Here are the final four entries to round out the best modern 12 back Star Wars action figures. If you’re late to the party Part I is here, and Part II is here.
At the time of A New Hope you’d be forgiven for thinking that Darth Vader was the big bad of Star Wars, but as the saga progressed that title went to the Emperor, and Vader’s redemptive arc gave Return of the Jedi the emotional push it sorely needed and became the fuel for the Prequels. I still get shivers down my spine when watching his revelation in The Empire Strikes Back, and I must have seen it hundreds of times. It’s easily my favourite moment of cinema.
This version of ol’ Darth is from The Anniversary Collection of 2007, and originally came packed with Obi Wan’s vacant cloak, following their lightsaber duel at the end of A New Hope. This figure was far better than the VC08 version I recently sold, but I wouldn’t consider this the current definitive Vader – for that honour goes to VC93.
The nicest thing about looking at these A New Hope figures in isolation is that the story starts and stops there. With the original 12 backs there weren’t even sequels, let alone prequels, and that’s why this Stormtrooper, from 2004’s Original Trilogy Collection is the definitive version for me.
Rocking 14 points of articulation, an excellent sculpt and an appropriately sized blaster, the best bit about this guy is that if you remove the helmet, all you get is a ball joint. Maybe the helmet is a bit on the small side, but the less that clones infect the OT the better.
After having half a film to shine Obi Wan Kenobi gets relegated to an expositionary role for the rest of the OT, but by then his work is done – Luke has been more or less sufficiently mentored, and his final sacrifice allowed the Falcon crew and Princess Leia to escape. He may have been old, but he went out like a champ!
This Obi Wan is also from the A New Hope Blu-ray Commemorative pack, and is based on the 2008 Legacy Collection release. It’s a very good iteration, capturing his wizened look rather well. The force-using finger pose makes him slightly awkward holding his lightsaber and the cloak is extremely billowy, but those are the only cons on an otherwise fine figure.
Finishing off the original 12 backs was the diminutive Jawa, the desert scavengers that bought the droids back together and got slaughtered for their efforts. The character of these guys, by which I mean their seeming enthusiasm and peculiar language, really helps bring Star Wars to life. These are the first aliens/indigenous life forms that we encounter, and their successful appearance is the springboard needed to completely sell the film. By the time Luke arrives at the droid sale, we’re already invested in the world.
This Jawa is an incomplete version of the 2009 Legacy Collection edition. It should come with a blaster for the bandolier holster, but sadly that was lost by the original owner. However, in its original condition this is still the finest Jawa you can find.
And so the Jawa wraps up the modern 12 backs. It's been fun photographing and profiling these figures, and with this set it also marks the first time that I've actually fulfilled a collecting focus. Other than maybe getting all the accessories, and the VC93 Vader, these figures are all I need as far as A New Hope collecting goes. It's nice to be able to say that this collection is finished.
This series couldn't have been made without the amazing review database over at Jedi Temple Archives - be sure to go take a look for yourselves, and thanks for reading!