Star Warsturns 40 on May 25. But unless you count the boxful of IOUs toy-maker Kenner sold during the 1977 holiday season, Star Wars action figures turn 39.
No one—least of all Kenner—anticipatedStar Warsbecoming a monstrous hit. The company simply couldnt manufacturethree-and-three-quarter-inch plastic versions of Leia, Luke, Artoo, and Chewie in time for the holidays. Instead, it sold $8 envelopes containing promissory notes: Four pieces of paper kids could trade in for action figures whenthe toys started shipping in 1978, plus a cardboard backdrop to prop them up against.
A dozen figures are coming out starting this spring, all in old-school packaging.
Sealed in the original packaging, Star Wars action figures from that era fetch several thousand dollars apiece. That packaging is as iconic as the figures they contain: A tiny Han Solo or Obi-Wan Kenobi in a plastic bubble glued toa black-bordered piece of cardboard featuring a still from the film that you could keep like a trading card. Now, you can have one for just $20. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest movies ever, Hasbro is bringing back Leia, Luke, Han, and the rest of the gang with that sweet, sweet packaging.
Yes, Hasbro (which bought Kenner in 1991) has offered thethrowback Star Wars Black Series toys for a few years, but this 40th anniversary packaging makes them collectable all over again. Hasbro even nods toward the IOU stunt of long ago: Darth Vader comes in a $40 Legacy Pack that includesa cardboard backdrop inhomage to the 1977 Early Bird Certificate package. A dozen figures arrive this spring: Luke, Leia, Han, Obi-Wan, Chewie, Darth, Artoo, Threepio, a Sand Person, a Stormtrooper, a Jawa, and the Death Squad Commander in his evil velodrome helmet.
These are bigger, badder versions of your old-school Star Wars toys, though. Theyre each around six inches tall, except for the smaller R2-D2 and Jawa.Each featuresbendable knees, elbows, and ankles for superior poseability. And forget about those lightsabers that awkwardly telescope from the handsof Luke, Darth Vader, and Obi-Wan. The new figures feature much cooler weapons and accessories, and R2-D2 even sportsthe appropriate antennae and Lukes lightsaber.
At 20 bucks apiece, you’ll want to buy two of each—one to play with, and one to put aside, just in case they ever fetch a few grand in original packaging.