Force Friday has come and gone and left an Alderaan-sized explosion in its wake. (Too soon?) Stores across the country were attempting to manage the influx of fans clamoring to get their hands on new Episode VII (and general Star Wars universe) merchandise, and like any new release of collectibles, many would-be collectors were left wanting. The larger the crowd, the less likely a person was to get their hands on the figure they wanted. My own experience was more of an afterthought than anything else; I’ve typically been content to wait out the crowds for new collectible releases, knowing that given enough time (and so long as I’m not aiming to get limited edition pieces) I’ll finally get the figure I want.
Compared to some accounts that many fans had shared on Twitter, I was lucky when I went to my local big box store to find that there were three unclaimed Black Series Kylo Ren figures, and one Finn (in planet Jakku attire) just waiting to be picked. Naturally I got the remaining Finn and one of the Kylo Rens, and went about my shopping. Looking through what was left and what had been picked over, I decided that even if I couldn’t get the Black Series Rey figure, which comes with an adorable mini BB-8, I still wanted to take some version of the character home. I ended up with the LEGO Rey’s Speeder set, complete with firing projectiles and an “Unkar’s thug” minifig.
Jessica Chobot broke down many of the spoilery tidbits of the first wave of the Episode VII toys in Friday’s Nerdist News, including the similarities of Kylo Ren’s helmet with that of Darth Vader. It’s clear that the helmet is not a hand-me-down, but Jessica is on to something when she suggests that Ren may very well have smelted the remnants down to create his own version. She also points out that Finn’s name might not in fact be Finn at all, but rather an extended pronunciation of the first two letters of his Trooper call letters, F and N. Since we’re still months out from the movie, revealing full character names of the primary characters would likely give too much away. After all, if it was plastered on some packaging that Rey’s surname was Solo, or Skywalker even, that would be a clear giveaway to her role in the story.
Rey’s LEGO Speeder set includes the Unkar’s thug minifig, as I mentioned, and it would appear that the thugs are serving as the Jawas to Rey’s Luke. She’s on a desert planet (Jakku) as Luke was, and she’s facing interference from junkers, like Luke was. One development that I noticed while constructing the speeder is that the lower shell of the speeder includes projectiles. While they’re stationary, they appear to be simple headlight-style pieces, but as projectiles they give the impression that Rey is not just capable of holding her own on the lawless planet, but that she’s a far more battle-ready character than Luke was when we first met him on Tatooine. Her included accessories are equally divided between offensive weaponry and utilitarian tools. She has a staff and ray gun as weapons, as well as a pair of binoculars, utility pouch, and a metal-cutting saw.
The first round of Black Series figures include Finn (Jakku version), Rey (Jakku version), Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, and a First Order Stormtrooper. The Finn figure is fairly basic, with no clues into the plot at large other than the fact that he (duh) survives the crash landing and ensuing chase from that first trailer. The desert planet he landed on is clearly Jakku, and the sandy paint job on his trouser ankles make it clear that he’s spent some time walking around, possibly from cantina to cantina. Whether droids will finally be allowed in cantinas has yet to be seen.
The Kylo Ren figure — mine had a malfunctioning right foot articulated joint, so watch out — is likewise sparse in its spoilery goodness, but the quality of the figure appears to be the best of the five. Utilizing actual swaths of cloth for Kylo Ren’s robes is a nice touch, and it likely works best on a figure of this scale. Where smaller figures of the 3.5″-3.75″ variety can get swallowed up in cloth cloaks, the 6″ Black Series usage of fabric makes Ren’s shadowy figure all the more mysterious and imposing. Kylo Ren’s interesting light saber is of course included, and while I personally still don’t find the design all that functional for battle, I am coming around into the “well, it does look cool” camp. Each of the figures are well articulated from the chest down. The arms on both Finn and Kylo Ren can feel a bit stiff in their range, but that’s to be expected for mass-produced figures.
I’m still going to pick up a Black Series Rey whenever I come across one, but I’ll likely hold off on a review of the figure until the next wave of Force Awakens merchandise drops with (hopefully) a Captain Phasma figure. Check out the gallery below for close-ups of the toys discussed today.
Did you nerdlings out there manage to nab some awesome loot during the Force Friday madness? Comment below with what you found, and let us know what evaded your grasp! Also, tweet your Episode VII stash to both me and the group.