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Series: Star Wars

The Sad, Sorry State of Star Wars Toys

Look at the picture to the left. What is it? Is it the Millennium Falcon? Or is it Han Solo’s pal Chewbacca? Is it both? And what have they done to Chewie’s crotch?

What hath Hasbro wrought?

What you’re looking at there is a Star Wars Transformer, the latest in a loooooooong line of Kenner/Hasbro toys that attempt to capitalize off of the (fast fleeting) memory of Star Wars in the minds of today’s children. How can you sex up a line of toys spawned by a 30 year old film for Generation Wii? Try synergy.

Michael Bay, the rich man’s Uwe Boll, is helming a big screen live action star spangled version of the Transformers that will be hitting millions of theaters near you in the coming weeks. Will kids want Transformers toys after seeing this film by the man that gave us Pearl Harbor? It’s hard to say, but I think Hasbro has seen the writing on the walls and know that their 30 year old mainstay is not aging well.

These are awful.

One only has to look at the current Star Wars site that Hasbro maintains to see how little they have left in their arsenal. First off, kill the music, Hasbro, because you couldn’t have made it much louder. Once you get past the ear-splitting theme music and into the section that includes the toys by category the boredom begins. What is Darth Vader doing riding a motorcycle? It’s pathetic and silly. From the site –

As outlaws, rebels and renegades take to the road in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars CUSTOMS shop designs and builds awesome choppers with expert precision. These choppers are built to the exact specifications of their owners, each with a few special modifications.

You want speed? You got it. Horsepower? Ditto. Attitude? Plenty to spare.

So hop on and hold tight as this custom chopper cruises all over the galaxy!

Rev it up and let it go for smooth riding action! Detailed chopper comes with lightsaber.

I guess “If you like American Chopper, you’ll love Star Wars CUSTOMS!”

Next up is ATTACKTIX, which I think are some sort of nerd-pleasing role playing game pieces that can actually shoot/fight/etc.. The problem is that some of the pieces have weapons the size of the character carrying said weapon. And the picture on the main page of Chewbacca with a huge wavy hand is not comforting.

Dear God…

Last up is the FORCE BATTLERS, large, cartoony figures that barely resemble the characters you love (Chewbacca) or ones you couldn’t care less about (General Grievous, Jango Fett, Emperor Palpatine). Each comes with weapons that were probably never used by the character (Chewbacca has a freaking shield!) or silly weapons (Palpatine comes with, get this, balls of energy).

Granted, Star Wars figures were always the hallmark of the toy line, and Hasbro has come a long way in updating the figures we 6 and 7 year olds horded on the playground, but how many times should I buy an R2-D2 figure? Thee or four times? Sure, the latest one looks like the real deal and is very detailed, compared to that clunky clicky one that I had as a kid.

But then it comes down to economics. Does Hasbro need my money? Star Wars figures aren’t like buying consumables like milk and bread; you hang onto them and put them away in airtight baggies, praying for that day that someone will pay you 100X what it was worth when you bought it.

Hasbro, let Star Wars die. You’ve kicked your dead Tauntaun enough. Let it go.

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The Creative Mind of George Lucas Divines a New Star Wars Character

The Place: Skywalker Ranch.
The Situation: A creative meeting is taking place to create a new Star Wars character who will be the focus of a new live action television series that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi.Major brainstorming is going on.
The People: Present are George Lucas and the LucasFilm databank keeper.

Databank Keeper – “Okay, so what have we got so far?”

Lucas shakes his head. He is tired and exhausted from running the Lucasfilm empire.

George Lucas – “Nothing. We have nothing.”
DK – “Alright…what is it? Human, creature of some sort….something…”
GL – “Not human. We have enough humans. Make it a creature.”
DK – “Sentient or not?”
GL – “Definitely sentient.”
DK – “Wise or not?”
GL – “Wise? Like Yoda?”
DK – “Yeah.”
GL –  “Hmm…not so wise. Just normal.”
DK – “Okay, a normal creature. What does it look like?”
GL – “Furry. Tall and furry.”
DK – “Like a Wookiee?”
GL – “Okay…no, make it short.”
DK – “Like an Ewok?”
GL – *Sigh* “Scratch furry. Make it scaly. And green.”
DK – “Like Greedo?”
GL – “…Okay. Scaly, green, big beaver teeth.”
DK – “Like Walrus Man?”
GL – “Why is this so hard?”
DK – “I don’t know. You thought this stuff up.”
GL – “Short. Pigish…creature.”
DK – “Like an Ugnaught?”

Lucas hits his fist on the desk – repeatedly.

GL – “Okay, not scaly and green. Scaly and…orange.”
DK – “…Orange is good.”
GL – “Yes, orange is good. Don’t have many orange creatures.”
DK – “What do we call the orange creature’s species?”
GL – “How about a…Rith.”
DK – “No can do. Too close to ‘Bith’. And ‘Sith’.”
GL – “Toynarian! Vimbanite! Morax! Anything!”
DK – “Toydarian, Mimbanite, Gorax. Already done.”
GL – “Okay…Flangian.”
DK – “Flangian?”
GL – “Yes. A Flangian. He will be a Flangian.”
DK – “Where did you come up with that?”
GL – “I just…created…it.”
DK – “Fine. What’s the Flangian’s backstory?”

Silence for 5 minutes…and then…

GL – “The Flangian was recruited by criminal elements on his home world, Flangia, and eventually grew up on a crime boss’ ship, the Bardo’s Luck. He eventually bought his freedom from the crime boss and joined the Imperial Academy. He was a good pilot but he got kicked out for…some reason…so he got back into crime and smuggled…things…around the galaxy. And then for…some reason…he got caught up in the Rebellion.”
DK – “…That’s Han Solo.”

Lucas breaks a technical Oscar against the wall.

DK – “You know this isn’t easy, George! Remember how long it took you to come up with Yoda?”
GL – “Jar Jar was so much simpler.”
DK – “Yeah, but the whole ‘race’ thing with him…”
GL – “Yeah, that sucked.”
DK – “Yeah.”
GL – “Okay…he grew up privledged, but then was sent to a farm when his parents died. He moved to a swamp planet and then after being hunted down by Dark Jedi he fled there to go live with…Ewoks or something. And his best friend, he’s a Jedi too, and so his friend and he love the same girl but finally have a duel on a space platform -”
DK – “…You’re kidding…right?”
GL – “…What?”
DK – “That’s like everybody you’ve ever created in the whole saga, main-character-wise.”
GL – “Hey, who came up with this? Me? Yes, me! I’m detecting a more critical tone than usual, so don’t screw with me! Remember, man, I am your boss. Making this stuff up is hard!”
DK – “Well exsqueeze me.”
GL – “Shut up, Jar Jar.”
DK – “Okay, easy one. What’s his name?”
GL – “How about…Fluke Bolo?”
DK – “Or Gorge Mucus? Come on, man! Are you kidding? Are you really out of ideas? Come on, man!”

Lucas hangs his head.

DK – “Okay, let’s take a step back and start over again. What should we call our scaly orange Flangian? I don’t know. Just say whatever pops into your head. That’ll be his name.”
GL – “Bill.”
DK – “Bill?”
GL – “That’s the first thing that popped into my head.”

George twiddles his thumbs….

GL – “Okay, we can work with…Bill.”

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The song “Bells” from “Christmas In The Stars” Proves that Earth Exists in the Star Wars Universe

Even though it existed long ago in a galaxy far, far away, the characters of Star Wars appear to know who Albert Einstein was, the proof being the song “Bells” from the 1980 album “Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album”.1These lyrics appear to not currently exist anywhere on the web, so I’ve transcribed them myself from the original song. The plot:

C-3PO and R2-D2 have been chatting previously about Christmas (from track one, ‘Christmas in the Stars’) and their talk turns to a sound that R2-D2 hasn’t heard before.

R2-D2 speak
What is that? That my silly friend, is the sound of bells.”
R2-D2 speak
“What are bells?”

For shame! C-3PO proceeds to berate R2-D2:

I cannot believe the question
It’s like, “what is indigestion?”
Not that bells and indigestion are the same.

I cannot believe the query
That you ask, “what is Einstein’s theory?”
Compared to “what are bells?” seems almost tame.

R2-D2 speak
What is indigestion? Who is Einstein?
Before you ask me, “Who is H.G. Wells?”
I will help your education with a simple explanation of bells.

So now we’ve thrown human digestive problems, one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, and a British science fiction writer born in the 19th century into the mix.

Bells bells bells
The thing they do is ring!
Bells bells bells
What happy thoughts they bring!
Bells of every kind and sort, bells that play and bells for sport, chiming what the hour is now, or they’ll lead you to a cow!


Bells bells bells
Make such a merry sound!
Bells bells bells
When Christmas comes around!
Bells when snow begins to fall, bells when friends begins to call!
Bells when love is in your heart, bells when Christmas carols start!
In each and every man, where peaceful harmony dwells
You will hear loud and clear the thunderous wondrous sound of bells!

Bells bells bells
They’re tiny and they’re small!
Bells bells bells
Are also ten feet tall!
Bells that sparkle in your eyes, every color every size
Speaking languages with ease
In a breeze they’re Japanese!

Japanese? Again, really?

The song goes on from there, but the meat of the topic posited above is that C-3PO has now mentioned Albert Einstein, H.G. Wells, cows and Japan. And don’t forget the Judeo-Christian implications of a Star Wars Universe character knowing about Christmas. Later in the album Santa Claus is mentioned, as well as one of his sons, S. Claus. We never learn S.’s first name, except that it starts with an ‘s’.

We can only assume that this will eventually play into Star Wars: Episode VII, where we finally have the Millennium Falcon chased by the remnants of the Empire to Earth. Get ready!

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Boba Fett is a Terrible Bounty Hunter

Boba Fett, for all of his cool street cred and name recognition and raspy voice and supposed toughness, is just not very good at his chosen profession. Bounty hunters have to go after the worst of the worst, they’re basically mercenary police officers, and those kind of people have to have something about them that screams, “Look, dude, don’t mess with me, because I am so much more of a bad dude than you are.” Boba Fett has that vibe, that je ne sais quoi that projects intimidation, when, in fact, he is anything but a professional. He is, in fact, the clumsiest luckiest SOB in the whole Star Wars universe.

I’m basing this solely off of the original Star Wars films that Mr. Fett appears in and not any of the expanded universe, expanded editions or prequel stuff that came later. If you read books or watch cartoons based on the expanded universe you learn more about Boba Fett, and how he really is a totally bad dude who can survive falling into the stomach of the Sarlacc, but I’m not focusing on that, because diving into the expanded universe is a never-ending slogfest of links and other characters whose names you don’t know. I’ll be focusing only on the parts of the original trilogy where Boba Fett appears or does something, nothing more.

The first time we see Boba is in The Empire Strikes Back, awaiting orders along with a group of other bounty hunters from Darth Vader. Like Wesley from The Princess Bride, he mutters, “As you wish.” He then looks menacing while standing next to IG-88, a walking coffee maker.

The next time we see him he’s floating away in the garbage cloud that the Millennium Falcon used to escape from the Star Destroyers chasing them in the asteroid field. How did he get his ship, Slave I, into the garbage cloud? It’s not explained, but he follows, heroically pushing some buttons that make his ship’s engines turn on. Also, this is the only scene where we see Boba’s little optometrist scope being used. 1Speaking of the garbage cloud, have you seen the size of some of that stuff? These are like the biggest pieces of garbage known to anyone in the outer rim. Some of them are as big as the Millennium Falcon.

When our heroes get to Cloud City on Bespin, sneaky Boba appears next after Vader has disarmed Han Solo, sidling up next to Darth Vader while Stormtroopers point their blasters at Han, Leia and Chewbacca. He has literally done nothing but follow the Falcon to Bespin, and now he’s standing next to the most powerful Sith lord there is. This tells you that he’s a very tough, quiet individual! Later, after Han is being tortured for fun, Boba tells Vader that Han is “no good to (him) dead.” He then traipses around, holding his rifle while Lando Calrissian prostrates himself before Vader. After that it’s off to the carbon freezing chamber where he once again complains about needing Han alive. He then points his rifle at Chewbacca, who could rip Boba’s arms out of their sockets without even trying. Once again, he’s one tough dude, showing you what he’s made of. After Luke arrives on Cloud City, he shoots at Luke, then runs away like a scaredy cat, then tells a Bespin guard to put Han on board his ship before flying off to Tatooine.

On Tatooine, he comes across in an almost civil fashion when he acknowledges the bargaining prowess of Boushh (Leia), after the “bounty hunter” secures 50000 credits for handing Chewbacca over to Jabba the Hutt. Repeating his placement on Bespin, Boba stands (once again) behind a powerful individual (Jabba the Hutt) while said powerful individual talks to someone (Luke). But all of the supposed toughness and bravado come crashing down on him when Boba ignites his jet pack and flies into battle to recapture Luke, Han and Chewbacca on the desert skiff, only to have Luke slice his blaster in half. He performs the ultimate wimp out move by lassoing Luke (lame!) and getting hit in the jet pack by a blind Han. As his jet pack once again ignites, rocketing him across the desert expanse, he cries out, slams into the side of Jabba’s sail barge, and then plummets to his death in the stomach of the Sarlacc monster.

Why is this man revered? I’ll admit, his outfit is cool, he carries himself with a Harry Calahan-like confidence and speaks only when it’s necessary. He seems like a tough dude, but I think that lying beneath that mask is the face and eyes of someone who knows they’re hiding their fear from everyone and realizing that, deep down, Fett is a charlatan who has to keep up the act before someone finds out that he’s really only good enough to be Sarlacc food.

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