Bids Are Expected to Soar for This Complete Darth Vader Costume - NBC Southern California

Bids Are Expected to Soar for This Complete Darth Vader Costume

Packed away in the early 1980s, the costume from "Star Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back" was worn by Bryce "Kermit" Eller at book signings, premieres and other events

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    A complete Darth Vader costume is up for auction.

    Bids for a complete Darth Vader costume are expected to reach up to $2 million when the iconic piece of classic movie memorabilia is auctioned later this month.

    The 60-pound costume from "Star Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back" is part of the May 14 Wonders of the Galaxy auction, which includes other classic movie items, at Bonhams Los Angeles. The costume is expected to go for $1 million to $2 million.

    It comes with everything you need, if interested in joining the Dark Side. The 17 pieces include the famed multi-component helmet, gloves, boots, two capes, a cod piece and battery pack.

    The costume was worn by Bryce "Kermit" Eller, who made appearances nationwide as Darth Vader at premieres, book signings and conventions, starting in 1977. In 1979, he was given one of only a few complete costumes for "The Empire Strikes Back," which is the one being auctioned.

    A Complete Darth Vader Costume is Up for Auction

    [LA] A Complete Darth Vader Costume is Up for Auction

    The costume worn in "The Empire Strikes Back" is expected to fetch up to $2 million. Ted Chen reports for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Friday May 3, 2019.

    (Published Friday, May 3, 2019)

    At 6 feet, 5 inches tall, Eller needed some help getting into the costume.

    "I had to get somebody to stand on a chair or stand on a stool to put the helmet on," he said.

    Eller became an off-screen Darth Vader. He even appeared at the 1978 Academy Awards when the Oscar was presented for best costume.

    Fans loved seeing him -- most of them anyway.

    "Kids would grab ahold of their parents and try to hide behind their parents and scream," Eller said.

    It was warm inside the costume. Eller recalled one of his most comfortable appearances in it was a 17-degree day in New England.

    Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

    He continued making appearances until the early 1980s, when he packed the costume away in two flight cases and stored them in a garage.

    "Darth Vader is one of the most recognizable and infamous characters in the history of film and we are excited to offer this rare costume in our sale," said Dr. Catherine Williamson, director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams. "The suit's completeness, remarkable condition, and excellent provenance make it a true rarity in the memorabilia marketplace."

    A special public exhibition is scheduled for May 4 and May 10-14.

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