Ripley has found another item to add to their increasing list of Star Wars franchise memorabilia, one which has seen tours of duty at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. A functioning R2-D2 droid used by Disney has been purchased at auction by the company, which operates a chain of oddity attractions dubbed Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, for a grand total of just over $160,000.
The R2-D2 model has already had a long career in the entertainment industry. Built under the same specifications used for the actual Star Wars films in 2004, the droid spent a decade making appearances in Disney parks. Not only was it featured daily in the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade, it has also appeared during Star Wars Weekends and alongside George Lucas for the reopening of Star Tours. R2 spent a summer abroad at Tomorrowland in Disneyland Park, and was pictured with NASA astronauts for the space shuttle Discovery. The droid is still operational, and makes 53 sounds.
Ripley purchased the model through an auction, which comprised only two or three bidders in total. Edward Meyer, Ripley’s vice president of archives and exhibits, said the final $160,000 price tag “was considerably less” than what he had expected. Initial estimations had the droid selling for between $100,000 and $200,000.
R2-D2 will be moving throughout an exhibit which features a number of real life and cinema space props, the centerpiece being the lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, which Ripley purchased at an auction for $450,000 last year. The display would also include a 15-foot Millennium falcon built using almost a million matchsticks, a script and director’s chair from Carrie Fisher, and more, totaling around 50 Star Wars items so far.
The exhibit will be a traveling show in honor of Ripley’s 100th anniversary, and could wind up doing the comic con circuit.
Source: The Orlando Sentinel