Star Wars collector Shanon Rooker, Williamsport, has gone the way of the Dark Side, but doesn't discriminate when it comes to adding to his collection. Rooker has been collecting Star Wars memorabilia since the early 1990s when the movies were remastered and rereleased. A huge fan of the original movies, Rooker does not feel the same way about the remastered versions.
He remembered seeing the first movie in 1977 at a California drive-in theater with his family. From then on, he was hooked.
The start of his collection was when he acquired the original 12 figures, which included: Sand People, Han Solo, Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, Darth Vader, Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2), See-Threepio (C-3PO), Stormtrooper, Jawa and Death Squad Commander.
Star Wars fan and collector Shanon Rooker has an army of Star Wars memorabilia in his city apartment. Above is a tattoo of Boba Fett, by Aaron Bellve, Totem Tattoo, on Rookers left arm. Below, Rooker holds an original Stormtrooper action figure.
After the rerelease of the movies, the first 12 figures were released again, following a surge of new Star Wars fans.
"I used to go to the toy stores and buy them (figures) by the cases and never open them," Rooker said. "The collection at my apartment is only a dent of what I have. I probably have hundreds ... I have five and 10 of everything."
Rooker said he bought duplicates of things he already had because he also is into selling and trading his Star Wars memorabilia with other fans and collectors.
"My number one rule in my apartment is do not play with my action figures," he said. He used to display them where others could touch them, but he now has them safely in a glass case; easy to view and out of reach of curious hands. For those he does not have on display, he has carefully wrapped and stored in large plastic bins.
He said he is getting close to his goal of obtaining every piece in mint condition. Items in his collection include action figures, movie posters, comic books, cardboard displays and ships. He also had movie props, but has since sold them.
While many favor the "Good guys" - Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda - Rooker looks to the Dark Side.
"I'm more prone to the Empire," he said. "Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers - I'm more on the Dark Side."
He even has dedicated his left arm to Star Wars tattoos including Boba Fett and Princess Leia. He plans to add to the artwork on his arm to include an AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) imperial walker.
Rooker estimates that he has spent close to $3,000 on his collection, which he said may be worth around $5,000 or more. He said he would like to get the entire set of the last 17 action figures, which he said are the more selective ones, and can range anywhere from $60 to $250 each.
He also would like to get, what he refers to as the "holy grail," a vinyl Jawa. It is the same Jawa figure as most others, but only this one comes with a vinyl cape, making it much more valuable.
Rooker warns that there are a lot of fakes floating around and said there are ways to figure out what you are looking at is the real deal or not.
"You can know what's real by certain markings and some people will get them appraised and certified," he said.
He also said that there are many different types of movie posters including A styles, B styles and foreign posters. The most sought after poster is the rare poster made for the "Return of the Jedi" movie, which actually reads "Revenge of the Jedi."
Rooker said he cherishes his collection because it brings back warm childhood memories of playing with neighborhood kids in the sandbox. He feels it's something others can identify with and think back on during their adult years.
"I think everyone has those kinds of things," Rooker said. "I can sit and watch the movies 20 times and not get tired of them. I enjoy it and think some people would look at me kind of funny until they actually see it and they are like 'I remember that!' It's a kind of neat feeling people have (when they see the collection) and they can make that kind of (childhood) connection as well."