In 1977, most of the original props for Star Wars were kept in a storage locker in California. Upon completing the film’s post-production, the studio decided they didn’t want to keep paying the rent on the storage unit, so they ordered everything stored there to be discarded. Although some of the props were taken as keepsakes by some of the production crew, most of them were just thrown into dumpsters.
However, one of the crew discarding the props, Doug, decided to save a few pieces including the original Death Star prop. Doug proudly kept this on display at his house for roughly a decade, before moving to Missouri in 1988 and storing it at his mother’s antique shop.
Then, a long time ago in an antiques shop far far away, a Star Wars fan and collector, Todd Franklin, drove past the shop and saw the Death Star on display. Todd was convinced it wasn’t a replica, but the real thing – although he wasn’t too sure why exactly it was in some remote antiques shop in the sticks.
After doing a few days research, Todd contacted Lucasfilm and they said that the original Death Star had met its end in a dumpster and the one he was enamored with had to be a fan-made replica. But Todd didn’t buy what Lucasfilm were saying and he compared photos of the original prop to the Death Star in question and deduced it had to be the original.
So, with newfound resolve, Todd gathered up his Galactic Credits and went to go buy the Death Star.
But alas, it was not to be. The Death Star had just been sold to a gent named Mark, the owner of a country and western music show called Star World. For the next few years the DS-1 Battlestation sat proudly on display in the lobby of Star World before Todd’s chance came around again. However, it didn’t sit proudly for too long…
In 1993, Star World closed their doors. Todd, along with his buddy Tim and brother Pat, went to go buy the Death Star. Everything in Star World had been liquidated, except for the Death Star. Although sadly, the Death Star had seen better days. It was sat in the corner of the lobby, with the radar dish taken out and rubbish overflowing out from it.
The Death Star had gone from world-ending super-weapon to trash can.
Todd, Pat and Tim purchased the Death Star on the spot, restoring it and giving it a new radar dish that Todd’s grandmother made out of cardboard. For years Todd and co. had the Death Star on display in shifts at their homes, because it’s the Death Star and who wouldn’t?
In 1999, Star Wars collector Gus Lopez contacted Todd and his Death Star partners asking to purchase it which, after a couple months of talks, they decided to do.
Gus was given a tour of the Death Star’s historical locations by Todd and later on had a props-maker create a more accurate radar dish replica so that Todd could keep the one his grandma had made. Nowadays, Gus occasionally sends the Death Star on tours around the galaxy, making its way to public galleries for fans everywhere to view.
Let’s hope that the next owner of the Death Star has good intentions for it just like Todd, Pat, Tim and Gus do, because if the next person to own the Death Star doesn’t have good intentions for it then it could end up as a trash can once again. Or worse yet, we could have another Alderaan on our hands…