Rebecca Hawkes enjoys a sneak preview of the new Star Wars exhibition at Madame Tussauds London

When Marie Tussaud first brought her waxworks to Britain in the early Nineteenth century, people had a (perfectly understandable) thing for looking at the wax effigies of recently executed French royalty.

Nowadays, of course, people have an (equally understandable, and only slightly less fun) thing for taking selfies. One of the main selling points of London’s Madame Tussauds is that, while it is, essentially, a building full of waxworks, it allows you to photograph yourself next to various frozen-in-motion celebrities, dead and alive.

If you happen to be a Star Wars fan, the attraction’s new Star Wars exhibition, opening on May 16, is basically selfie-heaven.

Telegraph writer Rebecca Hawkes and friend meet Yoda at the Dagobah Swamps

The National Gallery may have banned selfie-sticks, but, when I attended a recent preview of the Star Wars Tussauds exhibition, they were gleefully handing them out. Want to take a million pictures of yourself next to Harrison Ford circa 1977 (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t)? Snap away. Want a memento of yourself battling Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, or recreating the famous “I am Your Father” moment with Vader (technically also Anakin)? Go for it.

A visitor gets close to Han Solo at the Cantina exhibit

The exhibition itself consists of faithful recreations of 11 scenes from all six Star Wars films. It was clear that a great deal of passion had gone into the project: 180 people had spent 12 months working on the models. LucasFilm were also apparently very helpful, supplying archive photographs from the set of the original three films.

The Death Star throne room exhibit Credit: © Mikael Buck

The scenes chosen vary from Solo in the Cantina – you can sit and play “who shot first?” to your heart’s content –, to Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine in the Death Star Throne Room, to Jabba the Hutt, with jester Salacious B Crumb (long-known in my family as “that laughing thing that sounds a bit like your sister”) and, somewhat predictably, a gold bikini-sporting Princess Leia. Lightsabers are also included, allowing visitors to insert themselves into various scenes, joining in some of the duels.

For me, the very best exhibit is a recreation of the bridge of the Millennium Falcon, which allows visitors to sit in a chair, next to Chewie, and essentially pretend to be Han Solo. There is even a button that recreates the ship’s star-streaming hyperdrive effect: it's extremely difficult to stop pressing it and move away.

The much-loved Wookiee himself is also pretty impressive: he stands at two metres high (although is actually sitting down), and is beautifully tactile. It apparently took a team of 10 “expert hair inserters” 1,000 hours to individually insert each of the real yak hairs used to create his fur.

Another highlight is the 66 cm-high  Jedi Master Yoda, depicted chilling out in the Dagobah Swamps from 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back (the exhibit also features fog, and an authentically swampy smell). More so than with any other figure, there is something strangely “realistic” about Yoda – although this perhaps isn't too surprising, given that in the original movies the character is, in fact, a puppet.

If I have one caveat, it’s that it would be nice to see some Ewoks – but I can admit that I’m probably in the minority on that one.

Overall, the Star Wars exhibition is definitely one of the more exciting attractions to open at Tussauds for ages. With JJ Abrams’s new film heading to cinemas later this year, it’ll also likely be packed for months to come. My advice? Brave the crowds, pick up a lighsaber, and get stuck in.

Full list of scenes included in the exhibition:


(featured in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace

2. DRAMATIC LIGHTSABER DUEL with Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul

(featured in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

Credit: © Mikael Buck

3. MUSTAFAR with Anakin Skywalker

(featured in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith)

Credit: © Mikael Buck

4. IN THE CANTINA with Han Solo

(featured in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope)


(featured in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope)


(featured in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope)

7. DEATH STAR WALKWAY protected by two Stormtroopers

(featured in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope)


(featured in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back)


9. ‘I AM YOUR FATHER’ SCENE with Darth Vader

(featured in Star Wars: Episode VI  Return of the Jedi)

Credit: © Mikael Buck


10. JABBA’S THRONE ROOM with Princess Leia, Jabba the Hutt and Salacious B. Crumb

(featured in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)

11. DEATH STAR THRONE ROOM with Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine

(featured in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)



The new Star Wars exhibition is included within the admission price of Madame Tussauds London. Prices start from £24.75 for adults and £21.60 for children. For more information, visit: