Centre Stage Hologram

“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

Back in 1977, Princess Leia – with the fine help of R2-D2 – surprised the audience, and Luke Skywalker, by appearing in holographic form to deliver a most important message.

“General Kenobi. Years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack, and I’m afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

Here’s how author George Lucas described the hologram in the Revised Fourth Draft of his Star Wars script:

‘The fragment breaks loose with a snap, sending Luke tumbling head over heels. He sits up and sees a twelve-inch three-dimensional hologram of Leia Organa, the Rebel senator, being projected from the face of little Artoo. The image is a rainbow of colors as it flickers and jiggles in the dimly lit garage. Luke’s mouth hangs open in awe.’

Here’s what the final version looked like:



Now, in 2020,  the holograms have moved from droid-assisted emergency messaging to headlining global concert tours. For years, in fact, holographic vocaloid Hatsune Miku has been performing to lyric-screaming crowds wielding glowsticks. This year, Japan’s favourite hologram is scheduled to perform at Coachella.



More controversial are the concerts where performers passed are brought back to stage in holographic form – Tupac Shakur, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly.  Right now, you’ll find all sorts of debate online around An Evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour. Inspiring or creepy? A great honour or disrespectful?

If you’re looking to weigh in on the debate yourself, Vancouver is hosting a hologram this weekend. Renowned soprano Maria Callas  – ‘La Divina’ (1923-1977)  – will be appearing in holographic form on February 22nd at the Orpheum Theatre with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Callas in Concert is, like the Whitney Tour, a production of BASE Hologram. The VSO – and the Callas hologram? – will be led by the Irish conductor and composer, Eímear Noone. You might recall her star turn conducting the Best Original Score Medley at the 2020 Academy Awards.



What do you think?

Written by Elizabeth Newton


Header Photo: Tomas Williams




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