EMPEROR’S ROYAL GUARD
STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.
“Only the most promising soldiers are chosen to serve as Emperor Palpatine’s personal guards. Experts in many forms of combat, both armed and unarmed, they are conditioned to automatically react to the Emperor’s will.”
Introduced in Return of the Jedi, the Emperor’s Royal Guards don’t really do much of anything on the screen. The just stand there. They look cool and all while doing it, but still, it’s just standing. Then they reappeared in Revenge of the Sith, and did some more standing. Also got force thrown around by Yoda a bit, which is something, I suppose. But mostly still with the standing. The toys, at least early ones, kind of go along with this, being built mostly for said standing. Behold, a figure that stands!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Emperor’s Royal Guard was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force line in 1997. This marked the second figure of the design, following up on the vintage release from 1983. The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has a whopping two points of articulation. Okay, technically three, I suppose, because the neck is sort of jointed. Doesn’t really move, but they tried. The Royal Guard was the type of figure referred to as a “salt shaker” by the fanbase, due to his skirted design meaning that his torso was all one immobile piece, much like a common table salt shaker. While the original figure had placed a whole body beneath the figure’s cloth cape, the cloth pieces weren’t really a thing at this point in the line, and so Kenner just made the underlying body one solid block. The red cloak is still a separate piece, so you can lift it up and see that they’re nothing impressive beneath it, if you so choose, but it hardly seems worth it. At the very least, the helmet’s pretty cool. It’s nice and sharply defined, and just looks pretty clean. The arms, on the other hand, look kind of chunky for some reason. Odd choice there. The paint is virtually non-existent on this figure, apart from the black on his visor. That was it, with nothing more. I mean, I guess it works, but it’s not terribly exciting. The Guard is packed with his little poking stick, and, if you were lucky, a Freeze Frame slide. I was not lucky.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Seeing as they only really stand there, I never had much attachment to the Royal Guards. They look cool, but that’s it. And, when it came to this figure, that really was it. There’s virtually no play value at all here. He stands real good, because, well, there’s not actual legs, so it would be hard for him to fall over, now wouldn’t it. This figure wound up coming to me through a trade I did with Max a couple of years ago. Mostly I got it because I’m getting all of the Power of the Force figures, and I kind have to get this one, now don’t I? Honestly the sturdiness is nice from a display standpoint. If you just want an army of them to stand behind Palpatine at attention, as in the movie, this is honestly your best bet. So, maybe he’s not without value. But he’s still not a great toy on his own.