STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)
“Prince Xizor is the head of the galaxy-wide criminal organization known as Black Sun, his power and influence challenged only by the Emperor and Darth Vader. A villainous mastermind, Xizor uses his huge , intergalactic shipping operations as a legitimate front, employing millions of criminals to execute favors for the Empire and carry out its his own evil agenda. His characteristic lack of emotion is due much to his Falleen ancestry which evolved from a species of reptile. Cold and clever, he plots his moves with a diabolical genius and fights with the skill of a tera kasi master, stopping at nothing to get in his way. Those that dare challenge Xizor generally meet with death by his own hand or by one of his myriad of henchmen. His favorite proverb: “To contend with Xizor is to lose”.”
In 1996, the Star Wars expanded universe got its first real time in the public spotlight, courtesy of the multimedia event that was Shadows of the Empire. A movie launch without the movie, Shadows encompassed books, comics, video games, and of course toys, and told a story set in the gap between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Since it was set between two established chunks of the story, there wasn’t very much at stake just pitting our heroes against Vader’s forces, since we all knew the outcome wouldn’t arise until the end of Jedi. This meant there needed to be a new villain. Enter Prince Xizor, a villain whose imposing nature was hindered only by not being Darth Vader in a universe where Darth Vader exists. Oh, and also by totally having his look stolen by Ivan Ooze a year prior. Xizor was central to much of the story’s marketing, and wound up with two figures from Kenner for their part of the tie-in. I’m looking at the standard single release today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Prince Xizor is the final single-carded figure in the Shadows of the Empire spin-off line of Power of the Force II figures. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. That said, only the arms really have practical movement most of the time, thanks both to the weird braids on the back of his head, and the thick plastic robe that encases most of the figure. A lot of this Xizor’s sculpt is shared with the two-pack release of the same time, but it remains unique to the character. That’s…good? I mean, it’s certainly different from everything else. That said, Xizor was generally depicted as a fairly skinny guy, and this figure does not follow that set-up. He definitely falls into that really buff PotF2 aesthetic, and perhaps exemplifies it even more than other figures from the main line. It’s really only exaggerated by the really bulky robe, but even with that removed, it’s still not great. I mean…there’s some interesting detail work going on under the robe, so that’s cool, but it’s not like it’s a particularly endearing design. It’s a relic of its time at best. The colorscheme is also a definite relic, and easily feels like the least Star Wars-y aspect of the character. Neither purple nor the pale green feel like the fit the established Star Wars color scheme, especially the colors of the original trilogy era. The application on the paint is decent enough, but that doesn’t really change how out of place he feels with the others from the line. Xizor is packed with a pair of shield blades, which can snap together into one larger shield. They’re nifty enough, and honestly one of the more exciting parts of the figure, because they’re unique if nothing else.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Even as a kid, I never liked Xizor. He always felt like an intruder, trying to hide amongst the rest of the Star Wars line, but always sticking out. As such, I never owned him. But, after managing to get everyone else from the Shadows line, I felt it was wrong for him to still be missing. I ended up grabbing him during one of my PotF buying sprees last winter. There were a lot of figures, so I guess that made buying Xizor a little more palatable. He’s still not really a favorite of mine, and having the figure in hand hasn’t really changed any of my opinions about it or the character, but here it is, I guess.