June 22, 2015 – Every year since 1996, Hallmark has rolled out a limited number of its Star Wars keepsake ornaments. For the most part, the ornaments hit Hallmark stores in the middle of summer (July) and are usually a depiction of familiar characters and vehicles, usually 5 to 10 different varieties per year. You can browse and shop a mostly complete visual list of ornaments dating back to 1996 at StarWarsOrnaments.com.
This year’s rollout starts Saturday, 11 July 2015, at most Hallmark stores. The five Star Wars Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments are listed below in ascending order of price.
Zeb Orrelios is Hallmark’s curious selection as the first (and so far, only) character from the animated series, Star Wars Rebels, to be crafted into an ornament. Measuring 2.5″ W x 4.5″ H x 1.75″ D, Zeb retails for $14.95.
We say “curious” because while Rebels, now in its second season, has been enormously popular, Zeb is not the first character most fans would have chosen. We wish Hallmark would have selected the incredibly-hard-to-find droid Chopper. Alternatively, they could have presented a duo, such as the female rebels, Hera and Sabine, or our newest Jedi, Kanan and Ezra. Regrettably, this is not likely to happen. Hallmark barely touched any of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars characters in its six-year run (Oct. 2008 – March 2014). And with The Force Awakens about to be released and only 5 to 10 ornament “slots” available every year, Hallmark has missed a golden opportunity.
C-3PO and R2-D2 are handsomely executed and will no doubt sell well at $17.95 for the pair. The ornament measures 3″ W x 4″ H x 2″ D.
Hallmark previously sold the two droids together in 1997, although in a different pose. You can find the 1997 version for sale on Ebay or at StarWarsOrnaments.com for $19.95.
With over 2,000 unique Star Wars characters issued by Hasbro, and even more vehicles and action sequences to select from as well, we wonder why Hallmark is playing it considerably “safe” this year. Perhaps this year is simply the calm before the storm. Once The Force Awakens premieres December 18th, expect to see about one new Star Wars film (including the anthologies) every year – and, hopefully, some very inspired ornaments.
“Holiday Darth Vader” is easily the most creative and whimsical of all five Star Wars ornaments this year. At $19.95, Vader comes with a motion-activated sound microchip. Wave your hand or walk in front of him, and the Sith lord will mutter, “And now, we will discuss the location of your hidden Christmas gift.”
He sports a Santa hat and a Christmas sweater (notice the AT-AT’s wearing reindeer antlers!) and measures 3” W x 4.8” H x 1.9” D. Hallmark’s website states the ornament will not be available until 3 October 2015. Mark your calendars as this ornament could easily become one of the favorites of the year.
We love our Rebel Alliance and Empire vehicles. This year, Hallmark does not disappoint with its presentation of the yellow-marked Y-Wing fighter from Star Wars: A New Hope.
At $29.95, this price-point will give some consumers pause to consider. The Y-wing appears well executed and comes with watch-type batteries, which you will need to play a rather long dialogue sequence from A New Hope: “This is Gold Leader. We’re starting our attack run. (‘Aye, copy Gold Leader. Move into position.’)(Swooping and firing shots follow.) Exhaust port is marked and locked in. (More firing shots.) Switch to targeting computer. (Computer sounds chirping.) Computers locked. (‘The guns… they’ve stopped’) Stabilize your rear deflectors, watch for enemy fighters. (‘They’re coming in… three marks at 2-10’)(laser firing sounds).”
You can hear the dialogue for yourself HERE.
We have seen Luke and Yoda paired up before, most recently in 2006. (Back then, Luke was posed running on Dagobah while Yoda rode in the blue knapsack). This year, the pair are still in training on Dagobah, except Yoda is balanced on an upside-down Luke Skywalker.
At $32.95, this is the most expensive of the ornaments. Measuring 2.25″ W x 5.625″ H x 2″ D, you must push a small button to hear these dialogue clips that were edited together: “Use the Force, yesss. (C-3PO chirps). Concentra-a-a-ate! (‘We’ll never get it out now.’) Always with you, it can not be done. (‘Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different.’) No, no different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned. (‘All right, I’ll give it a try.’) No, try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
You can hear the dialogue for yourself HERE.
With the exception of Holiday Vader, the above ornaments go on sale July 11th. Vader will be released October 3rd.