2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Lucasfilm, and you would expect of such things, Hasbro is taking part in the celebration. The Star Wars Black Series is chugging along and is frankly better than it has ever been. Much of the current focus is centered around the Disney+ titles as they are deservedly at the forefront right now. However, you cannot have a 50th anniversary celebration without recognizing the roots of the historic franchise, so Hasbro’s Lucasfilm collection is centered on what has made the stories and action figures so enduring over the decades, and that all starts at the beginning.
Vintage figure tributes of the Jawa, Greedo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi are currently releasing via Amazon, and if you thought the 40th anniversary figures for A New Hope were dripping with nostalgia, what til you get a load of these. While the previous version celebrated the occasion with vintage-style card backs, these three new figures take that approach and then up the ante by making the figures actually resemble the original Star Wars figures from 1978. As Obi-Wan is my favorite SW character, it was easy for me to pick him to feature here, and as Hasbro has done a great job of celebrating his various looks across the line, it is fun to add an edition with such strong Kenner roots.
Now, these figures are not scene-specific or anything like that, and frankly, aside from being a translation of the original translation from screen to plastic by late 70s standards, these figures won’t necessarily be for everyone. That said, I think Ben is a ton of fun, and this release is absolutely required for anyone who fancies themselves a Kenobi devotee of a fan of SW history in general. The figure itself is a 100% carryover from the Episode 4 Obi-Wan that we have seen released a few times at this point, but with a new deco scheme and “robe,” it walks the balance of having that vintage feel, but with modern sensibilities.
The color scheme used for this figure obviously takes its cues from the original Ben figure, rather than the screen. Thus, his robes are bright rust color, and his light saber is blade is that unmistakable light blue. I am still in the process of getting my collection space fully out and set up, and I cannot find my vintage Kenobi at the moment. He is one of only two real vintage SW figures I own (Chewie is the other), and since the Wookiee was located, I am starting to get a little concerned. At any rate, it is fun to see the colors applied here, even with the far more detailed sculpting work. The lightsaber hilt has actually had its original paint applications removed to be more vintage-accurate, but since the figure itself is the same, don’t expect any telescoping blade effects.
The big standout on this figure is the vinyl cape, and I very pleased with the way it turned out. Having been not born when the original SW figures were released, I was always a bit puzzled by the execution of some of these vintage capes. The folded vinyl added the essential piece of the costume, but it never really resembled a proper Jedi robe. Over time, I came to appreciate this style and execution, and I am very pleased Hasbro took this approach, and did so in convincing fashion. The style and material match up well in this modern iteration, so it is a lot of fun to see it here, and it is what really sets this version apart. I am dumbfounded by the fact that they did not do this with the Jawa, too, but that is conversation for another time.
Finally, in a bit of a swerve, this Kenobi actually gets a modern upgrade that has not been present in any previous releases of the SWB old Ben. If the nostalgia trip doesn’t get you, the new head deco will because this figure feature the photo-real process for the first time with the Guinness likeness. It is such an improvement over the original paint applications (which, admittedly, are closer to a process that was followed in ’78), and as you can imagine, you can swap this head with the standard Ben figure with just a little bit of heat and have an instant upgrade. Frankly, I am willing to upgrade all of my figures that were released pre-printing if I am given the chance to do so, so you know I got multiples of this guy.
This is a fun release that really pulls at the old nostalgia strings. Hasbro picked some good candidates for this execution for this series, but I would love to get a Darth Vader at the very least, too. I am not sure what they would do with a Han Solo (aside from giving that ANH head a much needed printing upgrade), and since Luke and Leia have shoddy soft goods, they would not translate over as well either. Like I said though, give me Vader for sure, and a Lando would be cool, too. If you don’t love this for any other reason than the head upgrade, that is reason enough to pick this up, so keep an eye on Amazon to get your order in.