Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scaping The Bottom Of the Star Wars Barrel

From 1978 to 1985, the Kenner toy company produced hundreds of Star Wars action figures based on the original trilogy. Then after a long dry spell, Hasbro, which had acquired Kenner, brought the figures back in 1995. Boy, did they bring them back. They've made hundreds, maybe even thousands of different figures from the movies, and they're still pumping them out 15 years later.

Every major character has been immortalized in plastic, some many times over. There are at least 50 different versions of Luke Skywalker. I once joked to a toy collecting friend that it wouldn't be long until they made a figure of Luke in his diaper from the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. A month later, Hasbro came out with Luke Skywalker in his diaper, complete with his healing Bacta Tank accessory.

But all good things must eventually come to an end, and we may be nearing the end of the line for Star Wars figures. They're dangerously close to running out of new characters to make. Virtually every character that had even a few frames of screen time has had a figure made of them. Don't believe me? Then take a look at one Mr. Willrow Hood.

Yes, it's the exciting Willrow Hood figure, from The Empire Strikes Back. Don't feel bad if you don't recognize his name. It was never uttered in the movie, nor is it in the credits. Mr. Hood lives in Cloud City, and according to the back of the card, he works for the gas mining company on Bespin. So basically they made a figure of a guy who works for the gas company. Fun!

Here's a closeup of Willrow, decked out in his trademark orange jumpsuit, complete with doughy physique. The back of the card says that the white object he's holding is a computer memory core full of sensitive information that he's trying to keep from the Empire. In reality, many sharp-eyed fans of the Trilogy have recognized the "core" prop as a plain old terrestrial ice cream maker! Yep, as Willrow ran for his life from Cloud City, the only thing he took with him was his sweet, sweet ice cream maker. For many years, he was known in fan circles as "Ice Cream Guy." His popularity among fan boys (who must really love ice cream) grew until Hasbro decided to make a figure of him.

So it's come to this. No offense to Mr. Hood, but with the advent of his figure, we've officially scraped the bottom of the Star Wars action figure barrel.

By the way, if you're still scratching your head trying to figure out where Willrow appears in the movie, it's right after Lando Calrissian makes an announcement to Cloud City, telling the citizens that the Empire has taken control and if they're smart, they'll... I don't know, jump off the edge of the city or something. Willrow then appears for exactly 1.5 seconds as he runs past the camera, clutching his precious ice cream maker. That's right, 1.5 seconds is all the screen time it takes to warrant your own action figure.

Just for fun, here's a shot of my own Star Wars figure display. Note that these are only a fraction of the figures Hasbro has made over the years. They've made hundreds of Prequel figures, which I do not collect, seeing as how those movies... oh, what's the word... sucked. By the way, these figures and more are on display in a spare bedroom of my house that's become an official toy room. I try to keep the action figures confined to one room so that it looks like a grown up lives in my house.

3 comments:

  1. They look so cool all together!!! I wanna play with em lol

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  2. Just don't knock 'em down! Once one goes, they all go, just like dominoes.

    A couple of years ago we had an earth tremor in the middle of the night. It woke me up, but I quickly dozed off again. In the morning I wasn't sure if we really had a tremor or if I dreamed it. I thought of a good way to tell-- I opened the door to my action figure room, and the floor was littered with fallen figures. Yep! The tremor was real!

    If you'll look closely, you'll notice that for extra geekiness the figures are all separated by movie. The top shelf is for "A New Hope" figures, the middle for "Empire Strikes Back," and the bottom for "Return of the Jedi."

    My Star Wars display is quite modest compared to some I've seen online. I've just got 3 shelves. Some people have entire rooms dedicated to SW merchandise.

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  3. LMAO! When I first spotted this figure in my local Target, I sent a pic of it to my daughter with the caption "Lamest Star Wars figure ever."

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