Star Wars: Death Star in the trash? The unlikely fate of Darth Vader’s ultimate weapon

An iconic object of a story no less, the Death Star appeared in 1977 in the first installment of Star Wars. Its original model had a rather incredible and even moving fate…

It’s an understatement to say that we’re very close to seeing an oh-so-iconic creation of pop culture disappear forever: the original model of the Death Star, first seen in A New Hope.

A creation we especially owe to legendary art director and production designer Norman Reynolds, who left us in early April 2023, aged 89, and who was rightly an Oscar winner for his work on George’s story. lucas..

It was long believed that many props and other models were thrown in the trash after filming. In fact, most of the props and models were stored in a warehouse called a warehouse Dollar moving and storage. The warehouse was rented by the studio until post-production of the film was completed.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

As published an impressive post from the site Powerpop In this regard, the owner of this warehouse informed Lucasfilm that it was going to close. As a result Lucasfilm and Fox had to vacate the premises. But the person concerned didn’t hear back from the studio… so the owner asked an employee to throw the objects, including the Death Star model, in the trash.

But the latter changed his mind and kept the model in his home in California for almost ten years. In 1988, he moved to Missouri and stored the famous model in a second-hand shop run by his mother.

A collector of Star Wars objects named Todd Franklin stopped by the store one day to discover the model. Convinced that it was the original model, he tried to negotiate a purchase price, without success.

A Death Star turned into a can bin

A few weeks later, he returned to the charge, only to find that the model had already been finally sold, to a man who hosted a country music show named after him. starworld. This new buyer installed the Death Star on the ground floor of his performance hall.

In 1994, after learning of Star World’s financial difficulties that threatened to close, Todd Franklin, his brother and a friend went there and discovered on the spot that the Star of the Dead model was now in use. As for the can bin…. When you know the price of accessories from the Star Wars saga, regularly selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, it makes you wonder. And it hurts.

They offered the manager of the Country Show Club to buy the iconic model; The latter is accepted. After this quest for the Grail new buyers posed for the successor.

Todd Franklin

They approached Lucasfilm in hopes of reselling the model to the company, but the firm was apparently not interested. In 1999, a well-known Star Wars collector named Gus Lopez contacted the trio to offer them a trade. Since then, the latter is still the proud owner of this iconic object.

This Death Star is housed in a Plexiglas box, with a button on top. When visitors press it, small lights on the model illuminate, while the sound of the Imperial March plays. We can imagine the shivers running down the audience’s spine..

Here’s what it looks like now in its box…

In any case, a rather incredible story, which ends in a beautiful way, with the assurance that this object that has stirred the imagination of millions is now in good hands.

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