More Than Fiction

On Thursday May 4, also known to some as “Star Wars Day,” The Charleston Museum will host a special event, More Than Fiction, from 6 – 8 pm. The science fiction tales of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, popularized in film, often have their basis in historic themes and artifacts.

During this event, the Museum will display a special pop-up exhibit with a selection of objects from our collections that showcase this connection, with an emphasis on the Star Wars series and the historic inspiration behind some of its themes. Guests are invited to come dressed as characters from their favorite sci-fi films, books and comics. Dressing up is not required, but if you’re worried you might be the only one in sci-fi attire, the 501st Carolina Garrison will be in attendance in full costume!

Tickets are all inclusive and purchases can be made online or over the phone.

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Here are a few examples of some of the items attendees will find on display.


The Museum will display a variety of crystals in colors of the light sabers – red, green, clear, purple and blue. Did you know that the light saber is powered by the “Kyber Crystal”? While this galaxy does not have its own Kyber Crystal, we do have our own beautiful and powerful examples worth displaying!



George Lucas was greatly inspired by the films of Akira Kurosawa and the Japanese culture. These influences are clear throughout his work, particularly between members of the Jedi order and traditional samurai, from their code of honor and discipline to their robes and Jedi style of fighting. Light saber combat seems to be closely modelled after the style samurai used when fighting with Katanas.


Samurai suit and a German military helmet from WWII


Darth Vader’s costume is inspired by the traditional samurai helmet combined with WWII influences such as gas masks and German military helmets.

Darth Vader’s costume wasn’t the only one that drew inspiration from Samurai armor; Zam Wesell, a bounty hunter from Episode II, also wore an outfit inspired by the armor.

Did you know that imperial officers’ uniforms were also inspired by those worn by German soldiers during WWII?


NASA’s First Images of Mars, taken by Viking 1 in 1976

Yes, we know, the Star Wars series was not set on Mars. However, Mars is a desert planet just like Tatooine, home to Anakin and Luke Skywalker, or Aquilae, a planet from the comics. Furthermore, George Lucas pulled inspiration from the Barsoom series books, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. These books include titles such as A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and the Warlord of Mars.

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