I may not have been alive when the first three Star Wars films were released, but that doesn’t mean my childhood didn’t include Kenner Star Wars action figures. We actually had a few of them in my house courtesy of my older brother, who was old enough to have toys from Return of the Jedi. Watching the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us made me very nostalgic for this era, which is why I was so excited at Toy Fair this year when Hasbro announced the 3.75 inch Star Wars retro collection, a collectible line reminiscent of the original action figures.
We initially received a cardboard envelope similar to the ones parents could by back in 1978 as a way to give their kids the impossible to find Star Wars toys for holidays via a promissory note with a mail-away card to receive your order. This one, however, simply let us know that a box of figures would be coming soon for the purposes of review (Thanks Hasbro!!!). Luckily, that box arrived just in time for
Life Day Star Wars Day.
The stylized box the toys were sent in replicates the artwork from the original mailer on the front and back. However, the drawn characters have been replaced with images of the six action figures.
The six figures in the introductory wave include Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and a Stormtrooper. Luke recreates the original platinum blonde look of the original toys, and the plastic soft goods on Darth Vader and Princess Leia feel like a weird attempt at recreating a movie look that just wasn’t possible yet with 1970’s mass production technology for action figures on this scale.
It’s interesting how Kenner tried to recreate the Lightsaber activation moment from the film by making them a feature that slides out of the right hand of Luke and Darth Vader. While the other characters have removable blasters, these two characters are always holding their lightsaber, which can be retracted most of the way into their arm.
I love the nostalgia aspect of these figures, from packaging that is reminiscent of the original releases, with stylized dents and creases to make them look worn. Sadly, a sticker on the package is hard to remove without leaving behind residue and a smaller banner or emblem would have been a preferable way to brand this collection. But it’s worth noting that the sticker is stylized to reflect the era of the toys’ original release.
Whether you grew up in the Kenner era or not, the Star Wars Retro Collection is a lot of fun and a great starting point for new collectors. It celebrates the original roots of licensed Star Wars products, which played an important role in the history of the franchise and the development of Lucasfilm Ltd. You can add these figures to your collection starting May 12th. May the force be with you!
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.