Trinity College Dublin is taking legal advice on whether Star Wars director Mr George Lucas used an image of the college's famous Long Room library without its permission or knowledge.
The Long Room, which forms part of Trinity's 18th century Old Library building, is regarded as one of the most impressive libraries in Europe. It attracts half a million visitors a year and is nearly 65 metres in length.
A spokeswoman said yesterday the college was aware that a scene from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones included shots of a building that appeared very similar to the Long Room. The college's librarian, Mr Robin Adams, has been studying the images for the past few weeks and legal action may be instigated. The college said no agreement had been reached with Mr Lucas or his companies to use the image.
Fans of the Star Wars series have been speculating about the similarities for the last few weeks. The website irish-architecture.com has also entered the debate by suggesting the two images are remarkably similar.
"The similarities are obvious, from the arched barrel vault running the length of the room to the double-height book stacks. Even the busts and statuary of the Jedi Archive mirror the busts of figures from the academic world in the Long Room," claims the site.
"Is it too much of a coincidence that designers at Lucas Films would produce a library with not only a similar book arrangement to the Long Room, but a similar roof? A roof that was not original but added by later generations to solve a specific problem?" A spokesman for Mr Lucas, however, denied there was any connection between the Long Room and the Jedi Archives featured in the film.
The Long Room houses around 200,000 of Trinity's oldest books. When built, it had a flat plaster ceiling, with shelves for books on the lower level only, and an open gallery. By the 1850s these shelves had become full. Marble busts of philosophers such as Plato and Socrates are placed down either side of the room. One of the dozen or so remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Republic is also on display.