Continuing the recent trend of props auctioning at huge prices, a model X-Wing used in Star Wars: A New Hope has sold at auction for $2.3 million.
The screen-matched Red Leader X-Wing miniature was originally created by Industrial Light & Magic especially for the movie and fetched a staggering $2,375,000 according to the auction house.
This particular X-Wing was flown by Red Leader Garven Dreis (Drewe Henley) in the movie and featured heavily in the film’s final battle sequence when the Rebels attack the Death Star.
But while screen-used props aren’t exactly rare, this one is – most of the X-Wings from A New Hope were destroyed using pyrotechnics while filming that climactic battle.
This particular X-Wing is one of only a handful left.
“The X-wing fighter model presented here was originally built as the Red Leader (Red One) pyro model,” explains the item listing. “Red Leader’s pyro shot in the film features an explosion on the back of an engine, but the ship itself remained completely intact (Red Leader then meets his end by crashing into the Death Star surface, in a shot that was an explosion only, with no ship model.)”
The shot of Red Leader’s engine explosion is documented extensively in behind-the-scenes footage, showing that the original model remained intact.
The origins of the model were then confirmed using extensive screen-matching.
“In comparing the pyro Red Leader model to the hero Red Leader model, several specific details make it clear that it is the Red Leader pyro model on screen. Two production photos showing different sides of the pyro Red Leader model show exact matches to numerous details with this specific X-wing model, confirming it is the original Red Leader pyro model.”
This particular X-Wing model is believed to be the only X-Wing that is owned by a private collector, making it extremely sought after among those who can afford the $2.3 million price tag.
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The only surviving hero models are thought to still be owned by George Lucas himself.
“Included with the lot is an authentic giclee print showing this model in the ILM workshop photograph taken by Chris Casady, rotoscope and animation design animator on the film, during his time on the film in early 1977. The period image shows the model in great detail and is signed by photographer Casady.”
The model itself is said to be well-preserved and in excellent condition. Considering the call-backs to the original trilogy in the recent Obi-Wan series, perhaps Disney could borrow it from its new owner.
At least, if Season 2 eventually gets the go-ahead.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.
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