No, I haven’t slipped a cog and screwed up my roman numerals; you’re reading that right: Episode VIII. Meaning 8. Meaning I’m skipping right past Rogue One, digging deep into my prognostificationing powers, and telling you, the humble collectorate, exactly which figures you’ll be buying around Fall of 2017 as we mirror 2015’s Force Friday rollout of brand new action figures for Episode VII. So who are the top five action figures that will accompany the next exciting installment of the new Star Wars trilogy? Let’s find out together! Begin the trumpets, start the crawl, and panning shot commences:
You know . . . she’s going to be damned important. Among many other aspects of The Force Awakens, I found myself captivated by this odd and old little creature . . . much the same way I was captivated by another odd, old creature that debuted in 1980. Now, I’m not saying that Maz’s importance will by anywhere near that of Yoda, he whose syntax makes English teachers the world over shake their heads and click their red pens. But to put it in the most ominous terms imaginable, we haven’t seen the last of her. While I don’t know if we’ll be getting a (6-inch) figure of her for TFA, I can almost guarantee she’ll make the grade for the as-yet-untitled eighth installment. Because she’s going to do something. Something awesome. I can feel it.
Cool-Ass Armored Guy
You know it, I know it, everyone knows it: there is going to be a Cool-Ass Armored Guy, and he’s going to get a figure. Now, it’s highly likely that this Cool-Ass Armored Guy — let’s call him CAAG — is not going to have a large role. He (or she, Captain Phasma was a CAAG also, so it could be a she, but I’m using he for convenience) might have a Boba Fett amount of screen time, which I would gauge as “decent,” or he might have a little less. He might be a bit like the Guavian Enforcer, whose screen time was very brief, leaving behind a killer design and a toy that we all wondered about. While this CAAG won’t have anywhere near the screen time of other CAAGs like Darth Vader or Kylo Ren, he will make an appearance in the trailer, he will grab our attention, and we will want a damn toy of him as soon as possible. Hasbro will make one, Figuarts will make one, MAFEX will make one, he’ll get a model kit, sheets, pilowcases, maybe even coffee mugs. He is the Cool-Ass Armored Guy of Episode VIII, and his awesomeness will not be denied. Or hers.
Dark Side Stormtrooper AKA Stormtrooper with a Lightsaber AKA the Coolest Thing Ever
What am I talking about? Well, it’s a Stormtrooper with a lightsaber. That’s self-explanatory. But this isn’t a new concept in Star Wars land. The visual itself dates back to original McQuarrie designs and has been used in one way or another in some video game versions of Star Wars as “Shadowtroopers.” I think the time has come for this concept to be introduced into the movies, and I think Episode VIII is the place this will happen. Stormtroopers are more effective than ever in these sequel movies, so I can only imagine an elite unit, trained by Snoke, led by Kylo Ren to show up. Quite possibly. They might have a really nifty take on the previous First Order Stormtrooper uniform, possibly with some more red and black added — definitely black — and the appearance of this legion of Stormtroopers with lightsabers in the trailer will cause insta-boners to ignite like a lightsaber in a dark hall. If this doesn’t happen, I will make the tears from my face.
Episode VIII IG unit
I’m going to go out on a very thin and very spindly limb for this one. I don’t know if it will be the familiar IG-88 we all know and love, or if it will be a similar type of IG unit, but I think this will happen. A big part of these movies is going to be callbacks to the original trilogy when appropriate. Of the bounty hunters that didn’t shriek their way into a Sarlacc’s tummy, IG-88 is the one most likely to still be functioning and still be looking pretty after three decades. Can you picture Dengar 30 years later? Bossk is probably retired. But if you can imagine a fully CGI IG-88 going after Rey and Chewie while they’re trying to bring Luke back to Leia, then you’ll see where I’m going with this. Call me crazy, but I see this as a thing. Stop calling me crazy, it’s a thing!
Jedi Master Luke
This one is another one that escapes the realm of “guess” and settles into “absolute certainty I’ll eat my hat if this isn’t a thing let’s all just embrace it and await the inevitable Mark Beardill figure.” While Luke’s minimal screen time in TFA meant that he might not get an action figure for that movie, I can almost guarantee that we will be getting a Jedi Master Luke for Episode VIII, with fully robotic hand and . . . well, who knows what type of lightsaber. Will he go back to using his father’s blue one? Too many bad memories with that one. So will it be his familiar green one from Return of the Jedi? It’s possible he doesn’t have that one anymore, so maybe he’s built a new one in the 30 years since that movie. Regardless, there is no way that he’s not first off the rack when the time comes, because I know that after all of the “where’s Luke” guesswork around the trailers for TFA, Luke will not be shy this time around.