UNCLE OWEN LARS, C-3PO, & LUKE SKYWALKER
STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“Under attack by an Imperial Star Destroyer, protocol droid C-3PO and his partner R2-D2 safely escaped a battered Rebel capital ship and landed on the desert planet of Tatooine. Soon after, the droids were abducted by scavenging Jawas and sold to Owen Lars for use on his desert moisture farm. Luke Skywalker, nephew of Owen and a Tatooine youth, remained unaware that his uncle’s purchase of C-3PO and R2-D2 was to help launch one of the most pivotal destinies the galaxy had ever known…his own.”
Alongside its cast of very colorful lead and background characters, Star Wars also has quite a selection of quite average, not particularly colorful or unique in the slightest characters. For the most part, these characters are rather easily overlooked by merchandising, but there are a few of them who are a touch plot relevant, such as Luke Skywalker’s aunt and uncle. This poses the question: how do you handle toys of these figures? Kids aren’t exactly going to be lining up to buy a sort of paunchy middle-aged guy in a robe. What sells him? Colorful main characters of course!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Uncle Owen, C-3PO, and Luke made up the “Purchase of the Droids” set, part of the 1997 assortment of the Cinemascenes sub-line of Kenner’s Power of the Force II. The set is based on, stay with me here, the scene where they purchase the droids. I know, crazy.
UNCLE OWEN LARS
Man, where’s all the toy love for curmudgeonly uncles? What’s that? Nobody cares about them? Well that’s…pretty accurate, I guess. This isn’t the only time Owen’s seen action figure form, but it was the first, because there just wasn’t time to fit him into the vintage line. I know, we were all very sad. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. Owen sports an all-new, all-average-looking sculpt. Perfect for the character! He’s a bit more pre-posed than other figures from the same period; his right arm in particular is bent and angled in a slightly strange fashion. I’m not entirely sure what they were going for there, and there’s really no pose it looks natural in. The likeness on the face is about as good as any of these likenesses were. He’s identifiable as the character he’s meant to be, and that’s really the main point. Owen’s paintwork was a little more experimental than others from the line. It’s a bit murky, but I guess that’s sensible for a guy who lives on a desert planet.
And here begins the slight tweaks for the major players. There are actually a surprising number of 3POs in the Power of the Force line, though this is only the second one I’ve personally reviewed. It’s worth noting that this one is actually pretty different from the first one. He’s been brought more in line with the proper proportions for the character from the film, rather than the more stylistic interpretation of the first figure. They also sharpened up the detail work a bit, and even added the restraining bolt that the Jawas placed on him when he was captured. 3PO’s paint work starts out with the same vac metalizing as the predecessor, but this one also gets a bunch of dirt and grime, depicting him as he looks after wandering Tatooine for a bit. It’s definitely a unique look for 3PO and helps him stand out a bit from the other takes on the character.
By 1997, Power of the Force was just beginning to be neck-deep in Luke Skywalker figures, specifically of the “Farmboy” variety. This figure would be the first of a whole bunch of Luke figures that would draw from the same base figure with a handful of changes here and there. He was our first instance of the majorly slimmed down version of Farmboy Luke, which would later be used for no less than five separate versions of the character. It’s not bad for a standard Luke, especially if it was your first time picking up one of this style. I don’t have much to say about in light of having all of the other five. He’s the one that comes in this set. That’s his unique selling point.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Though I didn’t have this set growing up, I remember that my cousin did, and it was one of the things that was left at my grandparents’ house, meaning I would frequently get to play with it when he wasn’t around. I don’t know what happened to them in particular, but I picked up this one from Yesterday’s Fun over the Christmas holiday last year. It’s more part of my drive to complete the line than to own any one figure in the set, but it’s one of the few Uncle Owens, and I do have to admit I quite like the 3PO.