Image: Rock Island Auction (Instagram)

Though the lightsaber is undoubtedly the single most iconic weapon to emerge from the original Star Wars trilogy, blasters – though uncivilised – comes close.

And there’s no blaster as memorable as the one wielded by scoundrel-with-a-heart Han Solo, pilot of the Millennium Falcon and general in the Rebel Alliance. The movie-original DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol prop will be available for purchase at an auction sale, organised by Rock Island Auction Company next month. That’s right, it’s not a replica – it’s one of three actual prop blasters wielded by the smuggler during the movie.

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The history behind the iconic blaster

The blasters, and other props and set designs were a result of director George Lucas’ philosophy for Star Wars’ visuals.

He envisioned a gritty, lived-in sci-fi world rather than the picture-perfect utopias common in that era. That’s why so many props were deliberately fashioned from surplus weapons.

This includes Han’s blaster, a remodeled Mauser C96 pistol now made notorious by Han Solo. It appeared most notably in one of the character’s earliest and most famous fight scenes against bounty hunter Greedo.

Just one caveat. The prop that is up for auction is – technically – not the exact same blaster that appeared on the silver screen. According to a letter produced by Tony Watts, who acquired Bapty & Co (the London-based prop company in-charge of creating Star Wars’ weapons), he and Carl Schmidt, Star Wars’ lead armourer, essentially recreated the weapon after a painstaking process of digging through storage boxes and tracking down movie-original parts.

Though some parts were lost to history, the original Mauser pistol, functional scope and scope mount have been recovered and reassembled. This yielded an “end result [that] contains 80 per cent of the last remaining pieces of this iconic prop”. They have also converted it to a non-firing weapon (it could originally fire blanks). 

The blaster will go on auction on August 27, with an estimated bidding price ranging from US$300,000 (S$416,000) to S$694,000. To sweeten the deal, a Han Solo photograph, signed by Harrison Ford, accompanies the blaster.

Find out more here.

(Related: Auctions are a thriving market despite the pandemic)

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