A long-lost treasure from the original “Star Wars” film has resurfaced and is set to make waves in the auction world. A model of the iconic X-Wing Fighter, used in the climactic battle of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” has been unveiled and is now up for auction, with starting bids at a staggering US$400,000.
The X-Wing’s Legacy:
This 20-inch model, built by George Lucas’ visual effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, played a pivotal role in the film’s final battle, including the renowned trench run. It stands out as one of only four “hero models” specifically detailed for close-up shots, boasting articulating wings, functional lights, and battle scars. This particular model represented the X-Wings known as Red Leader, Red Two, and Red Five, with the latter being piloted by the film’s protagonist, Luke Skywalker.
The X-Wing model was found in the collection of the late Greg Jein, an Oscar-nominated model-maker known for his work on films like “1941” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Jein, who passed away last year at 76, had an impressive collection that also features an original Stormtrooper costume from “A New Hope,” an astronaut suit from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Batarang weapons from the 1960s Batman TV series, and various “Star Trek” props. This entire collection is set to be auctioned in Dallas on October 14 and 15.
Significance of the Find:
Heritage Auctions, responsible for the sale, has described the X-Wing model as “the pinnacle of Star Wars artifacts to ever reach the market.” Visual effects historian Gene Kozicki echoed this sentiment, comparing the model’s significance to iconic items like the ruby red slippers or the Maltese Falcon. For Kozicki and many others in the visual effects industry, the model was a “white whale,” as its whereabouts had been unknown for years.
The discovery was made by Kozicki and a group of Jein’s friends and VFX professionals. They stumbled upon the model in a cardboard box while assisting Jein’s family in organizing his collection. The realization of its authenticity was immediate, and the magnitude of the find quickly set in.
A Mystery Remains:
One intriguing question lingers: how did Jein, who never worked on “Star Wars,” come to own this priceless model? Kozicki speculates that Jein might have acquired it during his time working on Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” as many visual effects workers on that film were also involved with “Star Wars.”
The discovery of the X-Wing model is a testament to the enduring legacy and fascination surrounding the “Star Wars” universe. As fans and collectors await the auction, this find serves as a nostalgic trip back to the origins of a franchise that has captivated audiences for decades.
AQ: Discovery of the Rare Star Wars X-Wing Model
Q1: What significant “Star Wars” artifact has been discovered? A1: A model of the iconic X-Wing Fighter used in “Star Wars: A New Hope” has been found.
Q2: What is unique about this X-Wing model? A2: It’s one of only four “hero models” detailed for close-up shots in the film, featuring articulating wings, functional lights, and battle scars.
Q3: Where was the model found? A3: The X-Wing was discovered in the collection of the late Oscar-nominated model-maker, Greg Jein.
Q4: What other notable items were in Jein’s collection? A4: Jein’s collection also includes an original Stormtrooper costume from “A New Hope,” an astronaut suit from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Batarang weapons from the 1960s Batman TV series, and various “Star Trek” props.
Q5: When and where will the X-Wing model be auctioned? A5: The model will be auctioned in Dallas on October 14 and 15 by Heritage Auctions.
Q6: What is the starting bid for the X-Wing model? A6: The starting bid for the X-Wing model is set at US$400,000.
Q7: How did the model’s discovery come about? A7: Visual effects historian Gene Kozicki and a group of VFX professionals found the model in a cardboard box while assisting Jein’s family in organizing his collection.
Q8: How significant is this find in the “Star Wars” artifact market? A8: Heritage Auctions described the X-Wing model as “the pinnacle of Star Wars artifacts to ever reach the market.”
Q9: How did Jein, who never worked on “Star Wars,” acquire the model? A9: It’s speculated that Jein might have obtained it during his work on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” as many VFX workers on that film also worked on “Star Wars.”
Q10: What role did this X-Wing model play in “A New Hope”? A10: The model represented the X-Wings known as Red Leader, Red Two, and Red Five, with Red Five being piloted by Luke Skywalker.