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Bandai: S.H. Figuarts Star Wars: The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker

Whew! I have to say that I am still recovering a bit from the insanely AWESOME showing of Star Wars S.H. Figuarts prototypes shown at Bandai’s Tamashii Comic-Con a couple of weeks ago. I can say that I want everything they showed off, so I can only hope to the Force that at least SOME of it is released in a “reasonably soon” time frame, but you know how “Bandai gonna Bandai” so I live the torture. So, with all of THAT going on, it might be easy to forget or look past a quiet little SHF release in the form of the Soul Web Shop exclusive of Luke Skywalker from The Last Jedi. However, with as nice as this figure turned out, that would most certainly be a mistake.

Oh, The Last Jedi. Just when you think that nothing could be more divisive in Star Wars lore than the Prequel Trilogy, Episode 8 came along and knocked everyone for a loop. I think a lot of fandom is still reconciling things with this flick as many are not sure how to feel about even to this day. It is unfortunate that might have put some shade on the release of Solo last weekend (which is a shame, because it is a LOT of fun), but I don’t even like to bring up TLJ at this point due to the copious amounts of feelings it causes to be expressed. I will admit, I am not a hater of TLJ, not at all actually. I WILL say that I think some very, VERY odd/questionable choices were made, and it probably ranks at the bottom of “replay” value for me as a SW movie, but there is a lot I do like about it, and it definitely did its duty as the flick that was going to push SW in a new direction.

And all of that is fine, it really is. Sure, I might LOATHE the way Admiral Ackbar was treated, and raise my eyebrows here and there, but I still love Rey very much, and I am very interested to see where the Resistance goes from here, now that their numbers are almost completely diminished. Luke Skywalker does, of course, play a role in the film, but in a totally meta way, and to paraphrase the character himself, “it did not go like we thought.” I still struggle with Luke’s direction the most, to be honest, and the ultimate purpose he plays is not really my issue, more so his arc to get there. A lot happened for Luke, but oddly enough, not a lot happened with Luke during most of the movie, and this new SHF figure is the representation of what the jaded old Jedi looked like for most of the flick. It is too bad that not much occurred during his time in this get-up, because I think this is a REALLY good look for him in his older years.

So, I have been looking forward to this figure quite a bit because I do like the costume so much. This is Luke finally cutting that iconic Jedi look, and everything from the robes to the wise old beard helps support his transition to an elder Jedi statesman. Well, only statesman, I guess, but you get the idea. Bandai has done an AMAZING job rendering this figure, and I am not even joking when I say that this is not only the best Luke Skywalker likeness we have gotten from Bandai yet, but it is also one of the best actor likenesses they have done, period. That all comes down to the photo-realistic “face printing” technology that Bandai has pioneered (and other companies are now using), and it is hitting on all cylinders here.

As a general rule, I think it is more difficult for action figure companies to accurately capture the likenesses of young handsome/pretty actors. So often, there is little to highlight or focus on other than the subject just being a “good looking” person. For SW, Luke, Han, and Leia have had a long history of misses for their action figures from the Original Trilogy, but since they became venerable veterans of all of those Star Wars, some of their careworn traits can come through. That is not to say that I don’t think the farm boy Luke Bandai released a couple of summers ago isn’t great, because it is, but the likeness to this old man Luke is next level. The facial features show off Jedi Master beard, and there are plenty of lines and wrinkles across his face. The tight grouping of the stippling of the printing is also wonderful and honestly, there is little to no degradation when you zoom in tightly on the details, so I hope this is sign of the the next evolution of the technology.

Now, I have talked a lot about the likeness, but the rest of the figure is really nice, too. It has all of the articulation that you would come to expect in an SHF release, and all of it functions well. Luke’s outfit is a bit monochromatic to be sure, but there is a lot of detail to be found thanks to the variety of textures and outstanding sculpting. The brown robes are pretty standard for the old guard of the Jedi (with some variance here in length and lack of hood), and Luke combines those with pants and boots that are a bit of a callback to the style he wore as a youth on Tatooine. Under the robe is the most impressive piece of clothing in the hooded tunic. Now, I did not say this is a flashy, but the sculpted texture and cloth folds are exquisite. In fact, a lot of people took the tunic fo cloth back when it was first revealed, so anytime you can fool the eye in such a way, that is a win in my book.

For accessories, Luke is a little light, but that is kind of typical for most (definitely not ALL) Soul Web exclusives, and the lack of activity for the character while he wore these clothes in the movie leans that way, too. The best accessory is actually the “up” hood to swap with the “down” version, and it looks very nice and natural when it is in place. You also get two open hands, which I prefer to the fists, open and closed version of the little compass thing, and what I guess is Vader’s Kyber crystal (did they even address it in the movie?) on a strap. Yeah, nothing overly exciting, so along with the seam on the hair of the figure, I call the lack of cool accessories  a weakness with this release. A couple of SHF Porgs would have been a hoot, actually, so too bad they overlooked them.

Between Hasbro and Bandai, we are getting pretty close to having most of Luke’s primary looks from the Skywalker Saga. Again, while TLJ kind of let him flounder in these togs, I put this look up with the farm boy and RotJ Jedi outfits as my favorite for Luke. While my overall feeling for The Last Jedi are still not completely reconciled, my love for this figure certainly is, and this is a great release that I am happy to add to my shelf. Again, this was a web shop exclusive, so if you missed the preorder, you will likely have to pay through the nose (Republic Credits are no good), but you can still find him in a few places.

Thanks for checking out this feature, and stay tuned, SHF Obi-Wan Kenobi is due at the end of this month!