Where is…The original Death Star model from Star Wars now?

It’s unbelievable how close this famous movie prop came to being lost.

The model used in the film along with some other props were thought to be garbage after the movie finished filming.

Many of the props were kept in a facility called Dollar Moving and Storage. The storage unit was rented by the studio and upon completion of postproduction, the studio decided they no longer wanted to pay rent and ordered everything in storage to be discarded. An employee named Doug W. rescued many of the props from the garbage including the Death Star. In a world before ebay…who knows what was lost.

Doug displayed the Death Star in his home in California for about a decade. Around 1988, Doug moved to Missouri and stored the Death Star at his mother’s antique shop (Sutter’s Mill Antiques, later renamed The Mexican Hillbilly) in Missouri.

Todd Franklin, a Star Wars collector living in the area, drove by the antique shop and was immediately convinced it had to be the original Death Star model. Todd wondered how and why the original Death Star was in Missouri. He made some calls and was convinced it was the one. He was going to buy it but before he got back it was sold to another person named Mark who was the owner of a country and western music show called Star World. Mark displayed the Death Star in the lobby.

In 1994 Todd, his brother Pat, and friend Tim Williams traveled to Star World who was going out of business. The Death Star was being used as a trash can in the corner! Todd made an offer and bought it on the spot. All three owned it and contacted Lucasfilm but they did not want to buy it back.

In 1999 Gus Lopez contacted Todd, Pat, and Tim and negotiated a price. Now, Gus owns the famous Death Star.

Since then, Lopez has had the original Death Star on display in a custom-made case in his home, and he even loaned it to the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle (though Lopez refers to it by its former name: the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum) for a five-year stint.

Gus Lopez: “The EMP gave it top billing in the museum with a prominent spot at the center of one of the main rooms. I got a kick out of reading about the Death Star in local tourist literature and walking by the Death Star on display at the museum to hear conversations from people telling their stories about what Star Wars meant to them. And now the Death Star is back home, where I see it every day. And when I look at it, I am still amazed it survived its long journey and is sitting right in front of me.”

Image result for original death star


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Where is…The original Death Star model from Star Wars now?”

  1. It is always interesting to hear the journeys some of the famous movie props take. You would think that they would immediately go to a national museum for cultural artifacts. Used as a garbage bin????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know… I couldn’t believe that. They must have thought it was a reproduction but I’m glad it was saved.
      I would not want it in my house. What if something happen to it? I would loan it to a museum forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes that stuff is thrown out. Sometimes, it’s stolen. One of the dresses that Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz used to be in a museum at the Land of Oz, here in NC. When the amusement park closed and was abandoned for a decade, many things were stolen or vandalized. It’s taken 20 years to repair the amusement park but, the movie’s items have never been found.

    Bit of trivia: the introduction ceremony at the opening of the park was attended by Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is awesome…well not the vandalized part. I have got Debbie on the Dick Cavett show talking about buying all of these things from Hollywood auctions in the early seventies… about the same time of your pic.
      That looks like a cool place. It is terrible about the items.


      1. I went with my parents to this park, in its original condition, right around 1973. It’s on Beech Mountain (highest town east of the Rockies):

        The Hank I mentioned in a previous convo (classmate)…he graduated college at Lees-McRae, the highest elevated college and/or university east of the Mississippi River:
        Beautiful campus.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad it reopened but that is sad that it never got back to where it was when it opened. I bet it was pretty cool when it opened and until the fire.

        I like how the state buildings were built out of stones from that state.


      3. I forgot to mention…Oz (Beech Mountain) & Lees-McRae (Banner Elk) are side by side towns.

        The roads leading up to Oz are usually covered in snow in the winter. So, instead of driving up, people ski down, across them.


      1. In the 70s and 80s I don’t guess people paid things like that attention….but that was in the 90s when they used it as a trash can…it would be like the holy grail here.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool story! I was wondering how big the model was til I saw the photos that gave a point of reference for it. Defintiely would be a cool museum to visit.
    Funny how it ended up in a Missouri junk shop! Imagine seeing that. Ironically, the main character in my novel hailed from small-town Missouri and her dad was running a shop like that! Total coincidence I picked that for his profession … don’t think he had the Death Star though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who would have thought it would have been the real one? No way would I have thought it would have been the original one.
      My first thought would be “fan made” but…I still would have bought it not knowing.
      Whats the odds…in Missouri of all places for your novel.

      Liked by 1 person

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