14 November 2012
Part one of our interviews with collecting experts to see what the Disney takeover means for future collectables ...
After the announcement that Disney has bought LucasFilms, the company behind the Star Wars saga, science fiction fans have been speculating what the news will mean for the series. Disney has already said it plans to release the first in a new trilogy in 2015, with follow-ups every other year. However, it’s still not clear exactly what the plots of the new film will be, whether any of the stars from the original trilogy will return and, more importantly, how often the Ewoks will appear.
Of course, since the launch of the original trilogy, Star Wars figures, vehicles and other merchandise have become a huge part of the collectable market – although many collectors may have looked down on the ‘pieces of plastic tat,’ as it was once put to us. But now auctions often feature Star Wars items, numerous stalls at swapmeets are packed with figures and dozens of websites dedicated to Star Wars collectables have sprung up over the years.
So, with a new set of films on the horizon what will that mean for Star Wars collectors? Will the vintage figures from the 1970s continue to be popular? Will a whole new range of merchandise become the collectables of the future? To find out what the future for the franchise holds, we spoke to three experts to find out their opinion.
Jim ‘Mr Star Wars’ Stevenson
How could we possibly write a Star Wars story without speaking to Jim? Over the past couple of decades he has become well known throughout the world for dealing in the best Star Wars items and, although he now buys and sells a huge variety of TV and film memorabilia, he still keeps abreast of the Star Wars collectables market.
“I remember when I started collecting Star Wars figures and vehicles and collectors of model railways or diecast thought I was absolutely crazy. They never thought it would be worth anything and told me I was wasting my money! But now if you look at TV and film collectables, Star Wars is a global phenomenon second only to James Bond.
“It’ll be interesting to see what Disney does with the new films because they need to reclaim some of the magic from the original trilogy. If they can do that, then I’m sure it’ll create a whole new generation of collectors who are interested not only in the new titles but the older ones as well, which will continue to maintain prices for vintage collectables too.
“However, if newcomers are thinking of starting their collections with merchandise from the new films then they’re going to have to be patient if they’re expecting it to increase in value. Any figures bought in 2015 probably won’t be worth a lot until 2050 and even then you’ve got to sell it at the right time.
“Collectables are normally only worth something while they’re being bought by collectors who remember them. Take Dan Dare, for example, at one point people would pay a fortune for collectables based on Dan Dare but unfortunately as that generation has stopped collecting the market for it has declined because now hardly anyone remembers Dan Dare.
“But Star Wars appears to be the exception to that rule because it’s always in the mainstream. The original trilogy is often shown on television and George Lucas keeps tinkering with it and releasing new versions, which means newcomers to collecting are discovering it all the time and the market for collectables continues to be buoyant. Even if the new films are rubbish, it’ll help keep Star Wars in the spotlight and continue to attract new collectors.”