Long-Lost Original Trilogy Signers
The Original Trilogy remains to this day the premiere entertainment autograph collectible on the planet. Actually, you could extend that to Original Trilogy collectibles, period. Vintage Kenner figures, displays, marketing materials, posters…Star Wars Original Trilogy (SWOT) is where it’s at.
Alas, our list of SWOT signers is growing shorter by the day as time takes its toll. Sadly, either our favorite talent have passed on, or due to age or other restrictions have retired from active signing. With that being said, there are a few who have rarely signed privately or on any official basis, and one name that sticks out as MIA that’s pretty damned shocking.
James Earl Jones
King Jaffe Joffer was one of the most gracious TTM signers of all-time. A true icon in Hollywood, James Earl Jones is a trailblazing star, with credits under his belt including Lion King, The Sandlot, Field of Dreams, and multiple Broadway productions. Above all, he’s best known as the voice of Darth Vader.
For years and years, letters and packages sent to Mr. Jones’ office in New York were signed and returned. He was also a great signer on the street.
That said, Mr. Jones has never appeared at a comic convention to sign, and only signed in limited quantities for Official Pix, Master Replicas and Topps. Will we ever seen him sign again? All TTM requests are returned to sender, he’s near impossible to get on the street, and he’s turned down big time offers for private signings.
James Earl Jones autographs are in fairly common supply in the market, but fans needing him on Rebels, Rogue One or even Rise of Skywalker are likely going to go without him. Anything not already signed is likely to stay unsigned.
A TREMENDOUS in-person signer until, allegedly, a street grapher took advantage of a situation, and that was shut down as well. Frank is known as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, but like anyone who is generous with their time, doesn’t like being taken advantage. Anyone who spams through the mail or in-person should take note. People hate their charity being abused by clowns trying to make a buck.
Often inscribing names on items signed, Frank would sign anything and everything for fans when seen in-person. While never appearing at a convention, he has signed for Topps and their Attack of the Clones Widevision set. It’s a super-desirable card that’s skyrocketed in value during the GREAT COVID PRICE INFLATION OF 2020, which now routinely goes for four figures.
Frank will still sign if it’s not Star Wars, and rumors have floated that Frank will sign Star Wars items if Yoda is not pictured. What is for sure is that there’s no guaranteed way to add new Frank Oz autographs to your collection. His next send-in autograph signing, or convention appearance, will be his first.
Remember a few years back when New York Comic Con tweeted that their 2017 convention would be Mark Hamill’s last convention appearance ever? We sure do. Of course, they shortly walked it back, and Hamill denied it as well. Nevertheless, that 2017 appearance stands as the last time that Mark Hamill did a private or public signing of any type.
Of the names on this list, Mark’s is the most shocking. He’s one of the most-recognized public figures still from the Original Trilogy, and had huge roles in all three Sequel Trilogy films. He has been a fairly consistent signer since the mid-2000s, appearing at nearly every Star Wars Celebration and signed privately for years, regularly at least one every year or two. He’s signed for Master Replicas, Scoreboard, QVC, Topps…hell, everybody. But that all stopped in 2017.
We are approaching four years since Mark’s last signing. A throng of new collectors have entered the hobby and are needing Mark to complete items, and some just want to meet him in-person at a convention. However, he’s MIA. The only place you’ll see Mark these days is verbally jousting with Professor X over what’s for dinner.
Odds are that we’ll see Mark sign again one day, but nothing is for certain.
These three are some of the biggest names in Star Wars history, yet we as fans and autograph collectors are left only with hope that some day they may pick up a pen again to sign. Until then we are left with fond memories of the past as we look at our unfinished items and look to the future, where we might be able to complete them.