STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
“One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunter’s Guild protocol to the letter.”
Ranking the distinctive bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back has become something of a running gag on this site, so I don’t believe it’s at all a secret that my favorite of said bounty hunters is the robotic IG-88, a character that doesn’t do much on the screen, but like all of the bounty hunters has a rich background in the expanded universe. Also like all of the bounty hunters, he doesn’t really have much going on post-Empire. When The Mandalorian was in production, they originally planned to include IG-88 as one of the series’ characters, but at a very late stage it was decided that it would be better to let IG-88 keep his EU backstory, leading to the creation of the very similar, but still ever so slightly different IG-11, who we meet in the show’s very first episode. He’s voiced by none other than Thor: Ragnarok director (and voice of Korg), Taika Waititi, and is just generally pretty awesome. And, it being Star Wars, he’s also gotten a figure.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
IG-11 is a Best Buy-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering. Yes, apparently Best Buy is also getting in on the exclusives game, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. I guess it’s not a total shock to see them try to expand outside of selling dying forms of media, but I’m not entirely sure that backing action figures is quite going to be the salvation that they’re looking for. Time will tell, I suppose. IG-11 was officially street-dated for November 1st, and has been cropping up in fairly decent numbers since then. The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation. Most of this figure’s sculpt is exactly the same as the main line’s IG-88 figure from 2015 (or, if you want to get really technical, the very slightly improved version of that mold from this year’s Archive release), which more or less makes sense, since the two character’s designs are very, very similar, and they are meant to represent the same model of droid. That being said, there were a few issues with IG-88 that I know a lot of fans were hoping to see corrected on any potential IG-11 release. The head is the most glaring inaccuracy, being the wrong shape for both droids; I myself don’t mind it too much, but inaccurate is still inaccurate. He should also really be a little larger as a whole to be properly scaled. At his current size, he’s still taller than the standard figure, but he doesn’t tower quite the way he should. The cut joints on the hips are also still quite restricting, even more noticeable for a more mobile on-screen character like IG-11. The last issue *wasn’t* an issue with IG-88, but is for 11; his hands should be the new design from the show, but are instead the same as 88’s were. IG-11 does get one new piece: his two bandoliers, which are a single, non-removable add-on. It’s a suitably distinctive look to separate him a little bit from IG-88, and I can certainly dig it. 11 is also a little bit different on the paint front, with a slightly grimier, generally darker color scheme, as well as some nifty accenting that wasn’t present on the original or Archive releases. The weathering takes advantage of the same technique Hasbro’s been using on faces, and it looks pretty solid here. IG-11 is packed with two styles of blaster. The longer rifle is the same one included with IG-88, while the shorter one, though very similar, is actually a new, smaller mold. Both attach to the forearms in the same fashion as they did with 88, and there’s a spot on the bandolier that can hold either one of the guns.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Despite it not being perfect, I’ve always been a big fan of the Black Series IG-88, and IG-88 in general. I was beyond thrilled when he was rumored for the show, and still thrilled when they revealed him to be IG-11, not 88. I figured the 11 would end up being mostly just a re-deco, and I wasn’t wrong. Would I have preferred to get an all-new mold? Probably. Would I have wanted that original mold to wind up as a store exclusive like this figure is? No, I would not. As it stands, I love this figure just as much, if not a little more than the 88 figure, even if he’s not entirely accurate. I wouldn’t mind getting a more accurate one further down the line (alongside an updated 88), but this one will certainly hold me over.