JABBA THE HUTT (w/ HAN SOLO)
STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
For the (first) Special Edition release of A New Hope, one of the primary new features was the re-insertion of a cut scene from the original film, which would have introduced viewers to the gangster Jabba the Hutt two films earlier. In the scene as it was shot, instead of the huge slug we’d all come to know, Jabba was portrayed by actor Declan Mulholland, who was pretty much just a guy in a lot of furs. For a number of reasons, the scene was excised, and its important bits were retooled into Han’s confrontation with Greedo, leaving Jabba as an ominous figure not fully realized for two more films. When the scene was added back in, a Jabba more in line with the creature seen in Jedi was digitally added in to replace Mulholland (something Lucas has maintained was always his plan, though Lucas isn’t exactly the most trustworthy source on such things, since he frequently claims that whatever the current final product may be was always his plan). Ultimately, thanks to the Greedo scene still being there, the scene’s kinda redundant, slows down the movie, and removes a chunk of Jabba’s menace, and to top it all off, the Jabba CGI model is just nowhere near as convincing as the puppet was. And that’s not even touching on that magical CGI leap that Han has to take in order to jump over Jabba’s tail… Where was I? Right, the toys. They made some toys of this absolute masterpiece of a scene, and I’m taking a look at them today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Jabba and Han were released as one of the Power of the Force II line’s creature sets in 1997, in order to coincide with the release of the Special Editions in theaters, alongside the similarly Special Edition-inspired Ronto with Jawa and Dewback with Sandtrooper.
JABBA THE HUTT
The main focus of this set to be sure, this Jabba was the only release of the character in the PotF2 line, and is notable for being the only one to be directly based on the CGI model of the Special Edition. Small victory there; it wasn’t allowed to spread any further. The figure is about 4 inches tall by about 7 inches long. His only really reliable movement is at the shoulders; there’s joints at the mid-section and in the tail, but they’re all linked together in a mechanism-driven movement, which doesn’t really have much motion, truth be told. I think some more straight-forward joints there would have been better served. As it stands, he actually can’t even properly get into his basic RotJ sitting pose, which is a bummer if you want to make use of him in the Jabba’s Palace playset. The sculpt on this guy is clearly tailored after that previously mentioned CGI model, which is evident from Jabba’s slightly skinnier proportions, especially in the head, and his larger eyes. The texturing on his skin also has that same sort of droopy, almost melted quality of the early CG model. I guess you can’t really fault Kenner on that; he’s possibly a little better looking than the source material, truth be told. Jabba’s paint work also draws a bit more from the updated design. While the original Jabba model had the sort of two-toned thing we see going on here, it was far more subtle. For the CGI look, it became more pronounced, and that was further emphasized on this guy. It’s not *awful* but it becomes even more noticeable when compared to his vintage counterpart, which didn’t go for the two-toned thing at all.
The creature sets liked to throw at least one standard figure into the mix, and I guess you could do a lot worse than a standard Han Solo. That’s what this is: a pretty standard Han. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation (no waist joint for this guy). His sculpt comes from the same basic lineage as the standard ANH Han from the beginning of the line, but he’s a lot like the Gunner Station Han, in that he tones down a lot of the previous Han’s wonky proportions and pre-posing. Honestly, where it not for the leaps and bounds made by the Cantina Han two years later, this would easily be the best ANH Han in the PotF2 line. As it stands, he’s at least in that nice mid-ground spot. Honestly, it’s kind of a shame he only came packed in this set, because I’m certain it led to him getting far more overlooked than he should have. I certainly did. His paint work is probably his weakest point. For some reason, he’s awfully pale, and my figure also has a stray mark of brown across his cheek, which is more than a little distracting. Han included a unique version of his blaster, which was in a dark blue this time instead of the usual black.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I remember seeing this set when it was, new, but even as a kid, I wasn’t much of a fan of the updated Jabba, so I never did get one. That said, I’ve been filling in my PotF2 collection a lot recently, and ended up with the Jabba’s Palace 3D playset, but no Jabba to go with it. Luckily for me, All Time got one of these traded in, and so I’ve finally added it to my collection. There’s not really much to write home about on either of these figures, but they do have sort of this quaint “wow, we didn’t know how far the edits would eventually go” quality about them.