#2610: Princess Leia – Dark Empire



“Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic’s closest friend – Luke Skywalker – may become their greatest enemy. Hoping to free her brother Luke from the evil of the dark side, Jedi Leia prepares to match her power against that of a reborn Emperor. Boarding his colossal warship, Leia is overwhelmed by the oppression of the dark side.”

If you’ve been following my Kenner Power of the Force II reviews as of late, you may have seen me start to get a little bit…uninspired about things?  In my defense I’m hitting a lot of the stuff from when the line was a little same-y.  I do still really love the line though, so I’m going to try to realign with something a little more exciting. Perhaps the most exciting portion of the line was its 1998 Expanded Universe spin-off.  It was our first real glimpse into toys of the world outside of the movies, and also gave Kenner some free reign to do some cool new stuff.  There were a handful of different stories covered, but by far the one to get the largest focus was Dark Empire, a rather notable continuation of the original trilogy at the time.  I’ve looked at both Luke and the Emperor from that story, and now I’m digging further into the set with an updated Princess Leia!


Princess Leia from Dark Empire was part of the first seven figures in what would eventually be a nine figure line-up of the Expanded Universe sub-line.  She, like most of the EU figures, proved a bit scarce at the time of release, and honestly hasn’t ever reached the same level of plentifulness as other PotF figures.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  Leia is an all-new sculpt, patterned on her more action-faring design from the comics.  It’s an interesting design set-up.  She adds a Jedi-Luke-esque cape to her attire, and beneath it she’s got something that looks akin to Luke’s Bespin gear.  It’s definitely helps to solidify the more traditional protagonist role Leia falls into during the course of the story.  It’s a pretty decent sculpt overall.  It’s rather in keeping with the rest of the mid-line Leia sculpts from PotF, with a likeness that’s consistent with those other figures, making it easy to tell she’s supposed to be the same person.  The figure has a little bit of trouble standing without the cape, but with it on she keeps up just well.  And honestly, who’s not going to use the cape?  It’s so cool.  Leia’s paint work is, like the other EU figures, a touch more vibrant than the usual Star Wars fare.  Of all of them, she’s certainly less removed than others, but I do certainly enjoy the multitude of colors used on her cape.  It’s a very nice touch.  Leia is packed with a light saber (in a rather concerning red, to match her brother), and a small blaster.  And, like all of the single-carded EU figures, her card back also unfolds into a small 3D back drop for her, based on the comics.  This is consistently my favorite part of these figures.


The EU figures were a favorite piece of mine from this line, but as I noted when I looked at Kyle, the only ones I actually got as a kid were Luke and Palpatine.  I wanted the others, but they are, as noted above, not the most common PotF figures, and they’re one of the few sets I was more insistent about getting carded.  Fortunately, I happened upon a complete set of them through All Time back last year.  Leia’s perhaps not the flashiest of the set, but she’s still a fun variant of the character, and I get a real nostalgic kick from her.

#1488: Luke Skywalker – Dark Empire



“Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic’s closest friend – Luke Skywalker – may become their greatest enemy. Freed from their detention cell, a group of rebels begin their escape from the Imperial planet Byss. But the sudden appearance of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, could mean unfortunate news for the Rebels. Has Luke fallen under the spell of the dark side?”

Remember two weeks ago when I was talking about the Star Wars Expanded Universe?  Well, hows about a little more of that?  Yeah, let’s go with that.  It’s another Dark Empire figure!  Wooooo!  This time, it’s Luke Skywalker, in his ‘90s anti-hero phase.  Let’s have a look!


Dark Empire Luke Skywalker was another of the four Dark Empire figures in the one and only series of Kenner’s Star Wars: Expanded Universe line.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Like the Clone Emperor, the seventh point of articulation is on his wrist (though this time it was the right one), which was more to allow for the removal of Luke’s hand…which is why my figure is missing his right hand.  Luke had a totally unique sculpt, based on his bad-boy look from the Dark Empire comics.  It’s sort of goofy and definitely dated, but I can’t help but find it endearing.  By this point in time, Kenner had lost the bulky, puffy look of their early ‘90s Star Wars figures, so this guy doesn’t look anywhere near as goofy, at least proportion-wise.  The head was a new mold, showcasing Luke’s extra bouncy hair from Dark Empire, but it has the same facial construction as Kenner’s second-generation PotF2 Luke heads, which had a slightly better Hamill likeness.  It’s a little strange that he’s ended up looking so much younger, but I don’t think it looks terrible at all.  Luke’s paint is pretty solid overall.  I think it’s a bit more pleasing to the eye than the Clone Emperor, and the application is generally pretty clean.  Luke included a lightsaber—red to denote his flirting with the Dark Side during the events of Dark Empire—as well as a blaster pistol.  He also included another of the fold-out 3D display stand things, which was pretty cool.  Reeeeeaaaaally wish I still had one of those.


I think this was the first instance of me eagerly awaiting the release of a Star Wars figure.  I was at the local Another Universe at the mall with my Dad, and I saw this guy on the cover of a Star Wars fan magazine, which had the details on the whole Expanded Universe assortment.  My Dad was nice enough to buy the magazine for me, and I remember dragging that thing all over the place while I eagerly awaited this figure’s release.  As I mentioned in the Clone Emperor review, I found this guy in the Farpoint dealer’s room the year he was released, and he was purchased for me by my Grandmother.  He’s a pretty awesome figure, and still remains one of my favorites.

#1474: Clone Emperor Palpatine



Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic’s closest friend – Luke Skywalker – may become their greatest enemy. With the power to transfer his consciousness to genetic clones, a younger, stronger Emperor Palpatine is perilously close to gaining total control of the galaxy forever.”

Following the conclusion of the original Star Wars movies, there was no immediate follow up planned.  The prequels were still just a concept, and the sequel trilogy wasn’t even a glimmer in Kathleen Kennedy’s eye.  The next best thing was the Expanded Universe, which fans latched onto pretty quickly.  In the ’90s, in the midst of their re-launched toy line, Kenner created an EU-centered sub-line.  Amongst that line were two figures based on the “Dark Empire” story, which included today’s figure, Clone Emperor Palpatine.


Clone Emperor Palpatine was released in Kenner’s one series Star Wars: Expanded Universe line in 1998.  As noted in the intro, this figure hails from “Dark Empire,” a story which sees Palpatine brought back in a series of cloned bodies.  Without the name on the package to go by, you could be forgiven for not recognizing this as Palpatine, since he’s noticeably less wrinkly than he usually is.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall (the EU figures were a little smaller) and he has 7 points of articulation.  Where’s that extra point coming from you ask?  Why, from his left wrist.  And why just the left wrist?  Because it’s actually just a side effect of making the left hand removable.  It was actually pretty common around this period of Kenner’s Star Wars figures, before they realized they could do more with that joint than just detachable limbs.  Now, you may have noticed my Emperor has no left hand.  I lost it.  Silly me.  Palpatine’s sculpt was unique to him.  It showed Kenner’s trend towards much less exaggerated stylings, and honestly feels more like a vintage figure than a lot of his compatriots. His robe is a separate, removable piece, which goes on and off pretty easily, and is a pretty solid sculpt to boot.  The paint work on this guy is about on par with the rest of Kenner’s offerings around the time.  It’s all cleanly applied, and the details are fairly sharp.  It’s not terribly exciting, but there it is. Palpatine was packed with a light saber–blue, so as to leave everyone all confused and shocked.  There was also this cool 3D fold-out playset thing with all of these figures.  I really wish I still had that.


I can’t tell you exactly why I got this guy.  I got him from the Farpoint dealer’s room, back when he was new.  He shortly followed my acquisition of Luke from the same series.  I think I just wanted someone to go with him.