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How a Star Wars Superfan Scoured the Earth for Space Debris

Brandon Alinger takes Star Wars fandom more seriously than the average fanatic. He started building his own Star Wars props when he was 12, and at 17 talked his family into vacationing in Tunisia, where he got to see the Tatooine movie set. Alinger studied film in college, worked at the Prop Shop, and worked his way into Lucasfilm. All that time, he collected Star Wars props and memorabilia. Alinger found some internet fame in January when he appeared on Mark Hamill's Pop Culture Quest and reunited the actor with the original light saber prop he used in Return of the Jedi. Alinger gave an interview to explain his amazing journey to the apex of Star Wars prop collectors. Here's a sample:

Collectors Weekly: Why did Mark use Obi-Wan’s old lightsaber in the third movie instead of the original made from the Graflex flash gun?

Alinger: Luke had to use a different lightsaber because he lost the weapon when he lost his hand in “The Empire Strikes Back” fight with Vader. Howard Kazanjian had a lot of the production photos for “Jedi.” When we were researching the book, we found a contact sheet with photos from the very first day of filming “Jedi.” One image showed Mark Hamill on the sandstorm set—for a scene was cut from the movie—and he’s holding the lightsaber prop from “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” I don’t know exactly what happened. But it sure seems to me like someone brought out the old “Empire” lightsaber and then a decision was made right then and there that they needed a new prop because the “Empire” one fell into the Cloud City air shaft with Luke’s severed hand.

Read the rest of the interview at Collectors Weekly.


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