Luke Skywalker’s Star Wars: A New Hope lightsaber withdrawn from auction due to authenticity concerns
Fans have wondered if the lightsaber is a recent replica or a prototype not seen on film. (Reuters)
A lightsaber described as having been used by Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars movie has been removed from sale at a US auction house after fans raised concerns about its authenticity.
- Prop maker Roger Christian supplied a certificate of authenticity but sale was still withdrawn
- A different lightsaber used by Mark Hamill fetched $626,165 last year
- Several models of the lightsaber were used for filming Star Wars: A New Hope
The lightsaber was due to be sold by Profiles in History at a Los Angeles auction on Thursday with an estimated sale price of up to $US200,000 ($278,270).
It was said to have been one of five designed by Oscar-winning Star Wars set decorator Roger Christian and used by actor Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker character in the 1977 film Star Wars: A New Hope.
But questions about provenance have swirled.
Hollywood memorabilia buffs and Star Wars fans wonder whether the lightsaber was used by Hamill in the film or if it is a replica or prototype.
Jason DeBord, the editor-in-chief of the originalprop.com blog, examined postings by Mr Christian on social media websites from 2015 and 2016 in which the artist wrote about making recent exact copies of prototypes of the 1977 Skywalker lightsaber.
Mr Christian, however, said the prop was legitimate.
“I personally made 5 for the filming by hand individually in my office with grafter parts I bought in and the scrap calculator bubble strip and D ring,” he posted on social media.
“I used strip for the handle, whatever I could find in my scrap. All superglued together by me no one else.
“This is 1 of them.”
Mr Christian had also supplied a letter of authenticity to accompany the sale.
After news of the sale was reported, Hamill warned potential buyers he had used several different models during filming.
Tweet from Mark Hamill: “Be Advised-There was no ONE lightsaber I used in the films, but many, MANY, both for myself & my stunt-double. Multiple duplicate back-up props are commonplace during production-When the handle ridges were cutting my hands, they even made a few w/ soft sponge ridges.”
Mark Hamill tweet: “You would be much more informed on this subject than I am, Roger. I’m not suggesting the auction is being dishonest in any way, only pointing out there is no ONE specific lightsaber used.”
Profiles in History subsequently decided to pull the piece from auction.
“In light of conflicting information regarding the origin of Roger Christian’s Lightsaber, Profiles in History has decided to withdraw the piece from this auction until Mr Christian can clear up the inconsistencies that have been brought to our attention,” Profiles in History chief executive Joe Maddalena said.
An original TIE fighter helmet from Star Wars: A New Hope is among the items to be sold. (Reuters)
Star Wars movies have made billions of dollars at the box office worldwide and props and costumes from the sci-fi saga can fetch high prices at auction.
While the lightsaber won’t be added to any fan’s collection soon, there are still about 25 other items being auctioned, including an original black TIE fighter pilot helmet from the first film that could go for up to $417,388.
A pair of droid C-3PO’s hands used in Return of the Jedi had a pre-sale estimated value of $55,659–$83,489, while a Stormtrooper helmet used in the 2015 movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens and signed by the main cast members was expected to sell for between $111,313 and $166,970.
A different lightsaber used by Hamill fetched $626,165 at auction last year and a complete R2-D2 droid sold for $3.84 million in 2017.