The Hunt Is On - Force Link 2.0 3 3/4" Trooper Pack Found

While I have a pretty broad focus when it comes to 3 3/4" figures, I've always been a sucker for trooper variants. Given this, I was incredibly excited to hear that Target would be stocking an exclusive trooper pack featuring half-a-dozen Imperial soldiers from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Mine finally arrived this week, and has quickly become one of my favourite offerings from Hasbro in the modern era.


Featuring six figures in total (including four new brand new figures - three of which are character debuts) this pack is every army-builder's dream come true. The clear highlight of the pack is Mudtrooper Han - a wonderfully sculpted figure that features a cape, blaster rifle, removable goggles, and a breathing mask that clips ever-so-pleasingly onto Han's face. In fact, the goggles and mask fit so well that the figure can easily (once its face is covered) double as a generic Mudtrooper - perfect for those planning on purchasing more than one of these sets. In fact, the additional Imperial Mudtrooper that comes with the pack appears to be exactly this: the Han figure with the goggles and breathing mask permanently glued into place, along with a slightly different paint scheme and a modified rifle.

Title of Jon Favreau's Live-Action TV Series Announced as The Mandalorian

Today StarWars.com announced the title of Jon Favreau's upcoming live-action TV Series as The Mandalorian, and gave us our first glimpse from the set - and potentially of the main protagonist.

(Image courtesy of StarWars.com)

The announcement came shortly after Favreau Instagrammed the following brief synopsis of the show:
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
The series will be written and executive produced by Favreau, with Dave Filoni (of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels fame) directing the first episode. Other episodes will be directed by Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and - most excitingly - my fellow Kiwi Taika Waititi.

Ever since falling in love with Firefly, I've been dying to see a western set in the Star Wars universe. I'm incredibly excited that this show might just give us that!

The Hunt Is On - Force Link 2.0 "Mission On Vandor-1" Pack Found

Ever since Disney took over the Star War franchise, it's been tradition for Hasbro to release a 3 3/4" figure pack to coincide with the home video release of each new film. Unfortunately, the figure selections in these packs has often been highly questionable. The first pack (the Force Awakens' "Takodana Encounter" Pack) bundled the exclusive - and highly desirable - Maz Kanata with three straight repacks. Further, these repacks are usually of unique characters (like Jyn in the "Jedha Revolt" pack and Rey in the "Battle on Crait" pack) that collectors already own, and that aren't required in duplicate. This time, however, Hasbro have done everything right.


The Force Link 2.0 3 3/4" Mission on Vandor-1 four-pack - released to accompany the home video release of Solo - features three brand new (and highly desirable) figures. First up is train-heist Han, who comes complete with a blaster pistol, working holster, fur coat, and the most adorable pair of goggles you ever did see. Best of all, he features a surprising nine points-of-articulation - only three less than many of the figures in the premium 3 3/4" lines. Next up is Qi'ra, making her first action figure appearance in one of her adult outfits. The figure is a superb likeness of Emilia Clarke, and also comes with a sidearm and working holster. Interestingly, though, the figure eschews Qi'ra's screen-accurate mini-skirt and tights in favour of a far more 70s-esque pair of slacks. While never actually seen in Solo, this outfit is, in fact, the very one worn by Qi'ra in the animated Forces of Destiny episode "Triplecross".

The Black Series 3 3/4" #23 Toryn Farr and #01 R5-G19

Aside from the SDCC Exclusive Doctor Aphra set, it's been a dry few months for 3 3/4" collectors. I've been doing my best to make use of that downtime - going back through my collection, and seeing what gaps need to be filled. I've been paying particular attention to super-articulated Original Trilogy characters, and recently scored a couple of bargains off Amazon: The Black Series 3 3/4" #23 Toryn Farr (from Phase I of the line), and #01 R5-G19 (from Phase II of the line).


While I'd long ago added Echo Base versions of Han and Luke to my collection, the release of the Vintage Collection Hoth Rebel Trooper and the  phenomenal new Imperial Probe Droid and Wampa sculpts over the last year has seen me start to amass a really nice set of Hoth-themed figures. It's for this reason that I opted to pick up Toryn. Despite her only receiving a few seconds of screen time in the Empire Strikes Back, she's an interesting and unique enough sculpt to have caught my attention. Featuring twelve points of articulation, a blaster pistol, and a pair of headphones, she'll make an excellent diorama-filler.

Funko Pop! #256 Vulptex (Crystal Fox) Bobblehead

While I've mostly resisted the temptation to begin collecting Star Wars figures from Funko's Pop! line, my fiancée has been developing a carefully curated collection of Pop! characters from her favourite franchises. Recently, she included her first Star Wars addition - a Vulptex (Crystal Fox) from Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.


Unlike standard Funkos, this figure is sculpted in an opalescent plastic - doing excellent justice to the strange semi-transparent nature of its on-screen counterpart. Further, while 'adorable' is the general mandate for Pop! figures, the vulptex takes this to a whole other level. His (or her?) large black eyes and diminutive body work even better than usual to make this one of the cutest Funkos yet. 

The Hunt Is On - The Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Doctor Aphra Comic Set Found

As predicted, HasbroToyShop's allotment of Vintage Collection 3 3/4" Doctor Aphra Comic Sets arrived to a storm of tab refreshing, website crashing, and fans desperate to get their hands on this highly desirable exclusive. The set was slated to be made available online at some point on August 13th, so I spent that morning watching the Hasbro website like a hawk. At around 11.00am CST, she was available - right when I had to leave for a session of instructor training. Fortunately, my one-in-a-million fiancée took over the reins: trying on no less than three different devices to push an order through the severely overtaxed Hasbro servers. Despite her best efforts - and even, at one point, receiving an order number and having the funds (momentarily) removed from our bank account - luck was not with us. Ours was among countless orders that were confirmed in error and never honoured. It was a huge disappointment to us both, and we quietly resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn't be adding this particular set to our collection.

It therefore came as a huge surprise when HasbroToyShop - with no fanfare whatsoever - made a new batch of Aphras available in their online store last week. I secured my order within minutes, and was overjoyed to have her arrive just a few days ago.


Before even opening this set, I was already floored by the exquisite packaging. Not only does it come in the retro 'vintage' multi-pack design, but the artwork and labelling is all rendered with beautiful metallic foil. As any regular reader of this blog will know, I'm an unabashed opener; but this was one of the hardest items I've ever had to pull from its packaging. Fortunately, the design is such that - with the adroit use of a sharp blade - the figures can be removed with no visible damage to the packaging. (In fact, the above in-package photo was taken after the figures had already been removed and replaced once.)

Star Wars Resistance First Look Trailer Released

This morning StarWars.com unveiled the 'first look' trailer for their next animated series: Star Wars Resistance. You can check it out below.


Set shortly before the events of the The Force Awakens, and featuring cameos from sequel trilogy characters characters BB-8, Poe Dameron, and Captain Phasma (the latter two of which are voiced by Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie respectively), Resistance is the latest brainchild of Dave Filoni and the crew behind The Clone Wars and Rebels.

I must admit, it's hard to form too much of an opinion based on this one video. While touted as a "First Look Trailer", it plays more like a rushed TV commercial - not really giving much sense of how the show will unfold narratively or thematically. (For a masterclass on constructing a teaser trailer, you need look no further than the Clone Wars trailer released by the same studio only a few weeks ago.) That being said, it's enough to make me bite. I love the ship designs, and the animation style suits them beautifully - even if I'm not fully sold on that same style when applied to the actual characters. While all rumours point towards the show being aimed at a much younger age demographic than either The Clone Wars or Rebels, I'll still be tuning in eagerly!

Episode IX Cast Announced

Yesterday StarWars.com announced the cast of Episode IX, providing us with our first real bit of official news about the film. Many of the actors came as no surprise: with sequel trilogy veterans Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, and Anthony Daniels all returning. Mark Hamill will also be back - a foreseeable addition, given Jedi mentors' habits of reappearing long after their deaths.


A little more surprising was the announcement that Leia Organa would once again be played by the late Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage from The Force Awakens. There's already a lot of online chatter about this choice - but, as per usual, I'm going to wait and see how her inclusion turns out before jumping to any conclusions. While it could prove a stumbling block for the filmmakers, there's also the chance that they'll pull it off with a great deal of taste and respect - providing our Princess with the fitting end she deserves.

Perhaps the most exciting part of yesterday's announcement was the confirmation (after months of rumours and speculation) that Billie Dee Williams will also be returning to reprise his iconic role as Lando Calrissian. This is fantastic news, and an announcement that many fans - including myself - had been hoping for ever since the sequel trilogy was first announced in 2012. I had the good fortune to meet Williams back in 2007, and will be rapt to see him on the big screen again. Williams will be joined by several other new additions to the sequel trilogy including Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell.

The Clone Wars Returns

There's been all kinds of exciting news coming out of this year's San Diego Comic-Con International, but the most surprising is without-a-doubt Lucasfilm's announcement that its beloved The Clone Wars animated series will be returning. You can see the official trailer below.


While it never quite soared to the same heights as Rebels, I still adored this show - and found myself having more of an emotional reaction to this trailer than I ever could have expected. Airing in an era when any other kind of new Star Wars visual media was inconceivable, The Clone Wars was - for five thrilling years - an incredibly important part of our ongoing connection to the saga. This made its abrupt cancellation all the more difficult for fans. While Rebels did much to explain the fates of some Clone Wars characters, there always remained a real lack of closure surrounding this series. Not so anymore. Twelve new episodes will be released via Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming service -  giving Dave Filoni the chance to provide a satisfying conclusion to his first foray into the Star Wars universe. No release date has been announced, but stay tuned for updates!

Lego 41619 BrickHeadz Darth Vader and 41620 BrickHeadz Stormtrooper

Today's post comes partially on behalf of my fiancée. Well, I say that - but I'm becoming just as obsessed with these particular collectibles as she is. They are, of course, BrickHeadz - the new line from Lego that is rapidly expanding to cover all kinds of franchises. Most recently, their range has been riding the nostalgia wave, releasing adorable brickified versions of characters from classic films such as Back to the Future and Ghostbusters. While there've also been a handful of Star Wars releases, these have solely been characters pulled from the new films (like Captain Phasma). Now, however, Lego is turning it's attention towards the original trilogy, beginning with Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. My fiancée ordered the pair on their day of release, and they finally arrived just a few days ago.


Like their predecessors, these BrickHeadz certainly don't fail to impress. Using familiar pieces in clever ways, the sets manage to sculpt incredibly accurate (if caricatured) likenesses of their on-screen doppelgangers. It's the little details that really impress - like the tiny thermal detonator on the stormtrooper's back, or the utilisation of certain pieces to create the appearance of pleats in Vader's cape.