Thursday, December 31, 2009

Darth Vader (SW 1978-79)

We will now dip back into the original twelve with Darth Vader. Like Chewbacca, the Vader figure had a relatively taller stature, in keeping with the movies. Also like Chewbacca, Vader was another figure with no changes (other than the card back) during the entire original Kenner run. Darth Vader came on the original Star Wars card, ESB, ROTJ, POTF, and another ROTJ card that had a close-up picture of his helmet.

Because of manufacturing limitations, and the desire to be cheap, Vader came with a vinyl cape instead of cloth or molded plastic like the figures today. The figure is very much in keeping with the character's appearance, and the only accessory is a built-in telescoping red lightsaber. Some rare Vaders exist where the lightsaber telescoped to almost twice its original length. This proved handy in duels and Sith pornography.

Why should you own this figure? Five reasons:

1. He's Darth freakin' Vader! The man in black. The Lord who won't leave you bored.

2. Come on, who didn't need Vader for the only lightsaber duels from the original trilogy? You had to at least have him fight Obi-Wan.

3. Despite the lack of accessories, he had the Force. Let your imagination run wild moving other Star Wars toys and choking other figures.

4. He had his own dedicated vehicle, and being an anal-retentive young man, I needed only the Vader figure to fly it.

5. Again, Darth Vader. Enough said.


If you don't know the backstory by now, get a freaking clue. Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, the seemingly immaculately conceived whiny child born to Schmi Skywalker. He trained in the Jedi order and forbiddenly fell in love with Senator Amidala. He freaked out over possibly losing her, and the Emperor (then Senator Palpatine) turned him to the Dark Side. Shortly afterwards he was wounded in a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan and was forced to wear his black cybernetic suit. During this same time Amidala gave birth to their twins, Luke and Leia. Vader ruled the Empire as second-in-charge, while Luke and Leia grew up and joined the Rebel Alliance. Vader killed Obi-Wan. Luke eventually dueled his father, and brought him back to the light, but not before mortally wounding him (or that was the Emperor's Sith lightning - up for debate). Anakin joined the ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda.

About the only important part most people haven't heard is that there is debate over whether Palpatine is actually Anakin's father. Maybe he or his mentor Darth Plagueis used those life-giving powers to conceive Anakin without actually doing the dirty deed. This is mostly fan speculation, and nothing from LucasFilm has been proposed to support this.

After Han and Leia have kids in the later novels, they name their third child Anakin.

Full story (and it's a long one)? Wookieepedia article

37th in alphabetical order

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