Disney Offering a ComLink, Mouse Droid and More for Fall 2016

October 20, 2016 – Coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort this fall, Disney will be offering some Star Wars-inspired products that some fans have been waiting decades for.

Disney's remote-controlled Mouse Droid (Image Credit: Disney)

Disney’s remote-controlled Mouse Droid (Image Credit: Disney)

Look for a remote-controlled Mouse Droid in mid-December, 2016. We first saw the droid in A New Hope (1977) when Chewbacca roared at it, and the droid did an about-face and scurried away. Disney’s version makes noises and includes rechargeable batteries.
The Imperial Comlink comes with a belt clip (Image Credit: Disney)

The Imperial Comlink comes with a belt clip (Image Credit: Disney)

The first Star Wars film also introduced us to the Imperial Comlink, which Luke Skywalker used to communicate with C-3PO from the Death Star’s trash compactor. Now you can add the Imperial Comlink Bluetooth Communicator to your collection, or as a complement to your stormtrooper outfit. The device uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with your smartphone, so you can take calls or listen to music.
These Ewok plush dolls want to go home with you (Image Credit: Disney)

These Ewok plush dolls want to go home with you (Image Credit: Disney)

Of course not everything in space is made of hard circuits and steel. Just in time for the Holiday shopping season – or because you secretly love Ewoks – a basket of Ewok plush toys awaits you. Look for a variant Wicket, Tokkat, Latara, Widdle, Shodu and Winda at DisneyStore.com in several weeks. Another Ewok, Kaink, will be released individually at Disney theme parks in December.
Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

Droid collectors will want to get their hands on the all-new carded R2-H16 from the Star Wars Droid Factory collection at Disney Parks. We’re guessing the “H16” designation is short for “Holidays 2016”, but we could be wrong. Retail price will be $12.99.

R2-H16 is not a Hasbro release, so you will have to search one of the Disney theme parks or Downtown Disney (Anaheim) or Disney Springs (Orlando). Alternatively, try DisneyStore.com later in the year.

If all of the above are not enough to satisfy your Holiday cravings, there’s one more electronic toy that is familiar and highly welcome: The Starspeeder 1000, one of the most popular playsets ever released, will make its return after a five-year absence.

The starspeeder comes with four “destination disks” that you insert to activate a sound clip from the Star Tours ride. A new disk will now feature the planet Jakku from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Retail price is expected to be about $75.00. Watch the video below to get a better idea of all the play features involved.

The above items and more can be viewed at the Disney Parks blog and will be available at select merchandise locations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort. Some other items may also be purchased online at DisneyStore.com later this year.

Ralph McQuarrie Gave Us the Look and Feel of Star Wars: Now You Can Buy the Ultimate Book

October 15, 2016 – Serious fans of Star Wars know that the late Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012) was second only to George Lucas in bringing the Star Wars universe to life.

As a conceptual designer and illustrator, McQuarrie initially produced a dozen or so concept paintings, which helped Lucas to persuade 20th Century Fox to back production of the first Star Wars movie. Thereafter, the American artist drew hundreds of sketches, storyboards, and paintings for all manner of Star Wars visuals.

In side-by-side comparisons, the following video shows how closely ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) followed McQuarrie’s conceptual designs in scene after scene. Hundreds of his images and art work helped to bring George Lucas’s vision – the architecture, the landscapes, characters and costumes – to the big screen and into our lives.

Fortunately, McQuarrie survived a bullet shot to his head in the Korean War while serving in the U.S. Army. After the war, he worked for a dentistry firm (drawing teeth and dental equipment) and, later, for Boeing as a technical illustrator.

In 1975, George Lucas commissioned McQuarrie to illustrate several scenes from Lucas’s early script. But after reading the script, McQuarrie had some doubts at first:

I just did my best to depict what I thought the film should look like. I really liked the idea. I didn’t think the film would ever get made. My impression was it was too expensive. There wouldn’t be enough of an audience. It’s just too complicated. But George knew a lot of things that I didn’t know.”

McQuarrie suggested adding the breathing apparatus to Darth Vader’s mask, and he designed many of Star Wars’ characters, including C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca and Darth Vader. In addition to A New Hope (1977), he also contributed designs to The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Even after McQuarrie’s death in 2012, his design concepts are still being used: The characters Zeb Orellios and Chopper from Star Wars Rebels are but two examples of posthumous use of the late artist’s designs. Other designs can be spotted in The Force Awakens.

ralphmcquarrie-bookAmazon is now offering Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie (Abrams Books), perhaps the most definitive tome on the artist and his concept drawings. While the price has fluctuated between a low of $150.00 and a current price of $170.00, both prices are still far below the MSRP of $250.00. Moreover, once the print edition runs out, future demand will likely send the price soaring on secondary markets.

A deluxe slipcase holds two hardcover books weighing 21.5 pounds. Each book is about 400 pages (total: 800 pages) with sketches, colored photos and text galore. While previous McQuarrie art books have been released, none has the depth or detail of this latest production. Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie also includes never-before-published interviews and recollections from friends and colleagues.

The massive book set was first released on September 27, 2016.

Phil Tippett Auction Begins: Own a Piece of Star Wars History

October 12, 2016 – Now is your chance to bid on, and to possibly own, an authentic piece of Star Wars history.
The Phil Tippett Auction began Oct. 10th and will end Oct. 21st at 9:00 AM PDT. The online auction house is accepting bids worldwide, and its website promises “a unique collection of original props, costumes, and more from the career of veteran visual effects artist and filmmaker Phil Tippett.”

Auction items include an original Duros mask, the Dianoga trash compactor monster, a Star Wars crew shirt, a Tauntaun maquette, Tauntaun head casts, a background AT-AT photo cutout, hand drawn AT-AT animation notes, a Rancor sequence storyboard binder, and a rock wart (venomous creature with eight legs and four eyes) alien sketch with storyboards.

Dianoga monster prop from the trash compactor scene

Dianoga monster prop from the trash compactor scene

Phil Tippett (b. 1951) is an American movie director and a visual effects supervisor and producer. He specializes in creature design and character animation.

In 1975, George Lucas hired Tippett to create a stop-motion miniature chess scene for the first Star Wars film. For The Empire Strikes Back (1980), he co-developed the animation technique called “go motion” to animate the Imperial AT-AT Walkers and the tauntauns. Tippett also served as the make-up designer for Return of the Jedi (1983) while heading the famous creature shop at Lucasfilm, for which he was awarded his first Academy Award in 1984.

Visit PropStore.com to preview the auction items and to place your bid. The auction ends Oct. 21st at 9:00 AM PDT.

Retro Review: Green Leader’s A-Wing Fighter (2008 Legacy Collection)

October 12, 2016 – Three days ago, we posted a review of Hera Syndulla’s A-Wing.

A side-by-side comparison of Hera’s A-Wing and the 2008 Legacy Collection version made us appreciate how much superior the quality and play features are in the 2008 A-Wing. And so this review follows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Classic A-Wing Design

Released in November, 2008, Green Leader’s A-Wing Fighter from the Legacy Collection retailed for $29.99. If you look at the bottom of the right tail fin, a date stamp (© 1997 Lucasfilm Ltd) tells us the ship is essentially a re-issue and re-paint of the 1997 POTF A-Wing Fighter.

But no matter. Green Leader’s A-Wing Fighter has so many positive things going for it, that you would be remiss to not add it to your fleet collection:

● Beautiful sculpt and attractive rust-red paint application with a dirty wash of grey-black, giving the A-wing a scorched, battle-scarred appearance

● An all-new cockpit with a shiny, clear canopy which opens with a sliding button behind the canopy. The control panel in the cockpit is prepainted with multiple colors (thankfully, no tiny decals to apply) and snuggly fits the included pilot, Arvel Crynyd.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

● Three landing gear retract into and out of the fuselage when you slide a small lever at the bottom-rear of the ship.

● Twin laser cannons, attached to the wing tips, rotate up-down when you slide them out from their locked positions. (There are no firing projectiles.)

● The A-Wing is 12″ L x 8.25″ W x 4.75″ H (30.5cm L x 21cm W x 12cm H).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Arvel Crynyd Action Figure

The 2008 A-Wing includes a highly articulated pilot, Arvel Crynyd. The pilot has an incredible 22 points of articulation and comes with a soft helmet that easily slips on and off. However, there is no visor, see-through or otherwise.

Arvel Crynyd is so well articulated (22 POA) that he can be comfortably posed, sitting on the nose of his A-Wing.

Arvel Crynyd is so well articulated (22 POA) that he can be comfortably posed, sitting on the nose of his A-Wing.

The pilot’s body appears to be a re-issue of the 2007 TAC Tycho Celchu (A-wing Pilot). The pilot’s head, of course, is new and the chest breathing apparatus has a different paint scheme.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We first saw Arvel Crynyd (Green Leader) in Return of the Jedi (1983). The character was played by British actor Hilton McRae in an uncredited role. Crynyd died when he flew his A-wing into the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer Executor, destroying the bridge and causing the Executor to crash into the Death Star.

Where to Find the 2008 A-Wing

By the end of 2008, Green Leader’s A-Wing (a Walmart exclusive) was largely sold out and missing from store shelves. Therefore, your best bet now might be Ebay or Amazon. A current Ebay listing has it priced at $75.00.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

YouTube Reviews by SithLord229 to Return

October 11, 2016 – Longtime YouTuber SithLord229 is about to unveil a new series of HD video reviews beginning tomorrow.

Since 2008, the UK-based content creator and multimedia designer has reviewed over 800 Star Wars action figures and vehicles on his popular YouTube channel. SithLord229 is YouTube’s largest video archive of Star Wars Action Figure & Collectible reviews. Video reviews focus on Hasbro’s 3.75” action figures & vehicles, Sideshow Collectibles 1:6 Scale figures, LEGO Star Wars, and many more Star Wars lines.

The return of SithLord229: All new HD toy reviews begin in mid-October, 2016

The return of SithLord229: All new HD toy reviews begin in mid-October, 2016

Steven, as his friends and acquaintances know him, had taken a 3-month break during the summer to focus on other projects. But starting tomorrow, you can begin watching a number of new in-depth reviews, including products from Rogue One, Walmart’s Exclusive Black Series 3.75″ line, and even some carry-overs from The Force Awakens.

Visit his channel at YOUTUBE.COM/SITHLORD229.

For the convenience of frequent visitors to the site, a permalink is now posted in the righthand column.

SithLord229 is an independent reviewer and is not affiliated with Lucasfilm Ltd or The Walt Disney Company.

Game Trailer for “Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne “

October 10, 2016 – Gamers and fans of the Expanded Universe have something new to talk about: Blur Studios, a CGI film studio, has just released a 6-minute trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic™ Digital Expansion – Knights of the Eternal Throne.

The trailer reveals some of the key characters, including bad guy Emperor Valkorion and Empress Vaylin. The promotional clip is true to a central concept of the Force – that its influence and promise of power can deeply corrupt a Force wielder.

Look for the new expansion to be released December 2nd.