LOS ANGELES – A complete original Darth Vader costume from the “Star Wars” saga was presented in Los Angeles on Friday for an upcoming auction, where it is estimated to fetch between $1-2 million.
Bonhams auctioneers opened their doors to the media to showcase the mostly-black battle armor from the film classic “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980).
“Darth Vader is one of the most recognizable and infamous characters in the history of film and we are excited to offer this rare costume in our sale,” said Catherine Williamson, the director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams.
The instantly-recognizable attire is comprised of 17 pieces and includes the iconic villain’s gloves, boots and two capes, as well as a cod piece and a battery pack (the character was part-machine, one of the silver screen’s first cyborgs).
“The suit’s completeness, remarkable condition, and excellent provenance make it a true rarity in the memorabilia marketplace,” Williamson added.
The costume was worn by Bryce “Kermit” Eller, who appeared in several gigs as the Darth Vader character during several meetings with Star Wars fans during the first few years of the fever that has since surrounded the saga.
In 1979, Eller was given the complete costume and in 1981, he stored it away to this day after he stopped appearing in public as Darth Vader.
Bonhams featured the costume a day before the world was set to celebrate a non-official Star Wars appreciation day.
The popular space opera is widely commemorated on May 4, as “May the fourth” sounds similar to the franchise’s most famous quote: “May the Force be with you.”
Sadly, the series was recently in the news after British actor Peter Mayhew, 74, who played the role of Chewbacca – Han Solo’s inseparable furry comrade – died on Thursday.