Many hobbyists have long been puzzled by the images and story on the Elstree Props website pertaining to their Luke Skywalker lightsaber purported to be original and from unseen scenes from Return of the Jedi.
This prop now appears listed for sale on the website Specialist Auctions, with a “Snap it Up” price of 30,000 GBP (over $55,000).
I would be interested in learning more details about this piece from Elstree Props, LFL, or any collectors with insights and opinions about the prop or the notion of this scene from the film as described on the Elstree website and in marketing of this piece for sale.
Below is the auction listing itself and accompanying images:
Full Auction Archive: Elstree Props Return of the Jedi Lightsaber Auction
This is a very rare and special piece of motion picture history that we are reluctantly offering for sale. My father ran Norank Eng Co Ltd, resident studio engineers at Elstree Film Studios during the 1970’s and 80’s.
Norank worked on 120 films and made many things for the original Star Wars trilogy, including work on R2-D2, C-3PO, the X-Wings and the light sabers and much more.
This auction is for the actual lightsaber that was made for Luke Skywalker to use in Return of the Jedi for the scenes where he makes his own lightsaber based on his master’s, Obi Wan Kenobi.
Luke lost his own saber in the battle with Darth Vader at then end of Empire Strikes Back, and a whole sequence was shot in Obi Wan’s cave showing Luke making a new one. This is why the colour suddenly changes from a blue lightsaber to a green one! This is a fully functional saber, the emitter tip opens, the body unlocks and twists open, the control panel opens and the back also extends. There are other secrets too, that only the winning bidder will discover!
The rquirement for this scene was that Luke would be seen with the saber fully extended, then pick it up and compress it down and lock it with a twist. The saber still does this, and makes a lovely “hiss” as the mechanisms engage. This is a part of Star Wars folklore, many sites exist which ask what happened to his saber, why it suddenly changed, whether these scenes were actually shot etc.
We have seen call sheets for this days shooting and Anthony Daniels remembers shooting outside the cave set, but wheteher the actual scenes exist no-one knows.
This piece will come in a custom built museum quality lockable display case with working led lighting system, backdrop and plaque, plus a letter from the maker and a film studio COA.
Original lightsabers like this (but not functional!) have reached prices as high as £76,000 in the old auction houses! We are open to offers from any collectors who guarantee not to resell this, so have a haggle! Good Luck!
Here is the Elstree Props website description:
Full Archive: Elstree Props Return of the Jedi Lightsaber Description
Okay, below is a set of pictures which we ask you please not to copy. You may link to any of our pages, that’s why they are here, but we don’t want people trying to receate this and passing it off as an original. There are dealers out there who will! So we have obscured key details.
This is a very unique one-off for the scenes where Luke is in Obi_Wan’s hut making his new lightsaber after losing his in the battle with Darth Vader . A Jedi apprentice always bases his own lightsaber on his Jedi masters, which is why this one resembles Obi’s more than Vader’s.
This is a close-up model built to show the detailing inside. Many parts unlock and slide open! The whole saber can be telescoped shut in one move, with a satisfying whoosh of compressed air rom the pistons inside! One twist and the whole saber locks solid to be hung from the belt.
These scenes were shot, but cut from the movie, and later lost! We hoped they would on the new DVD but they aren’t. So this isn’t screen-used sadly. But in a way that’s better as we get to keep it!
Note the Elstree Props web page characterizes the piece by stating, “this isn’t screen-used”.
As an aside, I found the comment in the auction description for a “guarantee to not resell” to be interesting.
Also curious is the choice of auctioning this piece via Specialist Auctions, which I’d never heard of, when Elstree has previously consigned high end original Star Wars props to Profiles in History, or even sold them directly on eBay. There are a total of only 10 original props listed on Specialist Auctions at the time of this writing, and it appears most to all are listed by Elstree Props as well, so it does not seem to be a site frequented or monitored by original prop collectors.
In any event, as noted, I’d be interested in learning more about the provenance of this prop, as it relates to authenticity and the notion that it is an original prop made for use in Return of the Jedi.
Jason De Bord