In the supermarket today I stopped to look at the action figures they had for sale (inexplicably opposite the organic food section). They had your standard Batman, Dragonball Z and Hotwheels toys but the thing that caught my eye was the Chewbacca with “Wookie Rage Action” (squeezing his legs together make his arms raise up in the air making “French Surrender Action” a more accurate description).
As you can see, the thing looked like a bad Tom Baker-era Dr Who monster. I couldn’t believe how crappy and cheap it appeared. It was just further proof of how Star Wars George had betrayed the fans (someday I’ll write a post on the exact moment I decided to exclude the prequels from the Star Wars cannon). When I got home I sat down and began to vent my rage onto this virtual page. I began describing how much I hated the fur pouring off the arms and the stupid mock growl plastered to his face like a confused, botoxed panda. I wanted more to rant about so I Googled “Chewbacca action figure” and came across a picture of the Empire Strikes Back era toy and suddenly all the anger left me like I’d been dipped in carbonite.
I should just point out that I was a huge Star Wars fan growing up (I remember hiding under my seat during the Rancour pit scene, the first day RotJ came out in Te Awamutu). Continuing on from this was my love for the Kenner line of toys. I have particularly fond memories of my snowspeeder that got left in the rain so that when you now push the button to make the lasers go, it emits a strange gurgling noise that sounds not unlike a whomp-rat farting. In my mind the original Star Wars figurines were not mere toys but accurate scale replicas of the characters from the movie.
I demand a recount.
I can’t believe they look so shitty. I’ve poured over pages and pages from collector’s websites and it isn’t just Chewbacca. Obi-Wan looks like a Thunderbird reject, Han appears to have been modelled on a blow-up sex doll and R2-D2 is clearly made from an upside-down yoghurt pot. I feel like my entire childhood was a sham. Suddenly I’m beginning to question whether Hungry, Hungry Hippos was in fact the best game ever and if it was worth getting to school an hour and a half early just so I could play Elite on the computer lab’s Beeb.
I think this whole experience, though painful, has lifted the wool from my eyes. I’d always assumed that an Anakin-like conversion to the dark-side had taken place at some point between 1983 and 1999. But it’s apparent that Old Man Lucas has never cared for the fans. Even back when A New Hope was released, all he ever cared about was selling crappy toys to kids too young to know better.
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