DARTH MALAK Knights of the Old Republic
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.: Asst. 87500 No. 87336
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, coin, cape, removable steel jaw piece
Action Feature: Removable jaw covering
Availability: September 2007
Appearances: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Bio: Four thousand years ago, during the height of the Old Republic, a young Jedi fell to the dark side while battling Mandalorians in uncharted space. Renaming himself Darth Malak, he returned to plague the Republic he once protected. Malak's steel jaw is the result of a vicious lightsaber wound inflicted by his former Sith Master, Darth Revan. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam's TV tray.
Commentary: One of my favorite things to do is to pick on fans of KOTOR who want toys (the game series, not the comic.) Since much of the game is unknown to all but those who actually finished (or played) it, there aren't a great number of characters fans will see and immediately pick up on. Some, like Darth Nihilus, look super-cool and appear heavily in the marketing and box art. Others, like Darth Malak, look like a guy in long johns and a loin cloth with a bonus steel jaw from He-Man villain Trapjaw. (And I love Trapjaw.) Character design aside, this figure had a lot of hype leading up to it and the end result didn't turn out as planned. Early packaged test shots showed the figure with big white bug-eyes, which I think pretty much every fan can agree didn't look good. Hasbro identified this as a fluke, and the final version (seen above) does not have bug-eyes.
That said, it isn't very good. Since few collectors are also gamers who play through their games, the character is something of an enigma to me and, I presume, many of you as well. Sure, there are some experts out there, but I can't say I really know where this guy comes from. All I know is what I see-- a pale guy, awkwardly posed, in red pajamas with a loin cloth. His jaw was blown off, so there's this metal mouth covering which can be peeled off to reveal-- you guessed it-- the blown-off jaw. It's as nasty as this figure line gets, and as an action feature, it works well. This seems to be an adequate replica of the design albeit with iffy articulation. You get cut joints at the neck, waist, elbows, and wrists with ball shoulders and knees rounding out a figure whose pose does not inspire fear. For fans of the game, this might be acceptable (as the alternative is nothing) but I saw it as a weak link in one of 2007's strongest assortments. This guy shipped along with Darth Revan-- who most certainly did not suck-- and some characters from the original Clone Wars series, plus Return of the Jedi characters and some other goodies.
Collector's Notes: I doubt Hasbro will ever revisit Darth Malak, but the figure sold very well-- I don't believe I ever saw it on pegs once. (Mine came from elsewhere.) Given the going rates on eBay, it's a safe bet the figure may appear in another "fan's choice" assortment of reissues if fans decide they want him in circulation once more. It's possible the interest will fizzle given a reissue, but well, video game toys tend to do well with collectors as a rule. (Seriously, have you seen what people will pay for a Samus Aran figure these days?) This is a good figure to get if you liked the games, mostly because it's hard to get and a nifty real-world keepsake of your adventures from a long, long, long time ago in a galaxy you've been in a lot as of late.
Day 684: March 20, 2008