Nerd Cave. Geek Dungeon. Shrine. Alter. Throne Room. Star Wars Room. Everybody wants (needs) one!
I may be biased, actually I am definitely biased, but Star Wars and collecting go hand in hand unlike any other franchise I can think of. It changed the way that movies and their properties were licensed, marketed and merchandised. For the last 40 years, all kinds of collectibles with some form of Star Wars theme or stamp have been marketed towards the masses. Fans clamor and eat up anything and everything! So where does it all go? The Star Wars room of course.
Since we moved into our house three years ago, our finished basement beckoned to me. Finally, the dream of having a Star Wars room was possible. For me, it was going to be a place to hold everything that I love and display it the way it should be displayed. To give it its due reverence and respect. A place to visit when the stresses of life start to bear down; there’s never a shortage of those. I think that for a lot of people, it’s also reminiscent of a simpler time. As a kid, we had a “toy room”, and that was where I spent most of my free time; playing and imagining in my own world.
That’s what these getaway rooms are. Revisiting childhoods. So after 3 years, surely my basement has transformed into this bastion of Star Wars, right?
Not quite. In fact not at all.
Adulting is hard work. Priorities shift and change, money is there and then it isn’t. There are a whole host of reasons, but I just haven’t started it. That’s not to say that the dream is not alive and well. It’ll happen eventually, I’ll have the Star Wars room I’ve been wanting since as far back as I can remember.
Calling In The Sandcrawler
So while I may not be living my dream quite yet, I thought I’d reach out to my buddy who certainly is. Mike MacDonald, along with fellow collector Dan Lizotte, run the awesome collecting podcast The Sandcrawler. If you’re looking for some “Action Figure Therapy”, they’re the go-to team.
Mike, or Mike Tarkin as he’s known around these parts, has been documenting his Star Wars room in his own column; Special Modifications. I hit him up for some insight into how his room has evolved over the years, and how it fits in with his family.
When did your collecting begin?
In the early 90’s when I received the first box set of the the original trilogy. That would be my first modern collectible. It then started slowly for a year or two. It really took off when the Power of the Force 2 line of action figures were released in the mid-90’s.
How did you introduce your wife to your collecting hobby?
I never intended to collect Star Wars it was really just one of those things where I would see something I thought was cool or interesting and pick it up. When I started collecting the action figures my intention was to only get a few of them. As my passion grew, she was very supportive of it and I’ve never been someone who spends a ton of money at one time on my collectibles so it wasn’t so much an introduction as a slow build up. Also, when we were dating I was a big comic book collector and I also collected music by Bruce Springsteen, U2 and the Ramones so she was used to me already having inclinations towards “acquiring.”
How does your family feel about your room?
They all really like it (at least that’s what they tell me). My wife is great for giving suggestions on how to organize the walls (where to hang pictures/ships etc). I have a few shelves that display Star Wars figures that belonged to my son who is now 19 and “donated” his collection when he discovered video games when he was younger. The room doubles as a TV room so he’s often down there playing Xbox and will often suggest ideas – currently we’re both trying to figure out how to expand my large rebel base display so that I can fit my Millennium Falcon on it. My daughter collects Funko POP figures that she displays in her bedroom so she appreciates the effort I’ve put into the room. She also likes to show it off to her friends.
Are collectibles contained to only one room, or are they spread out?
Everything is pretty much in the one room. I have the voice-activated R2-D2 in our living room and also one or two action figures but that’s pretty much it. I have the room to display my collection so it doesn’t bother me that there isn’t much in other rooms. We have a large bookshelf in our living room and I keep a stack of coffee table sized Star Wars books on it.
Does anyone else in your family collect Star Wars?
My daughter has a small collection of astromech figures and also collects some Star Wars Tsum Tsums. Like I mentioned earlier she also collects Funko POP which are mostly Disney and (oddly enough) Walking Dead but there’s a few Star Wars POPs in there as well. She’s currently displaying her Luke Skywalker Black Series lightsaber which I handed down to her when her and her brother gave me Luke’s Return of the Jedi saber this past Christmas. My son doesn’t really collect Star Wars but he has a few figures and props in his room. It’s funny because just when I thought he would never get back in to Star Wars, The Force Awakens came out and he was interested all over again. In fact I had pulled out of storage a Phantom Menace VHS display that I had acquired back in 1999 and he pretty much stole the large cut out of Obi-Wan Kenobi to put in his room. I couldn’t have been prouder.
Long term plans for your collection? (i.e slowing down or stopping, passing on, etc…)
With the relaunch of the Kenner-inspired Vintage Collection next spring I’ll probably collecting more than I have in years as I’m a sucker for that retro look. I’ll also be keeping most of these carded and stored in boxes which is also something I don’t normally do because I open most of the figures I buy. I am running out of space to add too much more to my Star Wars room so that will factor into things as well. Since starting The Sandcrawler collecting podcast with Dan Lizotte I’ve expanded what I’m interested in collecting, especially vintage Star Wars items like puzzles and comic books.
As far as passing on my collection at some point, I would leave that up to my family. If my son decides he wants his figures and vehicles back to display in his room at some point he is more than welcome to do that. I’m fond of saying “Star Wars is family” and it’s true. My collection often involves everyone in the family and sharing Star Wars is a positive thing so if that meant passing my collection onto my kids then that’s what will happen.
Thanks For Stopping By
Thanks to Mike for taking time to give me a hand and to Dengar Dan for letting him off the ‘ol Sandcrawler. You can keep up to date with Mike’s Star Wars room at Special Modifications, and for all things Funko Star Wars, Dan’s Funko Pop Star Wars guide, both here on RetroZap! And don’t forget to hear them both on The Sandcrawler every week.
Mike Harris hails from the suburbs of Chicago and has been a fan for most of his life. Working as an industrial radiographer and raising a family with his wife take up most of his time, but there’s always room for Star Wars books and podcasts! Just looking to give back to Star Wars and the fan community, it’s been a source of fun and learning for him for so long.