The Force is With You in St. Maarten

Movie buffs and Star Wars fans will be over the moon once they discover the most surprising museum in the entire Caribbean tucked away on Front Street in Philipsburg.

 “The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit" ( is a one of a kind exhibition created by Nick Maley, who settled on the island after a stellar career as a creature effects wizard in Hollywood. Nick was a senior team member that created creatures for the very first Star Wars movie and Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back. That’s a huge claim to fame as it is, but he also worked on many other blockbusters like Superman, Highlander, Krull and Lifeforce to name just a few, and fashioned effects with big name actors like Sean Connery, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Harrison Ford. He has also garnered a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for one of his prosthetics, and was nominated for an Emmy!

In the museum, you'll find everything about the creation of the original Yoda, but you’ll also discover an incredible collection of life casts. The faces of Hollywood stars taken from molds of their actual faces will amaze you in their likeness. The spitting image of stars like Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Michael Jackson, and even Angelina Jolie will certainly make you do a double take!

There's also an eclectic array of movie displays. Is that Darth Vader looking at you from the corner of the room? And, oh look, it’s Pinhead from Hellraiser! And of course, the original pirate of the Caribbean Johnny Depp is also represented there. There are also videos of how movie magic is made, and all kinds of unique items on sale like posters, comics and authentic storyboards, even celebrity signed scripts. The fascinating displays span over sixty years of movie-making and include items from The Terminator, Men in Black and the classic Maltese Falcon.

Nick says, “We've really expanded in the last two months, and now the museum is twice the size as it was! This includes holograms that tell inside stories about the making of Star Wars.”

And if you’re lucky, you’ll meet the master craftsman himself at his shop and get to chat about everything special effects. But if Nick's not there, chances are good he’s off working on his latest pet project, the Saving Yoda Campaign. He explains, “We want to rebuild the world’s most popular fully functional puppet alien to preserve the technology for future generations, and to present a physical historical record of how it was done. But we also want the film makers to return to practical effects whenever Yoda appears in future Star Wars Anthology movies - ones before Yoda has died.”

It's clear that the creative force runs very deep in this man far beyond special effects mastery. Nick has also painted outstanding Caribbean artwork that’s been exhibited in eighteen countries, and toured the world with UNESCO. And of course, St Maarten is his main muse.

So what did this pioneer of the franchise think of the latest Star Wars movie? He says, “I liked the movie. It got back the old magic. A few things I wouldn't have done maybe, but it's a 9 out of 10 for sure.” But though the new flick is entitled “The Force Awakens”, when you visit this institution of Star Wars affection, you’re bound to see that for Nick Maley... it never really went to sleep!

For much more about all the projects and exhibits see these links:


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