Ever wonder what Darth Vader baby slippers look like? A Cream of Jawa Soup can? Or a Wookiee cell phone holder? Well, here's your chance to see some of the coolest Star Wars collectibles ever made.
Uber-collector Steve Sansweet is taking his Rancho Obi-Wan museum, the largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia that exists, on the road and will be exhibiting a "carefully curated" portion of his collection at Star Wars Celebration VI Aug. 23-26 in Orlando, Fla. And better yet, we've got a sneak peek for you right here at the bottom of this article.
"It's going to be the first time that we've ever taken anything on the road," said Sansweet, whose museum is located in Sonoma County, Calif. "It certainly makes sense to do it at Celebration VI surrounded by a bunch of enthusiastic fans and fellow collectors. We're going to do it up in the best way that we know."
Sansweet, who's written 16 books on Star Wars, admits that his non-profit Rancho Obi-Wan museum has somewhere around 200,000 pieces in a 9,000-square-foot space. He's been collecting since BEFORE the movie came out, when he was a reporter and he was able to grab a full-colorStar Wars brochure Fox and Lucasfilm had sent to film bookers and the media out of another reporter's garbage can. Since then he's snatched up every bit of Star Wars he's been able to find.
Out of his enormous collection, he's bringing about 150 unique pieces to the Star Wars Celebration VI, where he'll have about 600 square feet for the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience. The Experience will be free to Celebration attendees.
Because Sansweet only has 600 square feet of exhibit space, the Experience is "a very carefully curated exhibit with some of my favorite things. Some rare items, commercial items that were never produced, such as both versions of the elusive missile-firing Boba Fett that could never get released because of product safety issues, to fan-made items like the pinata, to interactive displays that we've had built that people haven't seen. What we wanted to do was bring stuff that people would not see anywhere else. So a bunch of international objects which show the breadth of Star Wars, a bunch of items that were of its time," he said.
And then there are the downright weird items.
"One of the ones that I'm bringing to the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience at Celebration is the Crotch of 4-LOM, a bounty hunter in The Empire Strikes Back. Now, you may ask, how do you come up with something like that? Everything has a weird story, and it's about a guy in L.A., and he had this piece, and he was desperate to make the rent. He had offered it to me over a couple of months, each time coming down lower and lower. I can specifically remember leaving a convention in Pasadena and starting to walk across the boulevard. It was dark, and this car starts pulling up. I was thinking, 'Is this a hit?' And it's him. I bought it out of his car window. He was so desperate to make the rent, and this was what the rent was, and it was less than half of what he had initially wanted. And I thought, 'Why am I doing this?' But it's a piece that's interesting," he said.
"I have a lot of fan-made stuff. One of my favorite things, and I think the thing that really started me on collecting the fan-made items, is a Bantha pinata. It won first prize in the pinata category in a Star Wars convention in Mexico City. And I waited, oh, 20 minutes for the guy to come pick up his pinata and get his certificate, and he finally came, and I said, 'Um, I don't know if you're interested, but I would really love to buy this and let lots of fans see it.' And he said, 'Oh, well, I wouldn't know what to charge you for it.' And I thought, 'Okay, here comes the hammer.' And he said, 'It only cost me about four dollars in supplies.' And I said, 'Well, but it's your artistry and time. I'll give you a hundred bucks for it.' And his wife was there and she punched him in the arm and said, 'Take it!' And he did, and I was hooked, and I had him sign it. We became long-distance friends, and for the 30th anniversary of Empire he sent me this magnificent Tauntaun pinata, which we'll be bringing to the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience."
Sansweet, who is under contract with Lucasfilm as the official Fan Relations Advisor, feels Star Wars items have "influenced popular culture, and pop culture and the times influenced Star Wars, plus all that fans have brought to Star Wars over the years. So we're going to have art, we're going to have mannequins. We're going to display a crew outfit from Hoth, otherwise known as Norway, for the amazing battle scenes at Echo Base. We've got the crew gear from the director of photography for that unit shoot. We have a rain suit worn at the battle for the Endor bunker, which was actually northern California," he said.
"Star Wars and merchandise and collectibles are so bound up in the history of the times, in the history of cinema and pop culture. It's just amazing that it is as strong today, I think, as it ever was. With The Clone Wars and what's been going on, it's passed from one generation to another to another."
As for the Celebration, Sansweet is expecting 30,000 fans. "That's about what we got at Celebration V last time in Orlando. This time the announcement came out earlier. There are a lot of people, after reading about Celebration V, who were bummed that they hadn't gone. So I think people had more time to plan and save up. I'm expecting a really big crowd. That's one of the main reasons people go to Celebration, that real sense of community and sharing and just having great fun and getting autographs. It's a very exciting four days."
So who's going to be at Celebration who might be autograph-worthy? Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and a host of others.
You can still get paper tickets for Star Wars Celebration VI until tonight at 11:59 p.m. and get them mailed to you by ordering from the website at http://www.starwarscelebration.com/. To find out more about the Rancho Obi-Wan museum, visit http://ranchoobiwan.org/.
Here's an exclusive video tour of Rancho Obi-Wan and a look at what to expect with Star Wars Celebration:
Here's a sneak peek at 12 of the items that will be in Orlando at the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience during the Star Wars Celebration VI.