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'Star Wars' creator selects Chicago for museum

CHICAGO -- “Star Wars” creator George Lucas announced Tuesday that he has picked Chicago to host his much-anticipated museum of art and movie memorabilia, in a major victory for the nation's third-largest city.

San Francisco and Los Angeles also had sought the museum. Lucas said in a written statement that he hopes to open the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in 2018.

“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,” the statement said.

The selection was somewhat of a surprise, given Lucas' close ties to California: He is a native of the state, Lucasfilm's visual effects division is based in San Francisco and the headquarters for Lucasfilm and Skywalker Sound is across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County.

But Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed hard for his city. And Chicago was always given a good chance at the Lucas museum, in large part because Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, a prominent businesswoman, is from Chicago and the city closed down Promontory Point along the Lake Michigan shore so the couple could host a star-studded party to celebrate after the couple's California wedding.

For the Lucas museum, Chicago offered up a slice of real estate along the lakefront that is near other attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. At the same time, San Francisco suffered a setback when it rejected Lucas' first choice of a location near the Golden Gate Bridge.

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In this March 1976 publicity photo released by Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM, director George Lucas and actor Mark Hamill, who portrays young Luke Skywalker, are shown on the salt flats of Tunisia during principal photography of the original “Star Wars.” (AP)

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