LUKE SKYWALKER & YSALAMIRI — HEIR TO THE EMPIRE
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
“Five years after the destruction of the Death Star, Luke Skywalker fears there is no hope as the remnants of the Imperial fleet are readied for war under the command of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Using ysalamiri to sever a developing Jedi clone’s connection to the Force allowed mentally stable Jedi clones to be created—a discovery Thrawn would use in his war against Luke Skywalker and the New Republic”
Timothy Zhan’s Heir to the Empire made itself into a rather stable corner stone of the Star Wars Expanded Universe when it debuted in its original prose form in 1991, and became even more cemented when it was further adapted into comics form in 1995, giving a visual narrative to that post-Return of the Jedi world. Heir would also introduced two of the EU’s most prominent and popular characters, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade. If you’re going to be doing a more EU-centered set of Star Wars figures, it’s a totally logical choice. I mean, sure, we’ve already gotten a Thrawn, but there’s still a chance to do the *other* major character introduced, right? That’s who you did, right? Oh, no, we’re just doing a Luke Skywalker variant then, aren’t we? Yep. Well, let’s just do that, I guess.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Luke Skywalker & Ysalamiri is the third offering in the comics-based Star Wars: The Black Series line-up. He’s one of two non-comics original characters featured in the set, the other being Darth Maul. He’s based on his appearance from the cover of the comic’s first issue, which also serves as the front of his box. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. He’s identical in sculpt to the Dagobah Luke from last year. It’s a pretty solid sculpt, and, as I noted, it’s the most articulated Luke body Hasbro’s got in their parts catalogue. While the outfits are certainly similar, though, it’s worth noting that it’s definitely an Empire Luke, and Heir is very much a post Return story. At the very least, it feels like they should have used one of the Jedi Luke heads. He’s also missing the belt he’s sporting on the cover, which is a shame, and really misses the one chance they would have had to give him a new piece. The paint’s a bit tweaked, but not majorly so. His outfit’s all black now, and that’s really it. I guess it’s a little more striking, but it also means he loses a lot of the cool accenting and dirt that the prior release had. In terms of accessories, Luke is decidedly pretty light. He’s got his lightsaber, and the Ysalamiri that’s listed on the box. The lightsaber is his Jedi version, complete with a green blade that’s not accurate to the comic, but is accurate to what Luke’s saber *should* be, so it shakes out. Giving him both blade colors might not have been a terrible option, though. The Ysalamiri is an all-new piece, but isn’t really designed for use with Luke himself, instead being designed to fit over the Thrawn figure’s shoulders. Obviously, it’s nice that it fits him, since he’s most classically remembered with it on his shoulders, but it just makes Luke feel even lighter when one of his two accessories isn’t even for him.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I really liked Dagobah Luke when he was released, so I certainly wasn’t opposed to a re-use. That said, I never really warmed up to this figure that much pre-release. Doing an Heir to the Empire Luke when we still don’t have any version of Mara Jade, the character he spends much of the story interacting with, in this scale at all, feels a bit backwards. Not helping things is that he doesn’t really do much to give himself much reason to exist. While this design’s the one on the cover, it’s not overly distinctive or exciting. The pulled down jumpsuit look that the comic pack 3 3/4 inch version did might have honestly been a better choice, but barring that, just giving him a slightly more enticing accessory selection might have helped a bit. As it stands, he’s alright, but not much to write home about.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.