Lightsabers from Star Wars, objects from Back to the Future, and Power Rangers helmets — Brenden shares his story of how he amassed a collection that is out of the galaxy.
Brenden, tell us more about yourself.
B: I am a 19 year old college student, I live mostly in Kansas City, but I go to school in Chicago where I study production design and construction for film.
When did you get interested in collecting film memorabilia?
B: My collection came to fruition when I found my passion for film. So probably around 7-8 years ago. It started simply with posters that I would cover the walls of my room with, but slowly turned into collecting replicas and other film memorabilia.
How would you describe your collection in your own words?
B: While it really is a big and diverse collection, everything I own really is something that anyone could go and buy. Rarely do I have to do months of extensive searching for something new, like some collectors do! I love keeping up to date with the latest Marvel Legends or Star Wars Black Series releases, and I buy them as soon as I can. I feel like I have this personality trait that just strives for completion. I want to make sure every set or group that I have is complete, and I work to get there until it is.
Star Wars, Star Trek, Back to the Future, Power Rangers — we all feel nostalgic about these iconic series. Is this also your case?
B: While so many of these fantastic and crazy sagas are being rebooted and continued to this very day, I wasn’t even alive when most of them debuted. Far from it. Sure, I grew up watching the same 6 Star Wars movies over and over without any new entries to the series… But I also never got to experience the hype that surrounded each film upon release. So in a sense, it does make me nostalgic, but at the same time, it all feels so recent. Especially given that it’s still continuing.
Is it your passion for comic books and iconic films that inspired you to start collecting?
B: For the most part, yes! Who would pass up the chance to own a Captain America’s shield? Or a lightsaber? Or the Infinity Gauntlet?! I loved the films so much, so when I see that I can take these pieces of the movies home, and (as nerdy as it sounds) play with them with my friends, I feel like I gotta have it.
Tell us about the first piece. What was it?
B: My very first piece was Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber. I used money that I got at Christmas to buy it, and I remember freaking out when it arrived. It was part of the Signature Series of lightsabers, and it has a removable blade. So if you wanted to, you could just strap the hilt to your belt. I would love to annoy my family by turning on the Star Wars main theme song, at full volume, and running around the house slashing everything I could find.
Some collectors often limit themselves to the DC or Marvel universe or focus on a particular movie series. Your stunning collection includes objects from different universes and worlds, from Star Wars to Marvel, from Back to the Future to Power Rangers. What is your pattern? Do you collect items that you like, no matter what the series is?
B: If I see a movie, and I like it, I will almost immediately go and see what kind of collectibles I can find. I try to avoid figurines and statues, because I really just love the things that were actually used by the characters on screen. Weapons and helmets and such. And of course, I love to collect the box sets of the franchises that I love. I don’t want to be exclusive, I just get what I think is cool! And fast too! Because you never know when something will go out of stock and double in price on eBay!
Where do you find such unique pieces? Is it hard to hunt down and get things like Power Ranger helmets, galactic Lightsabers, or Back to the Future fourth draft script?
B: In a lot of cases, it’s not difficult to hunt down at all!! I keep up to date with when new collectibles in my favorite series will be released, so I can snatch it up as soon as I can! The Green Power Ranger helmet is actually the newest addition to my collection, and I got very lucky and picked that up at a Toys R Us that was shutting down (so I got a good deal too!) which just goes to show that a lot of what I do is just being at the right place at the right time. But with some things, like the Back to the Future script, I get them as gifts! Back to the Future is my absolute favorite movie, and it shows! My family understands and loves my collection, and my mom bought me the script as a Christmas gift! I spent the whole morning reading it, finding every little difference between the pages and the film. It was a great gift.
Is there a thing you always wanted in your collection but didn’t have a chance to get it yet?
B: As I mentioned, I am very much a completionist. And one of the only “series” that I have yet to complete is my lightsabers. I realize how crazy that sounds. I have 6 lightsabers and for some reason I need more?! I sound ridiculous! But there are a ton of lightsabers that were created nearly a decade ago that I have to be on the lookout for. Darth Maul, Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, Count Dooku, are all super difficult to find in good condition due to their age, and when you do, they’re so expensive!
Do you network with other collectors? Do you exchange some collecting news, experiences or intriguing deals?
B: A lot of what I read is on Reddit, and usually that’s only news of when a new item is being released. Earlier this year, Reddit is where I learned that Darth Vader’s helmet was being released in the Black Series, and that the Infinity Gauntlet was coming soon from Marvel Legends!
Are you a collector? Show your collection to the world!
I always get to share my excitement with people in the comments, but then afterwards, it just dies down until the next release is announced. Sometimes months later! I really love the idea of being able to catalogue my collection and share it with others that are interested in the same things as me.
So what is your collecting focus these days? Have you settled some collecting goals?
B: Right now, while I’m waiting between new releases, I love to scour eBay and Amazon and see if I can get lucky enough to see that little “Now in Stock” sign next to an item I’ve been wanting! I’m kinda all over the place without any specific “goals” but I still get super excited with every new addition.
What are your top 3 “Holy Grail” collectibles? Why? (or do you have any?)
B: That’s a really tough one. One of the ones that sticks out is my Captain America’s shield. My mom bought that for me as a birthday gift right when it was released. It’s actually metal, which makes it basically as close to the real thing as possible and it’s an awesome thing to have. The shield has kinda been going up in price since it was released, because they’re not making them anymore! I was lucky to get it when I did.
Another one would probably be my USA Today newspaper from Back to the Future 2. In the movie, it’s on screen for what? 10 seconds maybe? But still iconic due to its plot relevance. I remember on October 21st of 2015 (the date that Doc and Marty travel to in the film) I watched the entire trilogy at my favorite theatre. I was headed home from that event and stopped at a gas station and I saw the newspaper! They had only one copy left and I knew I had to have it. I didn’t know that USA Today was doing anything special, but it really was just another case of right place at the right time.
My third one would have to be my Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 box set. It looks like the briefcase from the Avengers movie, and even has a replica of the Tesseract inside of it. This, again, was a Christmas gift! But it was another piece that was bought almost immediately after its release, and has since become a super rare collectible.
It seems like a huge theme in my collection is just to get things as soon as they’re released so that you don’t have to go on a wild goose chase later to find it!