The long, white dress worn by Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the final scene of the original 1977 “Star Wars” movie, “A New Hope,” was once thought to have been long gone, destroyed after the film’s production.
But the iconic dress was recently found in a London attic and will go up for sale at a live auction on Wednesday. It could sell for as much as $2 million, according to an estimate by Propstore, a company that sells film and TV memorabilia and is organizing the auction.
In the film, Princess Leia wore the dress, a ceremonial gown that was made from lightweight silk and styled with a silver belt, during an awards ceremony. In the scene, the princess, who is a leader of the Resistance, honors Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, and Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, with medals for their work in helping to save the galaxy.
The dress was thought to have been destroyed after filming for the movie had been completed. Brandon Alinger, chief operating officer of Propstore, said it was common during filmmaking in the 1970s for costumes to be destroyed or returned if they were rented.
“There was not a great focus on saving this material when that first movie was made,” Mr. Alinger said.
The dress was among the items that had been slated to be destroyed, but a crew member of the set recognized it and held on to it. The dress had been stored for years, until recently, when it was found in an attic at the home of the movie crew member in London, Mr. Alinger said.
“When we first saw it, it was in something of a poor state,” Mr. Alinger said.
After the dress was found, textile conservators in London spent eight months working to restore it, removing dust and dirt that had accumulated on it and restitching open seams, according to Propstore.
“This is sort of very painstaking work,” Mr. Alinger said. “Imagine someone bent over with a microscope or a magnifying lens, studying the little holes and trying to fill those holes with a similar material.”
The dress was conceived of by John Mollo, who won the award for best costume design for “Star Wars” at the Academy Awards in March 1978.
“It’s incredibly important because it’s literally the last thing that you see in the original ‘Star Wars’ film,” Mr. Alinger said of the dress. “I think if you’re a ‘Star Wars’ fan, you look at it and it just gels for you.”
There are no words spoken in the final scene of the movie — except for guttural noises from the Resistance fighter Chewbacca and beeps from the droid R2-D2.
In that scene, the leading characters, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, walk down a long hall, where a crowd has gathered for the ceremony. Princess Leia places a medal over Solo and then another over the neck of Skywalker. Skywalker and Solo bow before Princess Leia, and then turn around and face those gathered in the hall as they applaud the heroes.
The auction for the dress, which began on May 31 for online proxy bids, started at $500,000, and an absentee offer was submitted for $750,000, according to Propstore. Bids can be submitted online or in person at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
The dress is among more than $12 million worth of TV and film memorabilia that will be sold at the auction, with bids ending on Friday. Items include a shield from the 2004 movie “Troy” that was worn by Brad Pitt while playing the main character, Achilles.
Jesus Jiménez is a general assignment reporter. @jesus_jimz
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