The Big Picture
- An original X-Wing model from Star Wars found in personal collection of late modelmaker Greg Jein to be auctioned in Texas, starting at $400,000.
- X-Wing considered lost for decades, finally discovered among Jein’s collection by VFX historian and three other visual artists.
- The finding of the X-Wing solved a major mystery in the VFX community, as its whereabouts were unknown.
A major piece of film history is going up for auction, more than four decades after it went missing. An original X-Wing model from 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope will be sold at an upcoming auction in Dallas, Texas, after being discovered among the personal collection of late modelmaker Greg Jein.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the X-Wing will be auctioned off at a Heritage Auction on Oct. 14 and 15. Those who wish to get their hands on the original Star Wars model, though, will have to open their checkbooks pretty wide – the bidding for the X-Wing starts at $400,000. This pricetag isn’t all that surprising, though, given that the X-Wing in question is reportedly one of just four “hero miniatures” built for the film. The model served as the “Red Leader” or “Red One” X-Wing during the film’s climactic final battle, where the Rebel Alliance, including Luke Skywalker, attempts to destroy the Death Star. The model, which was additionally used during the filming of the ending trench run, includes articulating wings and light-up effects.
In addition to its filming significance, the X-Wing model also has a mythical property surrounding it, as it was considered lost for decades. In 1978, ILM, the visual effects company behind A New Hope, moved from the San Fernando Valley to the Bay Area, and the X-Wing, along with a number of other models, was unable to be tracked down. It was finally found when VFX historian Gene Kozicki, along with three other visual artists, discovered the X-Wing sitting in a cardboard box among Jein’s collection.
Questions About the Model Remain
Kozicki told The Hollywood Reporter that the finding of the X-Wing solved a major mystery among the VFX community. “We never could confirm anything. It became something of a mythical ‘white whale’ — the missing Star Wars X-Wing,” Kozicki said. He added that the artists “don’t exactly know the circumstances by which [Jein] came into possession of this model.”
Kozicki noted, though, that despite its decades in storage, the X-Wing “has not been displayed or modified since it left ILM. For those of us that grew up in the ’70s or ’80s, and those of us that work in visual effects, this model is as significant a find as the ruby red slippers or the Maltese Falcon.”
The full auction book with the X-Wing can be seen here.