complete the poster, the twins worked collaboratively in a single non-stop session to achieve the print deadline.
  • A 1978 Death Star model. Rather than make a large, prohibitively expensive plastic playset, this design used cardboard pieces which slotted together to create the iconic corridors and chambers of the Empire's battle station.
  • 1978 Millennium Falcon. Designed by Kenner engineer Mark Boudreaux. A spaceship and playset in one. Children could sit Han Solo and Chewbacca in the cockpit, and the rear lid comes off to reveal a playset environment with gunners chair, training ball, and the iconic chess set.
  • The first 12 Star Wars figures from 1978. The term 'action figure' was coined in 1964 to describe the 12" tall Action Man and Barbie figures. Kenner made the Star Wars figures smaller at just 3.75" because they also wanted to create accompanying spaceships and playsets. The success of the Star Wars toy line ensured that 3.75" would become a new industry standard.
  • Archival footage of movie trailers and interviews with the toy makers and a soundscape using soundtracks from the Star Wars films, including music performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Visitors can also look forward to some interactive gallery features; dress up as a Star Wars character, pose for a selfie with a Storm Trooper, trails, and an opportunity to explore other toys from the 1970's with a look through a vintage toy box. 

Collector and Exhibition Curator Matt Fox says: "From X-Wing Fighters to Lightsabers, these fantastic designs have fired our imaginations and stamped their place on our cultural landscape. This exhibition has broken visitor attendance records at a host of museums around the country, and we're excited to now bring it to The Novium Museum in Chichester."

Councillor Jess Brown-Fuller, Cabinet Member for Culture and Events at Chichester District Council, says: "We're thrilled to be bringing this fascinating exhibition to Chichester, which will appeal to fans of all ages. This is an unmissable opportunity to view many rarely seen Star Wars treasures.

The exhibition will replace the hugely successful 'The Magic of Middle-earth' exhibition, dedicated to the incredible fantasy worlds brought to life by J.R.R. Tolkien, which closes on Sunday, 24 September.

'May The Toys Be With You' opens at The Novium Museum on Saturday, 7 October 2023 and will run until Saturday, 20 April 2024. Tickets cost £4 for adults, £2.50 for children and £12 for a family of up to five (maximum two adults).

Quiet sessions, for anyone who feels that they would benefit from a more relaxed experience, are available. Please see The Novium Museum's website for details. 

Entry to the rest of the museum remains free, with donations gratefully accepted.


Date of Release: 24 August 2023                                                        

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