Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade: Star Wars Episode I

I'm stretching the definition of "action figure" in this installment of Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade. With lower than expected sales on the early Star wars Episode I items, the toy companies had to scale back on their later offerings. Much of what Hasbro was planning for the action figure line was simply shuffled into the new Power of the Jedi line. Most of the stuff that was canceled outright, which you can see here at Rebelscum's highly useful photo archive, was stuff like two-packs, and the Trophy Assortment which packaged a Hasbro action figure with a Galoob Micro Machine.

Galoob's Star Wars themed Micro Machines ran concurrently with the Kenner/Hasbro action figures for much of the 90's. In fact I believe their first Star Wars Micro Machines predates the Kenner's launch of the Power of the Force line in 1995. So they might be the ones to get credit for the revival of Star Wars toys. Eventually Hasbro bought Galoob which gave them even greater control of the Star Wars license. Unfortunately Episode I became sort of a last hurrah for the Micro Machines. While Micro Machine-like products would still be made sporadically (currently with the Titanium line) it was never treated as a full distinct line again.

I used to have a lot of the Star Wars Micro Machines myself but I had already stopped buying them shortly before Episode I hit. I was in the midst of phasing out other toys and focusing entirely on action figures. My favorite product was the transforming head playsets. It was a bizzare concept that proved to be qreally cool. For Episode I playsets that transformed into the heads of Jar Jar, Darth Maul, and a Battle Droid were made. However there were at least three planned that were never released.

Anakin opens up to reveal the Boonta Eve Classic racing track. It's an obvious choice for the character but the space inside seems a bit too sparse for a proper podrace. Plus the playset only comes with one podracer. That's how they get you. The reflection in Anakin's goggles is a nice detail.

Obi-Wan Kenobi opens up into the Naboo swamp. Not a lot happens during the swamp sequence in the movie. The Jedi run from the Trade Federation's vehicles and meet Jar Jar. That's about it. This playset looks like it would have had a number of gimmicks though I'm can't say what any of them would be. The most interesting of the gimmicks are those goggles(?) that pop up in the background. I wonder what those would have been used for.

This prototype looks less finished than the others with a lot of it left unpainted. Qui-Gon's head opens up to a recreation of the the first scene in the movie. It's got figurines of Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and a pair of Battle Droids for them to slice. There's even a little turret that lowers down to blow up the Jedi's ship. Is that legal? No Mr. Gunray, it's not.


Gabriel said...

I used to have that Anakin head. I remember the small podracer and how little room to actually have a podrace. Even if I was slightly dissappointed it was best thing I saw throughout the entire movie.

Anthony said...

Wow, really? That's kind of awesome. Are you sure you had it and not something very similar? Sometimes we can misremember stuff from our childhoods. I looked for awhile on Google and ebay and couldn't find any evidence that it was released. Could you be right? Would Rebelscum misinform me? I may no longer be able to trust reality anymore.

BTW I hate you for causing me to look up Star Wars Episode I toys on ebay. Now I'm finding some stuff I'd really like to have for prices that aren't at all unreasonable, except when you take into consideration that they're Star Wars Episode I toys and it's now 2009.

Gus said...

A bit late (like 3 years...haha) but i can confirm it wasn't released. There are some prototypes around (I have one). I also have a cast head for a Nute Gunray transforming head as well which your site doesn't have listed :)

Barbecue17 said...

Just found this site. Man, these are incredible! I'm a long time Star Wars Micro Machines collector and I really wish these had been released. I love the transforming heads. I just picked up the R2-D2 and First Order trooper from the TFA Micro Machines but I'm hoping the heads continue (even though they're inferior to what we're getting now).