Original ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia coming to the Valley for a limited time
The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! at Arizona Boardwalk announced a new Star Wars–themed display of ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia that fans of the pop culture phenomenon are sure to love. The exhibit will include the original lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back™, the Hans Solo™ Blaster gun used by Harrison Ford in Return of the Jedi™, and a C-3PO™ Special Effects Head, part of the costume made for actor Anthony Daniels in The Empire Strikes Back, among other memorabilia from the Original Trilogy. The rare pieces from the blockbuster movie franchise will be on-exhibit for a limited appearance, March 4 – 27. Guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite Star Wars® attire or as a beloved movie character for the attraction’s Star Wars Days March 4 – 6 in honor of the new exhibit.
“Luke Skywalker’s original lightsaber is the crown jewel in our Hollywood memorabilia collection,” says Edward Meyer, VP of Exhibits & Archives for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! who acquired the piece at the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction on June 28, 2017, for a staggering $450,000. “It is the most important and famous movie prop of all time!”
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Believe it or not, this lightsaber was constructed from a vintage 1930s Graflex camera flash gun. The handle still has the original Graflex logo etched into it. It comes from the archives of Gary Kurtz, the producer on the first two Star Wars films.
“We are extremely lucky to bring these coveted pieces of Star Wars memorabilia to the Valley,” said Ran Knishinsky, CMO and Managing Partner at Arizona Boardwalk. “At Arizona Boardwalk, we have a strong contingency of Star Wars fans on our team, so the excitement over this display is extremely high internally. We are looking forward to sharing these epic treasures with our fellow fans!”
Luke’s lightsaber will be displayed at The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! along with Han Solo’s Blaster, which was bought at auction in 2018 for $550,000, making it the most expensive item in Ripley’s Star Wars collection. The Blaster was custom built from a model version of the German Mauser C96 gun but with additional parts, and cast resin pieces attached, creating the most iconic sci-fi weapon in the history of film. Han Solo is seen using his blaster in various scenes on Endor throughout the second half of The Empire Strikes Back.
Another exciting movie artifact that will resonate with fans is a custom C-3PO costume head created to be worn by Anthony Daniels, the actor who played the movie’s famous fussy droid. Daniels, who wore a heavy and uncomfortable fiberglass C-3PO head in Star Wars, approved a new design for an injection-molded, plastic head for The Empire Strikes Back. Unforeseen by cast and crew, the plastic shrank in the molding process, causing it to become too small for Daniels. The head was kept and used for close-ups and special effects shots in the movie. Today, it is considered one of the best-preserved C-3PO heads from the films.
These rare pieces of Star Wars memorabilia and more, including a life-size Clone Trooper made entirely out of scrap metal auto parts (believe it or not!) will be on display for a limited time: March 4 – March 27. Ripley’s is located on the second floor of Arizona Boardwalk, adjacent to OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland. Hours: Sun. – Thurs. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Fri./Sat. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Guests can purchase tickets onsite or online at www.RipleysAZ.com. The last entry time for guests is 45 minutes before closing.
Visitors are encouraged to wear a Star Wars costume (outfit, shirt, hairstyle) to The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on March 4 – 6 to celebrate Star Wars Days with other fans from across the ‘Valley’ galaxy! All guests dressed in some Star Wars attire will have their name entered to win tickets to other exciting Arizona Boardwalk attractions such as OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Surprise Your Eyes, etc. Good luck to all and ‘may the force be with you!’