10 Iconic Sci-Fi Movie Props You Can Own

Prop Store
Prop Store

If it weren’t for a man named Kent Warner digging through MGM’s trash, there may never have been much of a movie memorabilia market. Warner, a costumer by trade and collector by night, managed to salvage a number of classic film props from several studios, fetching discarded ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the trench coat from Casablanca, and hundreds of costumes that he funneled into private hands.

That was back in 1970. Today, movie memorabilia is a multimillion dollar business, with auctions offering fans a chance to own screen-used or screen-worn apparel and props. One of the largest of the year is set for September 26, when London’s Prop Store will be auctioning off high-profile lots featuring items from Aliens, Star Wars, and other classic sci-fi and fantasy films. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store, along with the estimated final sale prices once the gavel comes down. (Film history doesn’t come cheap.)

1. C-3PO’S HEAD // THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

A prop C-3PO head used in 'The Empire Strikes Back'

The suffocating mask sported by actor Anthony Daniels through months of filming 1977’s Star Wars—in excruciating desert heat, no less—led Daniels to beg the special effects staff to make a more comfortable costume for the sequel. Instead of fiberglass, propmakers used injection-molded plastic. The problem? The plastic quickly shrunk, making the heads unusable. The prop department kept them around as extras in case they needed spare parts. Effects masks from the trilogy are highly sought-after, with Chewbacca's fetching $172,000 back in 2008.

Estimated: $77,000-$103,000

2. THE JOKER’S SUIT // BATMAN (1989)

Jack Nicholson's Joker costume seen in the 1989 film 'Batman'

Now you can dance with the devil in the pale moonlight—whatever that was supposed to mean—in style. This vivid purple suit worn by Jack Nicholson in director Tim Burton’s gothic take on the Dark Knight comes complete with shirt, tie, gloves, and purple leather Oxford shoes. (Jack wore a 10.5, in case you were wondering.)

Estimated: $26,000-$38,000

3. STAR LORD’S HELMET // GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

Star-Lord's helmet from 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) sported this space helmet for galactic combat in only the second movie to co-star a taking raccoon. (Doctor Dolittle did it first.) Pratt’s movie star head was kept comfortable with interior foam and leather; LED lighting allows the eye sockets to glow red.

Estimated: $38,000-$64,000

4. INDIANA JONES’S WHIP // INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989)

The whip used by Harrison Ford in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'

Harrison Ford’s third excursion as the superhero archaeologist demanded a deep reservoir of bullwhips. This one was used for scenes where Indiana Jones attempts a rescue of his father Henry (Sean Connery), among others. It’s made of kangaroo hide and measures 10 feet long. Presumably, the auction house is not responsible for whatever injury you may inflict upon yourself trying to use it.

Estimated: $64,000-$90,000

5. ALIEN CREATURE COSTUME // ALIENS (1986)

An alien costume used in the1986 film 'Aliens'

It’s game over for anyone trying to top your Halloween set-up if you can get your hands on this “alien warrior” costume worn by stunt workers for James Cameron’s Aliens. The complete polyfoam suit was designed by Stan Winston and based on H.G. Giger’s original concept.

Estimated: $26,000-$38,000

6. MARTY MCFLY’S SNEAKERS // BACK TO THE FUTURE II (1989)

Marty McFly's shoes as seen in 'Back to the Future II'

It took Nike decades to engineer a mass-produced pair of the sneakers worn by Michael J. Fox in the 2015 sequences of Back to the Future II. These screen-worn shoes were for shots of Fox walking around and feature a light-up Nike logo on the front.

Estimated: $32,000-$45,000

7. PETER VENKMAN’S SUIT // GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

Bill Murray's jumpsuit from 'Ghostbusters'

Be assured Bill Murray busted ghosts in supreme comfort during filming of the 1984 comedy classic. The zippered one-piece jumpsuit is made of cotton and features the iconic Ghostbusters logo on the right arm.

Estimated: $7700-$10,000

8. GRAYS SPORTS ALMANAC // BACK TO THE FUTURE II (1989)

The sports almanac seen in 'Back to the Future II'

The perfect guide for the betting time-traveler, this Grays sports records paperback popped up frequently onscreen as Marty McFly tried to wrest it from the grip of adversary Biff Tannen. This is just the cover, though: no actual win/loss records are inside.

Estimated: $1300-$1900

9. SPIDER GREMLIN // GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH (1990)

The spider Gremlin prop from 'Gremlins II'

A true work of macabre art, effects legend Rick Baker designed this spider Gremlin as part of the mutated creature troop for director Joe Dante’s 1990 sequel. It’s undergone some slight restoration work.

Estimated: $13,000-$19,000

10. DOCTOR DOOM’S ARMOR // THE FANTASTIC FOUR (1994)

The Doctor Doom costume from 1994's 'Fantastic Four'

“Iconic” might be too strong a label for producer Roger Corman’s low-budget Fantastic Four film, which was reputedly made quickly so Corman could retain the film rights to the comic. This impressively-designed plastic suit of armor is probably the best thing to come out of it.

Estimated: $3900-$6400

All images courtesy of Prop Store.

JK Rowling Almost Killed Off Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter Series

Jaap Buitendijk, © 2011 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. HARRY POTTER PUBLISHING RIGHTS © J.K.R.
Jaap Buitendijk, © 2011 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. HARRY POTTER PUBLISHING RIGHTS © J.K.R.

Author J.K. Rowling “seriously” considered killing off one of the core characters in the Harry Potter series, and the reason why is much more sinister than you might think. Rowling once admitted that she almost killed off Ron Weasley “out of sheer spite.”

Rowling wasn’t shy about killing off some beloved characters over the years, including headmaster Albus Dumbledore and loyal house-elf Dobby, but she never considered killing off one-third of the main gang of Harry, Ron, and Hermione until she "wasn’t in a very happy place," about halfway through penning the series.

Daniel Radcliffe interviewed Rowling as a special feature for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 DVD, and during the course of their conversation the author revealed that Ron had a vicious wand pointed at his neck for a little while. 

"Funnily enough, I planned from the start that none of them would die. Then midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn't in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite,” Rowling said. “But I think in my absolute heart of heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider killing Ron, [I wouldn't have done it].

"It's a real relief to be able to talk about it all," the author added.

Given the story-altering effect Ron’s death would’ve had on both Hermione and Harry, we’re glad Rowling found it in her heart to let the red-haired wizard live.

12 Things We Know About The Crown Season 3

Sophie Mutevelian, Netflix
Sophie Mutevelian, Netflix

Between the birth of Prince Louis, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's announcement that they're expecting their first child in the spring, 2018 was a busy year for England's royal family. But the next big royal event we're most looking forward to is season three of The Crown.

Since making its premiere on November 4, 2016, the Netflix series—which won the 2017 Golden Globe for Best Drama—has become an indisputable hit. The streaming series, created by two-time Oscar nominee Peter Morgan, follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and the ups and downs of the royal family.

Now that you’ve surely binge-watched both of the first two seasons, we’re looking ahead to season three. Here’s everything we know about The Crown’s third season so far.

1. Olivia Colman will play the Queen.

Olivia Colman in 'The Crown'
Netflix

From the very beginning, creator Peter Morgan made it clear that each season of The Crown would cover roughly a decade of history, and that the cast would change for season three and again in season five (to more accurately represent the characters 20 and 40 years later). In October 2017, it was announced that Olivia Colmanwho just won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for The Favourite—would take over the role of Queen Elizabeth II.

When discussing her replacement with Jimmy Fallon, Claire Foy praised her successor, joking that "You'll forget all about me and the rest of the cast. You'll be like, ‘Who are they?' We're the warm-up act."

Though she might be best known to American audiences for her roles in Broadchurch and The Night Manager (the latter of which earned her a Golden Globe in 2017), Colman is no stranger to playing a member of the royal family. In addition to her award-winning role as Queen Anne in The Favourite, she played Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon—wife of King George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret—in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012).

2. We may not seen a third season until later in the year.

While no official release date for season three has been given, the BBC reported that we wouldn't see Colman as Queen Elizabeth II until this year. But we could have some more waiting to do. The good news, however, is that Morgan confirmed they're shooting seasons three and four "back-to-back. I’m writing them all at the moment," he said in February. Meaning we may not have to wait as long for season four to arrive.

3. Tobias Menzies is taking over as Prince Philip.

Tobias Menzies in 'The Crown'
Sophie Mutevelian, Netflix

Between Outlander and The Terror, Tobias Menzies is keeping pretty busy these days. In late March 2017 it was announced that he’d be taking over Matt Smith’s role as Prince Philip for the next two seasons of The Crown—and Smith couldn't be happier.

Shortly after the announcement was made, Smith described his replacement as "the perfect casting," telling the Observer: "He’s a wonderful actor. I worked with him on The History Boys, and he’s a totally fantastic actor. I’m very excited to see what he does with Prince Philip." Of course, passing an iconic role on to another actor is something that former Doctor Who star Smith has some experience with. "It was hard to give up the Doctor—you want to play it for ever. But with this, you know you can’t," Smith told The Times.

For his part, Menzies said that, "I'm thrilled to be joining the new cast of The Crown and to be working with Olivia Colman again. I look forward to becoming her 'liege man of life and limb.'"

4. Paul Bettany came very close to having Menzies's role.

If you remember hearing rumblings that Paul Bettany would be playing the Duke of Edinburgh, no, you're not imagining things. For a while it seemed like the London-born actor was a shoo-in for the part, but it turned out that scheduling was not in Bettany's favor. When asked about the rumors that he was close to signing a deal to play Philip, Bettany said that, "We discussed it. We just couldn’t come to terms on dates really. [That] is all that happened."

5. Helena Bonham Carter will play Princess Margaret.

Honoured @thecrownnetflix

A post shared by Vanessa Kirby (@vanessa__kirby) on

After months of speculation—and one big hint via Instagram (see above)—in May 2018, Netflix finally confirmed the previously "all but confirmed" rumor that Helena Bonham Carter would play Princess Margaret in The Crown's next season. "I’m not sure which I’m more terrified about—doing justice to the real Princess Margaret or following in the shoes of Vanessa Kirby’s Princess Margaret,” Bonham Carter said of the role. “The only thing I can guarantee is that I’ll be shorter [than Vanessa]."

Like Colman, Bonham Carter also has some experience playing a royal: She played Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, a.k.a. the Queen Mother, in the Oscar-winning The King's Speech.

6. Princess Diana will notappear in season 3.

As The Crown moves forward, time will, too. Though fans worried that, based on the current time jumps between seasons, it would take another few years to see Princess Diana be introduced, Morgan told People Magazine that Princess Diana would make her first appearance toward the end of season three and that she will be heavily featured in the two seasons that follow. However, casting director Nina Gold later dispelled that notion.

"Diana’s not in this season," Gold told Vanity Fair. "When we do get to her, that is going to be pretty interesting." Charles and Diana did not meet until 1977, when the Prince began dating Diana's older sister, Sarah. According to Variety, season three will only cover the years 1964 to 1976.

7. Camilla Parker Bowles will be featured.

Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker-Bowles at Ludlow Races where Prince Charles is competing, 1980
Express Newspapers/Archive Photos/Getty Images

As it’s difficult to fully cover the relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana without including Camilla Parker Bowles as part of the story, the current Duchess of Cornwall will make her first appearance in season three.

“Peter [Morgan]’s already talking about the most wonderful things,” The Crown producer Suzanne Mackie revealed during the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival in April 2017. “You start meeting Camilla Parker Bowles in season three,” she said, noting that they were then in the process of mapping out seasons three and four.

8. Buckingham Palace will be getting an upgrade.

Though it's hard to imagine a more lavish set design, Left Bank—the series's production company—requested more studio space for its sets at Elstree Studios in late 2017, and received approval to do just that in April. According to Variety, Left Bank specifically "sought planning permission for a new Buckingham Palace main gates and exterior, including the iconic balcony on which the royals stand at key moments. The Downing Street plans show a new Number 10 and the road leading up to the building itself. The sketches for the new work, seen by Variety, show an aerial view of Downing Street with a Rolls Royce pulling up outside Number 10."

9. Princess Margaret's marriage to Lord Snowdon will be a part of the story.

Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret in 'The Crown'
Alex Bailey/Netflix

Princess Margaret’s roller-coaster relationship with Antony Armstrong-Jones played a major part of The Crown’s second season, and the dissolution of their marriage will play out in season three.

“We’re now writing season three," Robert Lacey, the series’s history consultant and the author of The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1, told Town & Country in December. “And in season three, without giving anything away—it’s on the record, it’s history—we’ll see the breakup of this extraordinary marriage between Margaret and Snowdon. This season, you see how it starts, and what a strange character, a brilliant character Snowdon was.”

10. Vanessa Kirby would like to see Princess Margaret get a spinoff.

While Kirby, who played Princess Margaret in the first two seasons, knows that the cast will undergo a shakeup, she’s not afraid to admit that she’s jealous of all the juicy drama Bonham Carter will get to experience as the character.

“I was so desperate to do further on,” Kirby told Vanity Fair, “because it’s going to be so fun [to enact] when their marriage starts to break down. You see the beginnings of that in episode 10. I kept saying to [Peter Morgan], ‘Can’t you put in an episode where Margaret and Tony have a big row, and she throws a plate at his head?’ I’m so envious of the actress who gets to do it.”

Kirby even went so far as to suggest that Margaret’s life could be turned into its own series, telling Morgan, “‘We need to do a spinoff.’ You actually could do 10 hours on Margaret because she’s so fascinating. There’s so much to her, and she’s such an interesting character. I know that parts like this hardly ever come along."

11. Jason Watkins will play prime minister Harold Wilson.

At the same time Netflix confirmed Bonham Carter's casting, the network announced that BAFTA-winning actor Jason Watkins had been cast as Harold Wilson, who was prime minister between 1964 and 1970 and again between 1974 and 1976. "I am delighted to become part of this exceptional show,” Watkins said. “And so thrilled to be working once again with Peter Morgan. Harold Wilson is a significant and fascinating character in our history. So looking forward to bringing him to life, through a decade that transformed us culturally and politically."

12. Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher.

Gillian Anderson speaks onstage at The X-Files panel during 2017 New York Comic Con -Day 4 on October 8, 2017 in New York City
Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images

Ok, so this might be a fourth season tidbit—but it's still very worth talking about. In January 2019 it was announced that The Crown had cast its Iron Lady: former The X-Files star Gillian Anderson will play former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown's fourth season.

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