The keeper of Star Wars props and costumes speaks to StarWars.com.
This week on The Star Wars Show, we meet Madlyn Burkert: Lucasfilm's collections and exhibitions archivist, a.k.a. keeper of awesome original Star Wars stuff. But as it turns out, Star Wars artifacts came into her life, to paraphrase old Obi-Wan, oh, before she was born. "My parents went on their honeymoon in 1979," she tells StarWars.com. "In the upper peninsula of Michigan, they went camping. The upper peninsula of Michigan was known for copper mining, so there's a lot of copper shops full of pots, pans, etcetera, made of copper. And randomly, there was an R2-D2 cookie jar in one of them. My parents have this very silly story about trying to haggle with this woman who owned the store to get this cookie jar, which we now learned is dated '1977 Fox' on the bottom. It's one of the earliest licensed products. That was my cookie jar growing up. Star Wars was there from birth." Today, Burkert maintains genuine Star Wars props used in the modern-era films, a seemingly Force-ordained job that combines her lifelong love of Star Wars with deep interests in film and history. It's a responsibility she takes seriously, and one that she feels privileged to have. "As the person here who is the caretaker of these things once they're done being used on the films," she says, "I really want to respect their artistry and learn their stories, and just maintain them so that it's understood that a lot of craftsmanship and work went into them. I'm just the lucky one who gets to take care of them." You can learn more about the Michigan native's journey on The Star Wars Show; meanwhile, StarWars.com visited Burkert to talk about some of her favorite Star Wars artifacts. Check them out below, with Burkert's own commentary.
Rey's Staff (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
"I picked Rey's staff mainly because the lightsaber has a storied history and it belonged to other people before her. The blaster, she's given by Han Solo. We don't know where she gets the staff, but I feel like it's the prop that's truly her. It's truly her own piece."
"This one's rubber. So over time, maybe it bent a little. This is like, maybe two pounds."
Young Jyn's Toys (Rogue One)