STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“Beru Lars was the closest thing to a mother that Luke Skywalker ever knew. She and husband Owen lovingly raised Luke as their nephew, and trained him in the mundane ways of moisture farming on their arid Tatooine homestead.. All along, Aunt Beru understood that a larger destiny awaited Luke. Years before, on another part of Tatooine, the slave Shmi Skywalker raised the boy who would become Luke’s father-Anakin Skywalker. Like Aunt Beru, she sadly understood she could only love and nurture her boy for a relatively short period of time before she had to allow him the freedom to fly on his own wings.”
I know what you’re thinking: “Why does Shmi Skywalker get mentioned in Aunt Beru’s bio? Isn’t that a weird reach?” Yes. Yes, it is. But it’s okay, because weird reaches are something that defined this particular branch of the Power of the Force line. In celebration of the upcoming Prequel Trilogy, Hasbro (who was once again putting their name on action figures, after deciding to shut down their Kenner division) decided to celebrate in the best possible way you can when you can’t actually release anything from the movie you’re promoting: awkward, forced tie-ins. Instead of actual Episode 1 based product, they produced the “Flashback Photo” figures, a set of Original Trilogy figures that each had a tie to someone from the new movie. Figures like Vader, Obi-Wan, R2, or 3PO all made sense, being in both sets of movies and all, but what of other characters? Well, you get pairings like Beru and Shmi, who aren’t related, and don’t actually interact on-screen….but, I guess they’re sort of similar?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Aunt Beru was added to the Power of the Force line in 1999, as part of the second round of the “Flashback Photo” figures that were leading into the new film. This was Beru’s first figure (not an exceptional shock, really), and remains the only OT Beru figure we’ve ever gotten. Clearly she’s overdue for Black Series treatment, right? Riiiiight. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation. She’s rather limited on the mobility front, due to the harder plastic skirt, but it’s Beru; it’s not like she was exactly action oriented. Her sculpt was an all-new thing, and it’s actually a rather nice offering. The proportions are fairly balanced and realistic, and pre-posing is kept to a minimum. Her outfit is fairly well detailed, and she’s even got a halfway decent likeness of actress Sheila Mary Fraser. Generally, just pretty good sculpting for the time when you get down to it. Additionally, the paint work’s not too bad either. Mostly, it’s flat base color work, but there’s some decent work on the pattern of her collar, and the accenting on the hair also works quite well. Beru’s real selling point is the accessories. She gets the best ever accessories for an Aunt Beru figure: a pitch and cup of blue milk! It’s kind of a signature thing, so it’s nice they put it in there. Hasbro obviously knew that old woman in a sensible jacket and dress serving a good, calcium building beverage wasn’t going to fly off shelves, so they packed Beru with one of the Lars family Service Droids. Though simply dubbed “Service Droid” on the package, this guy is actually a WED-15-77 Treadwell droid, which is a somewhat recurring type of droid from the films and expanded universe material. Treadwell even has a single joint at the base of his treads, and a spot for keeping the milk, making him the perfect companion piece to Beru. Lastly, there’s the “Flashback Photo” piece, which is really just an extra piece of packaging that you’d be forgiven for immediately throwing away. It’s a picture of Beru on a set of shutters; pull the tab down, and they flip to show Shmi Skywalker. Thrilling.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This is one of those oddball releases that isn’t really ripe for buying as a kid…so I didn’t. She got traded into All Time over the summer, and I snagged her then, as I continue my quest of getting all of Power of the Force. Honestly, while she may not be the most thrilling character, Beru is a better figure than you might expect, and holds up surprisingly well for this line. For me, though, Treadwell is the real star. He’s just so nifty!