Bid, You Will: Rare ‘Star Wars’ Boba Fett Prototype Action Figure Will Be Up For Auction

On the auction block, an ultra-rare “Star Wars” figure will soon be. One of the two surviving hand-painted, missile-firing Boba Fett prototype action figures pulled from the production line in 1979 will be part of Heritage Auctions’ “Star Wars” Signature Auction.

This 3¾-inch Boba Fett figure is the stuff of legends. It was originally intended as a free giveaway in 1979, shortly after the armored bounty hunter made his debut in the “Star Wars Holiday Special.” Fans had to provide proof that they’d purchased four other “Star Wars” action figures to receive the exclusive Boba Fett figure with a “rocket firing back pack.” It was a pretty sweet deal, especially since the figure wasn’t available in stores.

Rare "Star Wars" Bob Fett figure
Rare “Star Wars” Bob Fett figure. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

However, things took a turn when reports surfaced that competitor Mattel’s Battlestar Galactica plastic-missile-firing toys had become choking hazards. Kenner, the company behind the “Star Wars” toys, quickly pulled the plug on the rocket-firing Boba Fett and destroyed the remaining figures. When Boba Fett finally did arrive in a plain white box, the rocket had been glued into place, and there was a note explaining the change.

But some Kenner employees managed to spare a few of the rocket-firing Boba Fetts from destruction, and that’s how the surviving prototypes became the most sought-after “Star Wars” toy in the galaxy.

“Projectiles were always touchy subjects,” says former Kenner engineer Jacob Miles III, an original member of the company’s “Star Wars” team tasked with keeping that rocket safely in Boba Fett’s backpack. “But when Battlestar Galactica had their issues, we immediately just shut it down and destroyed everything. We were concerned about disappointing kids because we had shown that thing [the rocket] taking off. But we had a much bigger concern if we shipped it.”

Light saber from "Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi."
Light saber from “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.” (credit: Heritage Auctions)

The Boba Fett figure up for auction has the L-shaped latch in the back, of which there are only about 70 known examples out of the estimated 100 prototypes that survived. According to “Star Wars” expert and dealer Brian Rachfal, “it’s uncertain exactly how many Rocket Firing Boba Fetts were created” or survive today. But this particular figure is unique, as it’s the only one with its head and appendages painted gray.

In 2022, a Boba Fett prototype figure sold for over $200,000.

The Boba Fett figure isn’t the only star of the show. The auction also features nearly 175 other lots, including the original script draft when the movie was still titled “The Adventures of Luke Starkiller,” the lightsaber shared by Luke Skywalker and Rey in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” a Lucasfilm-sanctioned Darth Vader helmet, armor, and chest box made for early 1980s promotional tours, rare posters (some even signed by the cast), and one of the few surviving sealed copies of the original “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” VHS tape that came in the coveted drawer box.

"Darth Vader" Promotional Helmet, Shoulder Armor and Chest Box.
“Darth Vader” Promotional Helmet, Shoulder Armor and Chest Box. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

The auction kicks off May 31. And to all the “Star Wars” collectors who plan to participate: may the force be with you.

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