WEB Star Wars Script Excalibur 2

Star Wars script discarded by Harrison Ford, £8500 at Excalibur Auctions.

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Harrison Ford’s original draft script for the first ever Star Wars film made in 1976 sold at Excalibur Auctions of Hertfordshire for £8500 on February 17 (or £10,795 with premium) against a low estimate of £8000.

It was discarded by him in the London flat he was renting, while staying in the city to film at Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire.

The sale came a month after for two original scripts from American TV comedy Friends were offered by saleroom Hansons Ross – also in Hertfordshire, coincidentally.

According to the auction house, these scripts “should have been destroyed straight after filming in 1998. However, they were found by chance at London’s Fountain Studios, Wembley, by a former staff member – and ended up in her bedside drawer for more than 20 years.”

WEB Star Wars Script Excalibur

Star Wars script discarded by Harrison Ford, £8500 at Excalibur Auctions.

Heard of Star Killer?

The landlords renting the property to Ford found the script and other items and kept them for over 50 years.

The original draft Star Wars script (originally called Star Killer), was used by Ford to play Han Solo and was the fourth draft of the script.

The owners of the property came to know the actor quite well during his time as their tenant. The items have been sold by their grandchildren.

Ford was given a budget by the film studio and chose a flat to rent in Notting Hill in west London, in order to travel easily to the studios for filming.

Excalibur said: “The grandchildren tell us that in 1976 their grandmother put an advertisement in The Sunday Times for a ‘Flat to Let’, as she and her husband were looking for a lodger in their home. Harrison Ford was the person that came to view it and on meeting them he decided to accept the rental. The owners lived on the bottom floors of the house in Elgin Crescent, while Ford occupied the top two floors.

“Oblivious to the celebrity world, the couple had no idea who he was and that a Hollywood actor was staying in their home.

“During Ford’s stay there were many celebrity visits to the house, with Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia and Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, visiting frequently. The owners had no idea who they were either and didn’t even know Mark Hamill’s name, referring to him simply as ‘the boy’, as that was how Harrison referred to him.

“As they got to know their famous tenant, we are told the owners struck up a genuine rapport with Ford, spending time in the garden having drinks and relaxing after filming. One particularly touching story the owner recalls is Ford giving them money to purchase new plants for their garden, as they all spent so much time there.” Ford even attending her son’s first birthday party in the garden and was described as an “ideal tenant! It really was a fun time.”

The script was a revised fourth draft of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally titled as it is here, The Adventures of Luke Star Killer as taken from the Journal of the Whills by George Lucas (Saga I) Star Wars (March 15, 1976).

It is incomplete (most pages up to page 88 including the famous ‘Chasm scene’) and unbound with differing-coloured pages indicating revisions. In the current copy we see page 56, a pivotal scene, in the film, which is the first time we are introduced to the character of Han Solo, played by Ford.

There were five drafts of the first Star Wars script and this 4th revised edition gives an interesting insight into the making of one of the most important blockbuster movies ever made, including scenes and characters that were cut from the final edit.

WEB Star Wars Call Sheet Excalibur

Star Wars shooting schedules, a call sheet and a collection of notes discarded by Harrison Ford, £3800 at Excalibur Auctions.

Alongside the script Ford left other items including a pair of shooting schedules, a call sheet and a collection of notes, offered as a single lot at Excalibur estimated at £800-1200 but sold for £3800 (£4826 with premium) to a UK buyer.

The call sheet is number 28 dated April 28, 1976, for the ‘Death Star Hallway to Core Shaft’ scene numbers A110 and B110, featuring Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. The reverse of the call sheet has a hand-written note: ‘Browns Hotel, Dover St. Sunday 8th Robert Watts, Roast Beef’, which appears to refer to a meeting between Ford and the film producer Robert Watts (b.1938), who worked with him on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film series.

Star Wars Shooting Schedule no. 1 is dated March 8, 1976, one page is annotated with circles and there is writing on the back that reads ‘1st Tony Wayne 2nd Gerry and 3rd Terry’, who all worked as assistant directors on the film. Shooting Schedule no. 2 is dated April 23, 1976 and is annotated on two pages, scene 58 ‘Group arrived at grid, Montross leaving’ B58 – ‘Good bye to Montross’ and scene 50 ‘Han intro in cantina’ written in pencil. Other assorted notes including timings for parties and telephone numbers include one to the back of a card reading ‘For the good time – Her'.

The ones left behind

WEB Friends Script Hansons 1

Two Friends scripts sold at Hansons Ross for £22,000.

The Friends scripts, The One With Ross’s Wedding Part I and Part II, were offered by Hansons Ross on January 12. Guided at £600-800, they soared to a hammer price of £22,000 (£28,864 with premium), going to an Austrian collector bidding online. The contest involved 219 advance bids from all over the world including the UK, US, Germany, Spain, Australia, Ukraine, Dubai and Switzerland.

Amanda Butler, head of operations at the Royston saleroom, said the seller brought the scripts along for valuation. "I’m a huge Friends fan so I was really excited to see them. They take fans back to 1998 when Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Rachel travelled to England to see Ross (David Schwimmer) marry his fiancée Emily (Helen Baxendale) in London.

“They were found at a TV studio which is no longer there. Apparently, the cast and crew were ordered to destroy their copies so the ending wouldn’t be leaked. However, these two slipped through the net.”

WEB Friends Script Hansons 2

Two Friends scripts sold at Hansons Ross for £22,000.

The seller, a 60-year-old retired Londoner, used to work in admin support at Fountain Studios. She said: “I never saw any of the Friends cast but I remember it was madly busy. There was a real buzz about the place and I did my best to help. They needed a studio audience and I helped to distribute tickets to people who won a London radio station competition to watch Friends being filmed. Only recently, I discovered a ticket inside one of the scripts.

“I found them in a bin a couple of weeks after filming had finished. It was part of my job to ensure everything was tidy and no rubbish was left around. I wasn’t sure what to do with them so just put them in my office drawer. I remember wondering which member of the cast they might have belonged to.

“I left Fountain Studios in 1999 and when I came to clear my desk I just swept everything into a big cardboard box. I forget the scripts were there. They were mixed up in a pile of paperwork. It wasn’t until I checked through the box a few months later that I found them. They ended up in a bedside drawer and they’ve been there ever since. I could have quite easily have thrown them out. Recently I’ve been clearing my house ahead of a move and I came across them again.”