ANAKIN, YODA, & OBI-WAN
STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda — three individuals with lives intricately intertwined. Before Obi-Wan Kenobi was forced into a life of hiding, before Anakin Skywalker gave in to the dark side and became Darth Vader, even before Yoda was known as the last Jedi Master, a young Anakin was presented to the Jedi Council for permission to train the boy in the ways of the Force. Many years later, the Galactic Republic crumbled and the evil Empire rose in its place. Only after the defeat of the Empire, at the hands of Anakin’s son Luke Skywalker, would the three great Jedi be reunited after death as spiritual guides for Luke and the New Republic.”
First hinted at during A New Hope’s climactic battle, when Luke hears the voice of the recently killed Obi-Wan during his run on the Death Star, the force ghost concept fully appears during Empire, when Obi-Wan fully manifests in spirit form. He shows up again during Return of the Jedi, and is ultimately joined by both Yoda and Anakin in the film’s final moments. They don’t really do much other than stand there, but it’s a distinctive visual, and one that stuck with fans. So, toys, of course. The first one we got was an Anakin, during the original Power of the Force run, though it was handled slightly differently than now. A more conventional take on the concept in toy form hit the ’90s line as a mail-away figure, the Spirit of Obi-Wan. Not content to let Obi-Wan have all the fun, Kenner put him out again, this time alongside the other two, as one of their Cinema Scenes, which I’ll be taking a look at today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The Jedi Spirits set was part of the 1998 Cinema Scenes line-up for Power of the Force II. They were one of two Jedi sets released that year, as the line began to be more focused on the final film. They included a stand, based on the edge of one of the Ewok structures from Endor, where they are seen in the film. Interestingly, they were all three screwed into the base in addition to the usual foot pegs. Not entirely sure why that was the case; maybe there was some concern about potentially damaging them by twisty tying them in like the others?
He’s been subsequently replaced by Hayden Christian in more recent editions of the film, but the original version of Jedi gave us a look at an Anakin from a potential version of events where he never fell to the dark side to become Darth Vader. It’s honestly sort of sensible, since it also means he would, you know, look vaguely like the guy whose face Luke actually saw earlier that day, so he might be able to know it was his father, and all. But that’s probably all very silly, I suppose. The elder Anakin got a sort of force ghost-y figure in the vintage line, designed to sort of be the best of both worlds. Power of the Force II split it into two figures, with this being the more overt ghost one. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches all and he has three points of articulation…technically. The neck definitely moves…a little. The arms also move, but as you can see from the photo, they tend to just fall out of the socket more often than not. Not sure why, but that’s how it is. He was an all new sculpt, based on Sebastian Shaw’s brief appearance as Anakin from the movie. It’s distinctly different from Obi-Wan, so that’s certainly a nice touch. There’s some nice texture work going on as well. While the mail-away Obi-Wan was just translucent blue with no paint, they mixed things up a little bit for this set, adding some dry brushed white, to give him a little more depth.
Yoda was totally without any force ghost figures at this point, so him finally getting one was certainly an accomplishment. While there were a few Yoda molds to chose from, this one was a new one entirely. He stands about 2 1/4 inches tall. You can sort of get some motion at the neck and shoulders, but nothing much, and it feels like it doesn’t want to really move. Beyond that, it’s a nice enough sculpt. It’s good for just standing there, which is all he really needs to do. It’s more accurate than other molds from the same line, and the stance in particular is a little closer to the actual puppet, since he doesn’t have to contend with needing to move. Also, the arms stay on him, so that’s a plus over Anakin. Good for him. His paint works pretty much the same way, although it’s not quite as intense in its application.
Obi-Wan is, of course, the figure in this set that was the least new, especially at the time of his release, with the prior version having hit just the previous year at the time. That being said, Kenner did at least make him a little different, even if it was just for the sake of being different. The figure is 3 3/4 inches tall. He’s sort of got the same articulation as Yoda, where it’s *technically* there, but very limited and not really ideal for any proper use. His sculpt is largely the same as the mail-away version, but he changes out the right arm for one with a different pose. So there’s that, I guess. It’s not a bad sculpt, so I can get behind it, especially without the one arm just kind of sticking out like on the prior version. His paint matches the other two in the set, which looks a fair bit better than the unpainted version.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I had none of the Cinema Scenes sets as a kid, so obviously that’s not where this one came from. It is, however, one of the earlier ones I picked up once I actually started doing such things. I snagged this one when it was traded into All Time, almost exactly two years ago, at this point. I know, I’ve got quite a PotF2 backlog, don’t I? It’s not a terribly playable set, but at the same time, it really seems to get the feel of Cinema Scenes down the best, because it’s a distinct visual, and these figures are always gonna be a tough sell by themselves.