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Astronomical Bidding War

11 July 2016
mars space artwork

Astronomical was a cheap attempt at a Star Wars pun… you know, stars and some sort of economical type mash-up. Many writers have written about Star Wars in the past and all the best lines have been stolen. In an auction room far, far away there are a few hundred auctioneers who have also tripped over some of the Star Wars related clichés.

In the south-west this week there was a sale of Star Wars memorabilia, including a three-foot statue of Darth Vader. Who would want a three-foot statue of Vader in their house? I’m guessing the millions of Star Wars fans are saying “who wouldn’t?” The auctioneer reported that the sale of 90 items would likely be over in an hour, such is the ferocity and passion of Star Wars collectors.

So, what is it about this film in particular that makes the items so collectable? The first reason is thanks to the filmmakers themselves. The film is full of iconic imagery that appeals to our childhood sense of wonder. Who wouldn’t want a Millennium Falcon? Better still one whose lid lifts off and you can see the inner machinations of the greatest spaceship of all time. Even the Death Star had a sort of dark appeal in its half-completed form. Only the Borg cube in Star Trek ever came close to the same sort of iconic imagery.

The filmmakers can also be thanked for extending the format over several generations. If Lucas had stopped at The New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, it is likely that the franchise would have aged. The generation of super-fanatics would slowly die out. The films would still have a certain cult appeal but nothing like the fervour that still remains today – that means 90 items will disappear in 60 minutes. By crossing into a new generation about 15 years ago with the three prequels and now again with a sequel to Return of the Jedi, the appeal reaches to a new generation. Not only that but the film is owned anew by each generation – teenagers speak about Star Wars as if their parents and grandparents might not know what they are talking about.

More than anything though Star Wars memorabilia appeals to the inner geek in us. We want the full collection of figures: including the Ewoks and Chewbacca. We want the ship that Luke Skywalker used to destroy the death star and a replica of C3P0. Star Wars not only offers desirable objects but also appeals to that yearning in all of us to have a complete set.

So with a final flourish of Star Wars cliché, I say: to the auction you must go, young collector.

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